How the Baha System helped Jamie pursue her love of music: guest blog

This blog was adapted from its original article on Hear and Now, a Cochlear Americas recipient blog. Read it here.


Jamie G. has conductive hearing loss, and the Baha System has helped her pursue her love of music.

Jamie G. has conductive hearing loss, and the Baha System has helped her pursue her love of music.

At the age of 14, I was asked by my otolaryngologist what I wanted to be when I grew up. Excitedly, I told him I wanted to be a singer. He then explained that music wouldn’t be a good choice for me.

I developed many ear infections and battled a cholesteatoma in my early years. I lost most of my hearing in my left ear even after numerous reconstruction surgeries. Because of this, my ability to sing should be out of the question. Shortly after that, I sent him a tape of my recordings. After a listen, my doctor wholeheartedly supported my decision to pursue music.

Hearing loss certainly didn’t make my life easy. It made me withdrawn, depressed and a shy girl in school. But music was one avenue that made me feel confident and secure. I loved feeling the sounds of the bass in my chest as I listened to my favorite artist, the drums vibrating in my feet, or the soprano’s high notes bringing my hearing to clarity. In order to perform, practicing music had to consume most of my time, but I didn’t mind. Reading music, counting rhythms and knowing chord progressions took time, but it was vital in order for me to be successful as a musician.

Thankfully, I outgrew the ugly battle with the cholesteatoma. Sadly, my hearing could never be restored. Hearing aids were not an option due to my ear’s inability to move any drainage or wax. So for 30 years I adjusted my life around my hearing loss.

In July 2015, I was referred to an ENT-otolaryngologist in Kansas City for a second opinion. That visit changed how I looked at my future. I was a strong candidate for the Baha® Implant System due to my conductive hearing loss. It didn’t take much thought to know that the Baha System was the right decision for me.

My switch-on date was December 2017. I slowly adjusted to this new, but amazing world. My world of quiet was replaced with new sounds. I could now hear that thumping bass line without having to just feel it in my chest. I could hear my voice not only when I sang those soprano notes, but I loved to hear the rich lower tones of my voice now. I didn’t have to make sure I performed in a certain spot on stage. I had the freedom to move wherever I needed to be. I still prefer to be near the drums, feeling the music in my feet and chest while I express my songs.

I chose Cochlear because of my musical lifestyle. I needed access to streaming without a separate device. But I also wanted to connect my device to any in-ear monitor system while performing. I knew I needed the best technology for my device to function in all areas of my life, so I choose the Baha 5 Sound Processor.

Jamie G. uses the Baha System to help explore her love of music.

Jamie G. uses the Baha System to help explore her love of music.

When I first got it, I made sure my settings were adjusted to my liking, and it took a few trips to the audiologist to get it just right. I love the ability to switch modes. When I listen or perform, I need my Baha 5 Sound Processor to adjust to the sound of the music. The tones I want when I sing or listen to music are certainly different that my daily mode.

I use my Cochlear True Wireless Mini Microphone every time I perform with my monitor system. Using a Y-adapter plugged into the monitor, I plug in my Mini Mic to one jack, my in-ear headphones to the other. Once I pair my Mini Mic to my Baha 5 Sound Processor, I hear every tone of the piano, the full sound of the acoustic guitar, the intricate bass line, my vocals moving in progression with the band…all in stereo – in both ears!

My musicianship has improved and excelled in a way I only could dream of a few years ago. I can now lead musically, knowing exactly what needs to be done to move the band to a more unified and excellent sound.

Because of my increased musical abilities with the Baha 5 Sound Processor, I got to hit the studio for my very first recording a year after my implant. While using my Baha System, I recorded a CD with a full live band. It was a beautiful experience to see and hear my own songs come alive and to be able to hear them fully and in true form.

Hearing loss made me appreciate my gift of music through expression. But the Baha System has given me the gift to hear that expression fully.

I look forward to more recording sessions and producing many more songs that have yet to be written! To hear a sample of my music or to purchase a download of my CD, you can visit

The opinions expressed in this blog are my own views and not those of Cochlear.


If you are dealing with constant ear infections or a cholesteatoma impacting your hearing, click here to find a solution to help you get better hearing.

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Baha Attract user Alex, 10: “The control features are awesome!”


May 2015 marked one year since 10-year old Alex was fitted with the Baha Attract System. Since then, pretty much his whole life has changed.

From early childhood, Alex suffered from bad ear infections which were treated with antibiotics and drops. This made him a fussy baby and he didn’t sleep well at all. At one of his first visits to his paediatrician she came across a small polyp in his right ear and referred Alex’ parents to an ENT specialist.

