Abutment or magnetic – which Baha System should I get?

Question: Has anyone gone from abutment to magnetic (or vice versa) and how noticeable was the difference in sound quality?

I am soon to have the Baha 4 Sound Processor fitted for conductive hearing loss and have to choose between the abutment or the magnetic Baha Attract System. I know the Baha Connect System is best for sound quality but I am leaning towards the Baha Attract simply because of the reduced amount of aftercare needed, though I have been told I can change to the other system if I wanted to.

Ideally, I would like to hear from someone who has actual experience, or would like to be given a link for a medical report that describes what users have told them.

Thanks in advance. // Spencer

Answer: Hi Spencer. First of all, congratulations on getting a Baha System!

Published reports* suggest that both the Baha Connect and Baha Attract systems have been rated by users as very high in sound quality. Before surgery you are able to listen to the sound processor on a Baha Softband, which is very similar to how it will actually sound in real life.

Many Baha Attract users report less need for daily care as the Baha Attract System is designed to minimize infections**. Your health care provider should be able to give you advice about which solution is best for you.

Best of luck!

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

* Briggs, R.; Van Hasselt, A.; Luntz, M.; Goycoolea, M.; Wigren, S.; Weber, P.; Smeds, H.; Flynn, M.; Cowan, R. Clinical Performance of a New Magnetic Bone Conduction Hearing Implant System: Results from a Prospective, Multicenter, Clinical Investigation. Otology & Neurotology: January 28, 2015.
** 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.

Parents of Baha users reflect on Cochlear Celebration

The 2015 US Cochlear Celebration was a fun-filled and information-packed event, which attracted more than a thousand Baha and cochlear implant recipients and their families.

There were sessions, presentations (including a top secret look at the future of the Baha System, for everyone who signed a non disclosure agreement!), check & clean your sound processor, EXPO, social gatherings etc. For a lot of recipients, the most important thing is to meet others in the same situation. Especially for parents.

Meredith Berger, mother of 4-year old Baha user Eila, wrote on Twitter:

baha-parent-twitter

Hilary Masino, mother of Tjellström scholarship student Camille, revealed to us how much the Celebration event meant to both her and her daughter:

 

The Cochlear Americas blog The Wire has more pictures and a great recap of the event!

Ask the expert: What is the sound quality of the Baha 4 Sound Processor compared to Baha Divino?

Baha-Sound-processor-DivinoBaha 4 Sound Processor

Question: Hi, my name is Debbie and I found myself where I need to replace my old Baha Divino sound processor with a newer version like the Baha 4 Sound Processor.

I have already tested twice the newer version like the BP100 and Baha 4 Sound Processor, but neither had the same loud volume as I’m used to with the Divino. I have told the expert about it and we tried a couple of things, but I have never gained the same quality and it was too quiet and I really struggled to hear. I tested it for couple of days to get used to it, but the volume was still not loud enough.

As my 7-year-old Baha Divino needs a repair, I most probably will need a new sound processor.

Can you please advice me how I need to handle the new Baha 4 Sound Processor so I gain the same or even better quality than with the Divino? // Debbie

Answer: Dear Debbie,

Thank you for considering the Baha 4 Sound Processor.

A number of research studies have shown the performance of Baha 4 Sound Processor to provide superior hearing experience to the previous generations – Baha Divino and Baha 3 Sound Processor (BP100). It should provide greater hearing performance through the scene classifier and automatic functions – not to mention the ability to connect wireless accessories. This performance improvement is actually delivered by superior signal processing and sound cleaning technologies, as the amplification and maximum output is essentially the same between the Baha Divino, Baha 3 and Baha 4 sound processors.

Actually, in terms of usable amplification, the Baha 4 Sound Processor has quite a bit more, as the feedback manager increases the available amplificationuntil feedback.

The feeling that you have of the amplificationor loudness being less with Baha 4 Sound Processor is quite common for people who upgrade from Divino. In Divino, the amplification was a single channel linear device, whereas Baha 4 has 17 channels and processes the sound in a non-linear way. This non-linear technology “squeezes” the speech so that more speech is audible and improves hearing performance.

But you may feel that it loses the “punch”. Additionally, there are sound cleaning features such as noise reduction and directionality which makes speech more intelligible but reduces the overall perception of background noise. Your hearing care professional can program the Baha 4 Sound Processor so that it is also linear and adjust these features, and in that way can provide a sound similar to what you had before. Then over the next few appointments he/she can adjust it as your brain has adapted to turn on more and more features.

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

Upgrading from BP100 to a Baha 4 Sound Processor

Question: I have single sided sensorineural deafness after a viral infection. I had a Baha 3 Sound Processor fitted 2 years ago. It has not really given a boost to my hearing as I had expected. For instance I still struggle to understand people on my affected side.

Is it likely that the Baha 4 Sound Processor will offer some advantages improve my hearing? // Richard

Answer: Dear Richard,

Thank you for your enquiry. Yes the Baha 4 Sound Processor should offer you many hearing performance advantages. Our reports have shown that there is a noticeable improvement in hearing performance compared to previous models. The new processing provides an improvement in sound quality and reduction in feedback. You will also gain access to the wireless accessories which provide benefits such as control over the device through a remote control, a microphone to improve the signal in difficult situations and wireless connection to phones and TV.

