What’s it like living with the Baha System?

QuestionI 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

Read more: 12 golden rules for living with your Baha System

2 thoughts on “What’s it like living with the Baha System?

  1. Drew, I’m a BAHA 4 user in the United States. In my working life I was a professional musician. I’ve had my abutment and processor for nearly three years.

    In my experience, I’m very happy with the connect system rather than attract. The difference between the headband and the actual connect for me is 30% better. I noticed more fidelity in the lower frequencies (600 hz range), but definitely far better in the speech sibilant range with the processor attached to the abutment.

    I’m very careful not to “bump” my abutment. In the few times I’ve accidentally lightly bumped it, there’s been no pain, only a very loud noise! My healing process after the abutment install surgery was nearly 11 months. I got the processor after 90 days, but there was a small amount of soreness and irritation around the abutment that gradually decreased over a 10 to 11 month period. I was unable to rest my head on the abutment side until nearly a year passed. Trust me when I say this. Resting on my back or one side for a year was NO INCONVENIENCE in comparison with the monumental improvement in quality of life from being able to hear. Of course, you may heal much faster. Thought you’d like to know my experience in healing.

    I am not aware of the processor being attached at all. There is no fatigue, soreness, disturbance at all. I have forgotten it’s attached and only realized the processor was there when I put my head on the pillow. Be careful! It’s so comfortable that once I nearly got in the shower with it on. That would have been a disaster.

    I’m 61 years old with air conduction hearing loss due to blocked eustachian tubes causing infection after infection when younger. Tympanum is scarred and inflexible. My bone conduction hearing is similar to yours. Nearly 90%…

    Since I’m a musician I miss being able to locate sounds. With one processor, sound becomes unidirectional. I’m thinking about getting another processor and abutment, however my experience has been so good, the loss of direction for sound is a minor complaint.

    I wish you the best. Proceed with confidence.

    Tim

    Like

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