Congratulations to Michael King – the 2016 Anders Tjellström UK Scholarship winner!

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Cochlear UK is pleased to announce Michael King from Walsall, UK as the second Anders Tjellström Scholarship winner.

Michael, 20, suffered from constant ear infections throughout his childhood due to a cholesteatoma. After many operations, including mastoidectomies to try and eradicate the disease, the colesteatoma was removed. Michael received his Baha Attract System from Walsall Manor Hospital in September 2015. He is currently studying for a BSc (Hons) in Computer Games Programming at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Michael aims high and is diligent and committed in his studies. He attended mainstream school and achieved excellent qualifications. He has participated in many activities including volunteering as an ICT Technician in a school for children with learning difficulties, leading small groups of teenagers at his local youth group during holiday times and becoming a member of the Air Cadets.

Michael used to see his hearing loss as a huge wall that he could not overcome. Going out to meet people or going for a meal with family would just physically drain him due to the amount of concentration it took to hold a conversation in a noisy environment.

Since receiving his implant he says:

“My Baha Sound Processors, alongside the Mini Mic and Phone Clip, has enabled me to be able to hear whilst in lectures or group discussions. This means that I am able to expand my knowledge and skills with so much more ease than I would have done without help – and it’s opening doors for me, giving me a better quality of hearing. I can now confidently go out and enjoy myself with friends, while being able to hear everything they are saying.”

Today, he views his hearing loss to be a positive challenge rather than a barrier and now appreciates hearing what others may take for granted.

“I’m truly humbled to have been given the opportunity to receive my implant, let alone win this scholarship. I was offered the implant and was the first to receive it in my local area, and haven’t looked back, it really has been a life changing experience for me and I’m so grateful.”

Read more about the scholarship here.

What are the benefits of the Baha System?

Question: Thank you very much for responding to me once already, it’s very much appreciated. However; I’d like to find out more about the Baha DermaLock Abutment – would this be appropriate for my situation?

I have so called SUDDEN SENSORINEURAL HEARING LOSS in my left ear and I did all possible treatments from the day that happened, in ear steroids and oral, along with hyperberic oxygen therapy. I am now on day 46 and no hearing has come back. I am at about 90dB profound hearing loss. My major problem is being in places with noises or anywhere that there are people talking at the same time! It sounds muffled and makes it very hard to hear from the good ear also, and that is what makes me uncomfortable more than just hearing from one ear. My ENT suggests the Cros hearing aids but I am not sure…

So my questions are :
A. Can the DermaLock Abutment be good for me?
B. Will the Baha System fix some of this annoying situation in group talking, restaurants etc?
C. Will this Baha System show on the outside on my skin? I would like you to send some pics for me to see .
D. Will it help my tinnitus a bit also?

Finally, can you recommend a specialist in central NJ area that do this surgery?
I appreciate all you can tell me , after all it’s all new to me and I do love life and would very much like to do everything i was doing. I have been isolate from lots of my friends because of the muffleness caused by restaurant noise and people talking or my wife vacuuming the house!
Please help . // Pietro

Answer: Dear Pietro, thanks for reaching out to us.

First, to clarify, we are not able to give medical advice to individuals. Only a hearing care professional can recommend what hearing solution is best for you. I can however try to answer your questions the best I can.

A. A DermaLock Abutment is one way to connect the sound processor to the implant. This type of direct system is called the Baha Connect System. We also have the Baha Attract System. This system uses two magnets, one under the skin and one above, to connect the sound processor to the implant. Your hearing care professional will help you decided which system is best for you. The great thing about a Baha System is that you can try it out before moving forward with surgery by  listening through the sound processor on a Baha Softband. This will give you a good understanding of the benefit you can expect.

B. With a Baha System you can generally relieve the problem from having the muffled experience you describe when someone is talking on your hearing impaired side. The problem you are experiencing is what’s called the “head shadow effect”. This means that high frequency soundwaves coming from your impaired side are “shadowed” by your head and don’t reach your hearing ear. The lower frequency sound waves are better able to reach your hearing ear and this is what causes the muffled sound. With a Baha System on your impaired side the sound is captured and sent as vibrations through the bone directly to your hearing ear, alleviating the problem and making it easier to hear more clearly from both sides.

