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:

baha5-colors-copper

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

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

Ask the expert: Can the Baha solution help my tinnitus?

Question: Is the Baha bone conduction implant recommended for a patient with “ear noise” and diagnosis of hearing loss? Also, does it help the “noise” go away? //Sharon

Answer: Dear Sharon. Thank you for your mail.

Both the Baha Connect and the Baha Attract Systems are suitable for people who have a deafness in one ear and normal hearing in the other ear. The Baha systems will help you to hear sound from the poor hearing side. Sound that is normally in the “shadow” will now be amplified to the normal hearing side via bone conduction. In addition to improved audibility, this will also lead to two key benefits; better understanding of speech in noise – especially when the speaker is on the poor hearing side – and awareness of sound from the poor side¹.

That said, bone conduction hearing implants are a solution for audibility and unfortunately not for relief of noises in the poor ear, or tinnitus. Generally speaking, you should expect no change to your tinnitus as the signal is being transferred to the good ear. Your hearing care professional will take tinnitus into account in the candidacy evaluations to ensure that it is managed correctly.

Best of luck!

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

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1. Flynn, M. C., Sammeth, C., Cire, G. Sadeghi, A. & Halvarsson, G. (2010). Baha for single-sided sensorineural deafness: Review and recent technological innovations. Seminars in Hearing, 31(4), 326-341.