“The very moment the specialist looked in his ear, he knew there was a problem,” remembers mother Chrissy. “After a hearing test we knew for sure he had hearing loss. Alex went into surgery right away and just 20 minutes after the surgeon started he stopped to come and tell us that our little guy had an extensive cholesteatoma.”

Alex had surgery, but after about three years, his parents noticed he still was not hearing like he should have. The ENT doctor ran new tests and determined that he needed some type of hearing assistance. At first they tried a regular hearing aid but because of Alex’s chronic draining issue, it was impossible. His audiologist recommended a Baha System.

“We found out that Cochlear had the magnetic option and felt that it would be a good thing for him, because of not having the extra maintenance of cleaning an abutment,” says Chrissy. “I did my research and his audiologist and ENT surgeon set us up with a Cochlear representative who let Alex try on the Baha Softband. He totally fell in love with it and said right away that this was what he wanted. The magnet was a natural choice for us since he is super active and loves to play.”


The Baha Attract System uses the same titanium implant as other Baha systems, but no abutment. Instead it uses a magnetic connection to attract the sound processor to the implant, sending sound to the inner ear without anything breaking the skin.

“The Baha Attract System offered the opportunity for us to not have to add another daily medical task to my sons’ already busy life. There is no external abutment so there is nothing that has to be maintained except for the sound processor itself.”

On April 24th of 2014 Alex had his surgery and after four weeks of healing he was fitted with his Baha sound processor. According to his mother, Alex healed quickly without any problems. He had his surgery on a Thursday and was up playing the very next day, just like normal.

The Baha Attract System is the only magnetic hearing care system with true wireless direct-to-device capabilities. This means that Alex can connect his sound processor to a number of wireless accessories and iPhone – without the hassles of wires or neck-worn dongles.

“Alex never takes his sound processor off,” says Chrissy. “He wears it when he plays and runs around. He is hearing things he never heard before. He loves this technology. He uses his Mini Microphone for everything. He plugs into his tablet or the TV or even his Xbox and uses it in school every day. He thinks that the new Baha 5 Sound Processor has ‘awesome’ control features. This has been a crazy ride for sure but it has been worth it.”


Baha user Nancy: With the Baha System I can even enjoy the wind!


Nancy Von Eilbergh has had hearing loss in both ears all her life. She struggled for 50 years until she finally got the help she needed. Here she tells us about her journey.

“My name is Nancy. I am a wife, mother and nurse. When I was seven years old, it was discovered I had cholesteatomas in both ears. They were benign, slow but aggressively attacking tumours, destroying the bones in my inner ear that allow us to hear.

My hearing loss treatment started with hearing aids, which seemed to amplify everything behind me more than in front of me. Socially it was difficult because I would constantly misunderstand people. In school, the teachers would forget about my hearing loss and have their backs to me, talking to the chalk board so I was not able to lip read.

Hearing aids weren’t enough

I continued to wear hearing aids throughout high school. Then one day my dog ate my hearing aids (yes, really!), and I decided to go without them for a while. I went on to nursing school and was able to get through it with a specialised stethoscope and start my nursing profession.

I managed alright until my early 30’s. Then I went back to hearing aids until about two or three years ago.  They were not working adequately; the mould would not sit properly in my left ear canal, and the right aid was not amplified enough. Originally I was told I was not a candidate for bone conduction hearing implants. This devastated me.  I was at the point of considering retiring from my job as Nurse Manager because my hearing didn’t work effectively.

Tested bone conduction before surgery

Then I saw an ENT physician who said I may be an ideal candidate for the Baha System after all.  I got an evaluation, and a Cochlear representative came out for my test.  I threatened to run away with the test rod – I was so amazed and excited by what I could hear!  I told my physician to sign me up yesterday.

I spoke in length with the representative, my physician and my husband. I wasn’t concerned about pain. I was a little anxious about anaesthesia but felt very comfortable with all the answers I received. I trusted the doctor and the product.  Overall, it was an easy decision because I figured at this point my hearing levels couldn’t go anywhere but up.

I looked at one or two other bone conduction products, mostly from a repair standpoint.  My hearing aids were always getting repaired.  I had a tight relationship with my hearing aid manufacturer because they were local, and I could bring my aids in for repair the same day.  I was concerned about shipping out my sound processor if repairs were needed.  I researched Cochlear’s history, how long Cochlear has been involved in hearing solutions, and hands down it was the best choice for me.

