Question: Hi 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