Question: I lost all hearing in my left ear last year following a failed stapedectomy operation; resulting in total sensorineural deafness due to damaged inner ear. I have Otosclerosis and have moderate hearing loss in my right ear as well (hence the reason I went for the operation).
Since the operation I’ve been struggling to cope with having only partial hearing. After living with two functioning ears (albeit without perfect hearing) for 40 years and now being left single sided deaf is truly awful (to put it mildly).
I’ve been offered a Baha solution on the NHS and have trialled the Cochlear test ‘headband’ as well as the CROS aid. I’ve been impressed with both but found the Baha solution gave a more ‘natural’ sound and I’m feeling fairly confident that I’m going to go with it (the ‘Baha Connect’ version, not ‘Baha Attract’). I had good results from the bone conduction test (scoring 90% in the speech recognition part).
I do, however, have several questions/concerns about living with the implant and sound processor:
1) Is it painful to lie on or if it gets knocked? I’m worried that it might make sleeping difficult when I rest my head on the implant side.
2) How does the sound quality/amplification compare with the test headband? I’ve read that the real thing is better but how much louder/clearer is it eg – 10% 20% 30% more?
3) Is the Baha sound processor uncomfortable if worn all day?
4) Since losing the hearing on one side my tinnitus has become even worse. For Baha users, does it become any less noticeable in the longer term? (Why is there no cure for tinnitus yet?!!)
Obviously I will be asking the qualified people at hospital these questions and more, but it would be really helpful if I can get some answers here.
Thanks! // Drew
Answer: Hi Drew,
Congratulations on your decision of getting a Baha System! Let me try to answer your questions, one by one:
1) You will not be able to “feel” the implant, however the tissue around it may feel sore or numb right after the surgery. This usually resolves over time. You may hear some sounds as you rub the implant against a pillow or similar, but there is an abutment cover available to cover it if it bothers you.
2) This is impossible to answer exactly as it varies from person to person, however, as a rule of thumb we say that the amplification increases by about 10-15 dB when attaching the sound processor to the implant compared to the headband. The biggest increase is in the high frequencies which will make the sound clearer.
3) When the Baha sound processor is attached to the implant you will not feel that you are wearing anything.
4) Tinnitus may be caused by hearing loss like you experience. Research has shown that for some users the tinnitus is relieved when using the Baha System, however, that is nothing we can promise.
Always consult a hearing healthcare specialist who can recommend what hearing solution is best for you.
~ Fredrik Breitholtz, Head of Training and Clinical Communication, Cochlear Bone Anchored Solutions