10 Halloween tips ‘n tricks for kids with hearing loss

children-costumes-halloween

Halloween is celebrated all over the world on 31 October. It’s thought to have originated with the medieval Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. Halloween became a major holiday in North America in the 19th century, thanks to mass Irish and Scottish immigration.

Nowadays the focus is less scary and more fun for children. To avoid any mishaps, here are some tips to help your hard of hearing little ones have a safe and fun Halloween:

  1. Before purchasing a costume, double check that the mask, hat or other headgear fits comfortably and securely around your child’s Baha sound processor(s)
  2. Apply any makeup, hairspray or glitter before putting on your child’s sound processor
  3. Make sure the sound processor is functioning properly before you leave the house
  4. Attach the sound processor securely with the Baha Safety Line
  5. Pack a flashlight with fresh batteries, extra sound processor batteries, and a mobile phone for the outing
  6. Consider using the wireless Mini Microphone for extra safety
  7. Decorate costumes with reflective tape for trick-or-treating
  8. Guide young children from house to house always keeping at their side or holding their hands, particularly at crosswalks
  9. Instruct your kids not to eat any of the candy until they come home and have had the treats examined by an adult
  10. Have fun!

How do you decorate your Baha sound processor?

Ears are the newest trendy body part – at least according to New York Fashion Week! No news for us, right 🙂

We love seeing pictures of creative Baha users and how you decorate your sound processors. Some people even get tattoos to highlight their hearing loss or to sympathise with a loved one (although you certainly don’t need to go that far!). The picture of the dad from New Zealand who tattooed a cochlear implant just like his daughter’s went viral last year, and we’re sure there are lots of other creative ways of highlighting your hearing loss or blinging your sound processor.

Here are some ideas we’ve come across. Feel free to share your own – either here or on our Facebook page. We’d love to see how you decorate your or your child’s Baha sound processor!

decorate-your-baha

Keep in mind:

  1. Be careful not to let the tape or sticker cover the microphones
  2. Don’t use strong glue that can harm the surface of your sound processor
  3. Make sure the battery door is properly closed, as an open door could cause feedback

Please be aware that material in certain stickers and glue may contain substances that are not biocompatible and thus may cause skin reactions. Test it on your skin first!

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

Is there a ski helmet compatible with my Baha sound processors?

Question: I love to go skiing and am very aware of the safety issues and the need to wear a helmet. I wear two Baha sound processors and find I am unable to wear a ski helmet because of the feed back and whistling when the helmet comes into contact with my devices. Any suggestions? // Ann

Answer: Dear Ann, thanks for your question.

What you need is to look for a helmet that is open around the ears, such as this one, so you can still wear your Baha System. This of course depends on the position of your sound processors. Since we haven’t tested it we can’t tell you if it works or not, but it might be worth a try!

ski-helmet-baha-sound-processor

Best of luck!

//The Baha Blog team

 

What’s the difference between “regular” Baha and Baha Attract?

Question: I was born deaf and wore two hearing aids for fifty years. Now I have 2 Baha sound processors. They are good , my ears are free at last! What I would like to know is what is the difference between a Baha and a Baha Attract? From what i can see is it magnetic rather than clipping it on.

Also – if the Baha Attract System is better, can I change to that? // Pam

Answer: Dear Pam.

Good to hear that your Baha sound processors work well.

The difference between the Baha Connect and Baha Attract System is the way that the sound processor attaches to the implant. In the Baha Connect System, that you are using, the sound processor snaps on to an abutment. In the Baha Attract System the sound processor is attached to a sound processor magnet. Another magnet is fixed to the implant under the skin and the sound processor is held in place on your head by the two magnets.

The main benefit of the Baha Attract System is that the implants are hidden beneath the skin making the system invisible when the sound processors are not attached.

The benefit of the Baha Connect System is that the direct connection maximises hearing performance.

It is possible to switch between the systems, but that requires another surgery to replace your abutment to the implant magnet, and it may provide you with a slightly different hearing experience (the skin will attenuate the sound slightly). This will of course require a thorough evaluation of the surgery and expected hearing outcome.

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

destiny-baha-attract-magnetdestiny-baha-attract-without-magnet
Baha Attract user Destiny with and without her magnet

Which is Cochlear’s most powerful sound processor?

QuestionI have had my Baha Intenso since February 2009. My hearing has deteriorated since then, therefore I have set it to max which causes it to whistle. Do you have a more powerful model to replace mine? //Brenda

Answer: Hi Brenda. Cochlear does offer a body worn sound processor that provides more audibility than the Intenso, it’s called the Baha Cordelle II. It is currently the most powerful sound processor in our portfolio.

Please discuss with your health care professional if you are eligible for an upgrade.

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

Ask the expert: What is the sound quality of the Baha 4 Sound Processor compared to Baha Divino?

Baha-Sound-processor-DivinoBaha 4 Sound Processor

Question: Hi, my name is Debbie and I found myself where I need to replace my old Baha Divino sound processor with a newer version like the Baha 4 Sound Processor.

I have already tested twice the newer version like the BP100 and Baha 4 Sound Processor, but neither had the same loud volume as I’m used to with the Divino. I have told the expert about it and we tried a couple of things, but I have never gained the same quality and it was too quiet and I really struggled to hear. I tested it for couple of days to get used to it, but the volume was still not loud enough.

As my 7-year-old Baha Divino needs a repair, I most probably will need a new sound processor.

Can you please advice me how I need to handle the new Baha 4 Sound Processor so I gain the same or even better quality than with the Divino? // Debbie

Answer: Dear Debbie,

Thank you for considering the Baha 4 Sound Processor.

A number of research studies have shown the performance of Baha 4 Sound Processor to provide superior hearing experience to the previous generations – Baha Divino and Baha 3 Sound Processor (BP100). It should provide greater hearing performance through the scene classifier and automatic functions – not to mention the ability to connect wireless accessories. This performance improvement is actually delivered by superior signal processing and sound cleaning technologies, as the amplification and maximum output is essentially the same between the Baha Divino, Baha 3 and Baha 4 sound processors.

Actually, in terms of usable amplification, the Baha 4 Sound Processor has quite a bit more, as the feedback manager increases the available amplificationuntil feedback.

The feeling that you have of the amplificationor loudness being less with Baha 4 Sound Processor is quite common for people who upgrade from Divino. In Divino, the amplification was a single channel linear device, whereas Baha 4 has 17 channels and processes the sound in a non-linear way. This non-linear technology “squeezes” the speech so that more speech is audible and improves hearing performance.

But you may feel that it loses the “punch”. Additionally, there are sound cleaning features such as noise reduction and directionality which makes speech more intelligible but reduces the overall perception of background noise. Your hearing care professional can program the Baha 4 Sound Processor so that it is also linear and adjust these features, and in that way can provide a sound similar to what you had before. Then over the next few appointments he/she can adjust it as your brain has adapted to turn on more and more features.

~ Mark C. Flynn, PhD Audiologist, Cochlear Bone Anchored Solutions