What is the BAHA System?
The BAHA System (Bone Anchored Hearing Aid) is a surgically implantable system for treatment of hearing loss that works through direct bone conduction. It has been used since 1977, and was cleared by the FDA in 1996 as a treatment for conductive and mixed hearing losses in the United States. In 2002, the FDA approved its use for the treatment of unilateral sensorineural hearing loss.
BAHA is used to help people with chronic ear infections, congenital external auditory canal atresia and single sided deafness who cannot benefit from conventional hearing aids. The system is surgically implanted and allows sound to be conducted through the bone rather than via the middle ear – a process known as direct bone conduction.
How does the BAHA System work?
The BAHA system uses your body’s ability to conduct sound and provides a more fulfilling listening experience for those who suffer from certain types of hearing loss. It uses technology that combines a sound processor with a small titanium fixture that is located behind the ear. This system allows the bone to transfer sound to a functioning cochlea rather than the middle ear.
Why does the BAHA System work?
The two ways humans hear sound is first through air conduction and through bone conduction, working together to help us listen and perceive sound. However, when we hear ourselves speak, it’s actually the enhancement of lower frequencies by vibration in the bone that give us our normal tone of voice.
A normal hearing aid pushes sound through the damaged part of the ear, but the BAHA System uses our bodies natural ability to conduct sound by bypassing the damaged outer and middle ear to send a clear and crisp sound delivered directly to the inner ear.
Who is a Candidate for the BAHA System?
The BAHA System is used to rehabilitate people with conductive and mixed loss hearing impairment. This includes:
- Chronic infection of the ear canal
- Absence of or a very narrow ear canal as a result of a congenital ear malformation, infection, or surgery
- people with a single sided hearing loss as a result of surgery for a vestibular schwannoma (a tumor of the balance and hearing nerves).
Dr Sigari is one of a handful of doctors on the westide that are trained to implement the BAHA system.