C. This depends on what system you use. Because the Baha Attract System uses magnets, there is nothing visible when you are not wearing your sound processor. You can find several pictures of Baha Attract users on this blog, such as this one. If you use the Baha Connect System then yes, the small abutment is visible when you are not wearing your sound processor. Recent technology developments have dramatically improved the aesthetics of an abutment system. You can also find pictures of Baha Connect users on this blog, such as this one of Nancy:

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D. Regarding tinnitus relief, this is a question that your hearing care professional will be better suited to answer. I would definitely encourage you to get in contact with a professional to evaluate your situation and reach out to people who have been in your situation.

Cochlear runs events where you can meet with Baha System users and get more information. Here is a link to the event calendar in the US.  If you’d like, we can have your local engagement manager contact you directly. Send us your email details and we’ll have her reach out to you.

Use this tool to find a Baha clinic in your area!

 

~ Fredrik Breitholtz, Head of Training and Clinical Communication, Cochlear Bone Anchored Solutions

In the news: teenager can hear again with the Baha Attract System

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Gage Hoskins, 15, is the first patient in Abilene, Texas, USA to receive a Baha Attract System.

The tiny hearing device is surgically implanted behind the ear and uses magnets to connect a sound processor to the implant.

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“Bone-anchored hearing aids are much crisper and much clearer,” said Dr. Jason Acevedo, of Abilene Regional Medical Center. “They’re very advanced technology. They have Bluetooth and they connect to your phone and you can listen to an iPod or talk on the phone right through the implant. It’s a specific technology that conducts sound through the bone for folks that have mechanism hearing loss.”

Gage says: “Before I got this, it sounded like everyone was kind of wearing a mask or something. Now I can hear so much clearer.”

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Watch the video and read the entire article here.

How well does the Baha solution represent music in stereo?

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QuestionHi there! I have a question with regards to the Baha System and music.

About 8 months ago I lost hearing in my left ear as a result of an infection and head injury. I’m booked in for diagnostic tests to consider my eligibility for implants, but my doctor has said that a Baha solution might be good for me. I never considered an implant until recently, but now I’m starting to come around to the idea.

My major qualm with an implant would be my enjoyment of music. Before my accident I was a huge music fan. I produced music as a hobby, played instruments, and loved listening to new artists and going to festivals. However since I got my SSD I’ve found it difficult to produce the same enthusiasm I once did, music seems blander than it once did, although I still enjoy it. Admittedly a lot of this disappointment is likely a result of the long-term tinnitus I’ve been experiencing, loud noises tend to make the tinnitus louder.

My question is: do you have any information about how well the Baha solution represents music in stereo? I imagine it will never be the same as two ears, but can it help recover some of the fine details I’ve been missing? Can it easily distinguish between pitches? And is there a risk of the tinnitus coming back after the implant?

Huge thanks for taking the time to read, I look forward to your reply. // Elliot

Answer: Hi there!

You are right in that your hearing might not be exactly the same as it used to – but with today’s technologies, you can expect the Cochlear Baha solution to offer better sound quality than ever before. One of the many benefits with the Baha System is that you can try it before surgery. By using a Baha sound processor on a Softband you’ll get a good idea of what your hearing will be like.

Also you should be aware that the dynamic range of music and speech is different. As music listening seems to be one of your key requests I would recommend that you ask your hearing care specialist to create a music program for the sound processor as you evaluate the benefit of the Baha System. This will make sure that music is represented in a good way by the system.

You can also listen via the wireless Mini Mic where you can adjust the level, so that the peaks of music do not overdrive the microphones.

Stereo representation will not be restored as it was before your accident as you now only hear with one ear (the Baha System will send the sound from your deaf side to the hearing ear via bone conduction). However, you should be able to pick up more details as some of the bland sounds you’re experiencing is due to the higher frequency sounds from your deaf side being shadowed by your head.

Regarding tinnitus there are no reports of increasing tinnitus problems for Baha users, on the contrary, there are actually reports on tinnitus relief after getting a Baha System. However, many factors influence this and the best person to answer any questions about this will be your hearing care specialist.

Best of luck!

~ Fredrik Breitholtz, Head of Training and Clinical Communication, Cochlear Bone Anchored Solutions