Qmed has an in-depth article about the Baha 5 Sound Processor and Smart App where they feature an interview with Mats Dotevall, Director of Design & Development, Cochlear Bone Anchored Solutions, Sweden.
Dotevall begins with explaining the difference between hearing aids, cochlear implants and bone conduction hearing solutions, and how the latter actually work:
“[A Baha System] is for people that have some sort of issue with the outer ear, the ear canal, or the middle-ear bones […] Basically, your inner ear might be very healthy but sound doesn’t reach it. So what we do is put an implant into the skull that integrates with the bone tissue. It vibrates and helps transmit sound to the inner ear. A sound processor picks up sound, amplifies it, and then vibrates the skull bone. The inner structure of the ear, the cochlea, and the hair-like stereocilia in the inner ear also vibrate. In that way, you can bypass the standard way of sound coming through the inner ear.
There is also another indication where the device is used: single-sided deafness. One side is completely deaf, which can be quite a big handicap in social environments, in the car, and so forth. For those patients, we put the device on the deaf side and then vibrate over to the hearing side.”
Qmed: How did the company make this the smallest bone conduction sound processor on the market?
Dotevall: “The key engine in all of this is the electromagnetic vibrator, which is small and it is driven by a small hearing device battery. We are using a different kind of architecture. The previous architecture had a simple design but it was asymmetrical. We made it symmetrical, which makes it more difficult to manufacture. Having this architecture makes the device much more efficient. With the same battery size, power output, and the same force from the vibrator, we could reduce the size substantially.”
Read the rest of the article here