Ask the expert: How can the Baha System help me localize sound?

Question: Hi, It looks like I will be getting the Baha 4 Attract System for my single sided deafness. I’m pretty excited after trying it out the Baha Softband version at the audiologist’s office. I’ve been deaf in my left ear my whole life but this is the first time I’ve gotten a hearing aid of any kind.

Anyways, I do have two questions. First, I’ve heard conflicting stories on whether this will help me locate where sounds are coming from. Also, I was just wondering about the level of scarring with the surgery for the Baha Attract System.

Thanks! //Andrew

Answer: Dear Andrew,

Congratulations on the choice for a Baha Attract System! You ask two very good questions.

First, the Baha Attract System works by sending sound from one side of the head via bone conduction to your good ear. In this way the good ear receives both the natural sound and the amplified sound from the other side. These two sounds are mixed together into one sound scape. In order to localise, the brain needs to receive two separate streams of sound information. Some of the conflicting stories you hear comes from the fact that you will soon have 360 degree sound awareness. So yes, you will be able to hear the person, traffic, music etc better on the deaf side. However, you will need to use your other senses (like eye sight) to know from which side the sound is coming from.

Second, the surgeon will ensure that the incision is as small as possible and it will be behind the ear. While everyone is different, recent eports indicate that for the most part the resulting scar is small, the magnet is very thin so will be hard to detect, and numbness resolves for most patients over time*. The photo below indicates the type of post operative view that you might expect.

Baha Attract System

Baha Attract System user Ange, Australia

Best of luck!

~ Mark C. Flynn, PhD Audiologist, Cochlear Bone Anchored Solutions

* Smeds, H., Van Hasselt, A., Luntz, M., Goycoolea, M., Flynn, M., Wigren, S., Weber, P., Plant, K., Knight, M., Cowan, R. & Briggs, R. Clinical outcomes from an international multi-center clinical investigation of a new magnetic bone conduction implant system. 13th International Conference on Cochlear Implants and Other Implantable Auditory Technologies, Munich, 18-21 June 2014.