In February, I was implanted on my left side, and in April on my right side.  When I received my Baha sound processors, it was almost surreal. The Cochlear representative asked what music I wanted to hear first, and I told her I wanted Cat Stevens. When she played it, my face broke into a grin; I was off in my own world.  It was like my favourite music was being played by the philharmonic, and it was just me and the music.  I would have been happy if everyone just left for a moment.


Wireless accessories

Then we started programming the sound processor and the wireless accessories.  My son took the Mini Microphone and walked down the hall, and I could hear him say “Hi mom” with the physician in the room talking.  It is still such a great memory. Now I also use the Phone Clip which works very well for me.  It delivers people’s voices directly to my sound processor, bypassing surrounding noise and allows me to hear phone conversations clearly.  It’s a godsend, especially when I am on-call for work.

Getting the Baha System has been nothing short of a miracle!  I have never heard this well before. I have a new lease on life.  My brain had to adjust a bit – what not to listen to, what to listen to – but it’s been fairly easy for me.

Hearing improvement

My family has definitely noticed an improvement in my hearing.  My husband even jokingly tells me he wants me to take it off because I can hear when he mumbles.  My family can talk to me without yelling.  I don’t have to ask my son to repeat himself; I pick up 99% of what he says.  At work, I can definitely tell the difference.  I can be in next room and carry on conversations instead of being in the same room and missing it all – it’s phenomenal!  Even today, I stopped and noticed the sound of my shoes on the carpet.

I have been able to successfully continue my job as a Nurse Manager. People can’t believe I use hearing devices.  They’re less obvious than my hearing aids because my hair hides them, and I hear better now so people don’t need to repeat themselves. That’s amazing to me!

baha5-colors-copperNancy with the Baha 5 Sound processor in copper

I love kayaking, although I typically don’t wear my sound processors while I do it. I do use them up to the point of going in the boat because I love to hear it gliding into the water. I love to be outside and walk, hearing the sound of the rustling of trees. Those are things I missed tremendously. The sound of rain on the car is just something you take for granted. And when it comes back, it’s amazing.

With my old hearing aids, the sound of the wind felt like I was on the wing of a Boeing 747.  With my Baha sound processors, I can actually enjoy the wind. I’m social, I love talking with people.  I have a good sense of humor, and now I don’t have the miscommunication that I experienced prior to the surgery.

For people who ask what it is, I tell them my Baha System is an incredibly cool piece of technology. I explain how it works and show them what it looks like.  I have also chatted with a few people on Facebook, mostly with parents of young kids.  To me, that’s the most fabulous thing in the whole world, to consider how to improve your child’s hearing.  I think to myself how much easier life is when you can hear, and it blows me away.

Choosing Cochlear has been a great decision.  The Cochlear representative was wonderful both pre-op and post-op.  She was and still is incredibly helpful.  The online support has been wonderful, my orders have always arrived very quickly.  I’ve just had very positive experiences with Cochlear.”


Watch Nancy’s Baha story here


Outcomes may vary. Results from case studies are not predictive of results in other cases.


When is a Baha System right for me?

We often get the question “When would a bone conduction hearing system be right for me?”.

There is of course not one answer, but the most common reason is that a Baha solution will be beneficial to you when hearing aids in or behind the ear no longer work. For instance, for a child born without external ears there’s the possibility to transfer sound via the skull bone instead of the ear canals. Likewise, if you suffer from chronic ear infections that mean you can’t use hearing aids, a solution like a Baha System that keeps your ear canals open may be the recommended solution.

We usually talk about three types of hearing loss where a Baha System could be the right solution for you:

Conductive hearing loss

Problems in the outer and/or middle ear can block or restrict the flow of sound waves, preventing them from getting through effectively to the inner ear. You may be able to understand what’s being said, but only if people speak loud enough and there isn’t too much background noise. Hearing aids may help, but sometimes not enough.

Conductive hearing loss can be caused by (among other things):

  • Ear infection or fluid in the middle ear (otitis media)
  • Otosclerosis – fusing of bones in the middle ear
  • A benign tumour or cholesteatoma, causing damage to the middle ear

Read more: A tumor stole John’s hearing, but the Baha solution opened up a new world of sound


Single-sided deafness (SSD)

This is the loss of all, or almost all, hearing in one ear. You may have difficulty in locating sounds or hearing against background noise. SSD is usually caused by sensorineural hearing loss, when the inner ear – or less often, the hearing nerve – isn’t working correctly.

