Question: At age 62 I had a bacterial ear infection that left me totally deaf in that ear. The other ear has normal hearing for my age.
I had a Baha Attract System inserted. I never use it because it does not seem to help my hearing. My lifestyle involves either being alone, with one other person, or in places where there is a lot of background noise, e.g., restaurants. The Baha doesn’t work in the latter case, and doesn’t seem to make a difference with just one person or the TV or stereo. I am retired and do not go to meetings or classes where there are many people but only one person talking at any one time, where I think the Baha might work the best.
My doctor thinks I should not just give it up, and he suggested taking out the magnet and installing a post. His rationale is that the sound would conduct more directly to the bone, and thus enhance hearing.
I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has had both types of systems to hear what differences they heard before I commit to having surgery again.
Thanks much. // Nan
Thank you for your mail, and comments on the system. It is often challenging to experience the benefit in all situations when you have one normal hearing ear. In this case, the benefits you will receive relate to improving the access to sounds from the deaf side. These sounds are in what we call the “head shadow” where the head actually affects the sounds waves of important higher pitch sounds, making them less clear and softer. This makes it difficult to hear and be aware of sounds from the poorer side and usually becomes worse in difficult noisy listening situations.
Your Baha System will transfer the sounds via bone conduction from the deaf side to the normally hearing ear. You should experience that you no longer will need to worry about what side people are seated, and you should be more aware of sounds from the deaf side. Most people report improved 360 degree sound awareness and audibility, but unfortunately true localisation will requires two hearing ears. This may take some time to adapt to and your hearing care professionals can help you through.
Additionally, bone conduction systems come with a range of accessories that can be used to connect directly to telephones and televisions to that you receive the signal directly through your sound processor. Additionally, in challenging listening situations you may wish to use a remote microphone (FM or mini microphone) so that you can receive the words of your communication partner directly with less annoyance of background noise and a cleaner signal. I certainly would suggest that you give these accessories a go.
In terms of performance, there are a number of tests that your hearing care professional can perform in terms of listening in noise and how the head shadow is being lifted by your sound processor. These tests will objectively measure the degree benefit, and from this you can discuss if you need a stronger sound processor or direct connection through an abutment. A direct connection will provide a slightly stronger signal through to the bone, however, it is best to discuss all options and test the degree of benefit before suggesting a second surgery.
Hope this helps!
~ Mark C. Flynn, PhD Audiologist, Cochlear Bone Anchored Solutions