You should contact your clinician to get a listening demo of the Baha 4 Sound Processor and the wireless accessories.

There have been a number of reports and testimonials of people who have upgraded. It is worth discussing with your hearing care professional.

Regards,

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

Please take a Baha user survey

Hello Baha Blog readers!

We have the honor of sharing a new survey which targets everyone using a bone conduction hearing solution. The survey is being conducted by The SHiEC (Supporting Hearing in Elderly Citizens) Project, and is supported by AAL (Ambient Assisted Living) and Vinnova.

The aim of the survey is to gather insights on the use of computer and internet technologies by Baha recipients and of their hearing situation. The results of this survey will be used to create an eHealth tool.

The survey contains 28 questions in the following sections:
– You and your Baha sound processor
– Your knowledge and use of smartphones, tablets, laptops etc.
– Your hearing situation.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/78C9R2P

The survey will take about 20 minutes to complete. The answers will only be presented as group data and your answers will NOT be traceable back to you.

To learn more about the SHiEC Project; please visit the project web site: www.SHiEC.eu

Thank you in advance!

New published study on the Baha Attract System

Baha-4-Attract-Cochlear

Ensuring the safety and performance of our hearing solutions is very important to Cochlear. We have had many questions on this blog about the performance of the Baha Attract System. So now we thought we would share some of the latest research with you!

Together with four leading hospitals across the world – Melbourne (Australia), Santiago (Chile), Hong Kong (China SAR) and Haifa (Israel) – we have collaborated on a clinical investigation of the Baha Attract System. 27 recipients with either a conductive hearing loss or single-sided sensorineural deafness, took part in this rigorous nine month investigation.

The outcomes have now been published in the internationally renown journal of Otology and Neurotology so both medical professionals and recipients can read about and share the outcomes.

Everyone in the study reported that the Baha Attract System improved their communication ability in daily life. It was clearly shown that their hearing levels had improved significantly than before the study.

baha-softband

Importantly, Baha Attract users showed similar or better performance than the pre-operative Softband evaluation. Thus, the Baha Softband continues to be a good and consistent predictor of outcome.

Baha SoftWear Pad

The external magnet with the Baha SoftWear Pad

As the Baha Attract System uses a unique magnetic connection, further investigations were performed to examine the comfort and retention of the magnet. All reports show that the system is comfortable with good retention and fewer soft tissue complications. All users continued to wear the Baha Attract system at the end of the study.

Both users and professionals often like a choice between the either the direct abutment connection or a magnetic connection. It is important that both system provide similar levels of hearing performance with low levels of post surgical issues. It is excellent to see comprehensive reports such as this confirming the good performance of the Baha Attract system.

Read more about the two systems here.

Cochlear Awards College Scholarships to Eight Students Who Have Overcome Hearing Loss

On February 14, the winners of the US Cochlear Awards Scholarships were announced.

Eight college students in total will each receive $2,000 per year for up to four years at an accredited college or university.

baha-cochlear-scholarship-winners

Five students with cochlear implants received the Graeme Clark Scholarship: Grace Agolia (University of Notre Dame); Isaiah Grafe (Rochester Institute of Technology); Lennon Radcliffe (University of Louisville); Brooke Shinaberry (University of Utah) and Julia Filloon (Elon University) (not pictured). Three Baha recipients were awarded the Anders Tjellstrom Scholarship: Storm Harvey (Agnes Scott College); Sarah Johnson (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign); and Camille Masino (Brigham Young University-Provo, Utah).

Chris Smith, President of Cochlear Americas, said:

“We are extremely proud to honor these outstanding young people who have shown perseverance and leadership, while benefiting from Cochlear’s state-of-the-art technologies. These students represent the leaders of tomorrow, and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for each and every one of them.”

 

camille-baha-scholarship-winner

This weekend we had the pleasure of meeting up with 20-year old Baha recipient Camille at the Cochlear Celebration in Orlando! This is what she had to say about her scholarship:

“It gives me confidence to keep working harder. College can be really discouraging, it’s hard… But having Cochlear back me up with the scholarship makes me secure, not only financially, but I also feel I want to give this company something back, by getting my degree.

71% of young people with hearing loss today don’t graduate from college. I don’t want to be one of those statistics, and with the Baha it’s manageable. It makes me want to do it even more. I’ve accomplished so much already, why shouldn’t I be able to do this too? I’m just like everyone else, just different… in a better way (laughs).

In college we as students have to be independent and be advocates for ourselves. I have to sit up front in class, not because someone says so, but because I want to. I went to the disability center and explained my hearing loss and went to each professor and talked to them and explained what I need, like a special test room and note takers. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. And don’t downplay your hearing loss. There is help to get – get it!”

 

Read more about each of the scholarship winners over at Cochlear America’s own blog The Wire!