SSD can be caused by:

  • Exposure to very loud noise
  • Acoustic neuroma (a benign tumor on the hearing nerve)
  • Certain drugs or medications

Read more: Actor Mark Ruffalo lost all his hearing in his left ear due to acoustic neuroma

Mixed hearing loss

A mixed loss is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. This means that there may be damage in the outer or middle ear, and also in the inner ear or hearing nerve.


If you or your child has one of the types of hearing loss described above, then a Baha bone conduction implant may be a good solution. A health professional can talk you through the options and help you make the most informed decision. If you don’t already have someone to speak to, use this tool to find a clinic close to you. When considering what to do, the most important thing is to have all the information.

A tumor stole John’s hearing, but the Baha solution opened up a new world of sound


John Kastanis works as an insurance professional in Manhattan. A few years ago he started to lose his hearing, as a result of a cholesteatoma removal in his twenties.

The tipping point was at a meeting at work and literally not being able to hear the person sitting opposite him in the conference room. He realized it was serious and that he needed to do something about it.

John started investigating what type of hearing solution could help him. His doctor suggested the Baha System and lent him a Baha Softband to try out for a couple of days. Being able to test the device before having surgery made all the difference for him.

“Initially I was apprehensive about getting a Baha implant, because I wasn’t sure how people were going to perceive me,” recalls John. “I’m a customer-facing individual, so I meet people on a daily basis. I had no wish to be considered handicapped, or thought any the less of. But once the device was put on, all those thoughts evaporated. The sounds I heard were not just amplified but clarified.”


Once the surgery was done and John was fitted with his bilateral Baha sound processors, the sound was even better.

“When they first turned my Baha on, I could literally hear a pin drop,” says John. “I heard tones and sounds and clicks that I hadn’t heard in years. That was a real eye-opener for me. It was the ‘aha’ moment, the moment when you see the rainbow going over the pot of gold. It was great, it really was.”

Read John’s whole story here.

Are you or a loved one considering a bone conduction implant system? Use this tool to find a hearing care professional that can explain more about the Baha System in your area!

Four stories. Four Baha Attract users.

A great film from Israel showing four different people living with the Baha Attract System. The film is produced by Tradis Gat.

Camille always danced – now it’s to music


At the Cochlear Celebration in San Diego 2013, we had the pleasure of meeting Camille Masino – our 100,000th Baha recipient. Camille has danced the ballet since she was three years old – without even being able to hear the music, or her teachers. It wasn’t until she received her Baha sound processors that she could bring her dancing to a whole new level.

This is Camille’s story:

20-year old Camille, USA, was born with Goldenhar Syndrome. She had fused vertebrae in the neck making it difficult to turn her head, as well as deformation of the outer and middle ear which caused her to suffer from severe hearing loss in her right ear. Her childhood was filled with constant trips in and out of surgery. To complicate matters further, Camille also had sensitive allergies and chronic sinus problems.

The allergies brought on constant ear infections in Camille’s left ear – her “good” ear – causing her to suffer from hearing loss on that side too. At age 11, Camille developed a cholesteatoma (a growth in the middle ear) in her left ear and from then on she really struggled to communicate. A doctor told her parents that Camille would most likely find it difficult to succeed in school.

At the age of 14 and after almost as many surgeries, Camille decided to get bilateral Baha sound processors.

“It was the best decision she ever made!” says Camille’s mother Hilary Masino. “Hearing with the Baha sound processors has truly changed her life. Above all, it has allowed Camille to continue dancing ballet.”

Dancing is Camille’s life. She started dancing ballet when she was just three years old, and has danced though deafness, dizziness, pain and the inability to turn her head.

Camille laughs:

I love dancing. I dance six days a week. After every surgery I would wrap my head in a scarf and rush to get back to the studio. All my doctors thought I was crazy.

Without being able to hear, Camille learned how to dance by lip reading her teacher’s instructions and by feeling the beat of the music. When she got her Baha sound processors, Camille could hear the music for the first time – and her teacher. When Camille heard her teacher giving her praise it was a revelation. She realised that she had been doing it for years, saying “Good” or “Well done!” – only Camille had never heard it before!

In her senior year of high school Camille danced the solo role of the Snow Queen in the Nutcracker; “She was beautiful,” says Hilary.

Proving her doctor wrong, Camille graduated from high school with a 3.9 GPA and with a career path award in Medical Microbiology and Biotechnology. She was accepted to college at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

“Today I’m grateful for my trials,” concludes Camille. “They are my biggest blessings. They have made me into who I am today.”


Camille at the Cochlear Celebration 2013

Camille at the Cochlear Celebration 2013