What is a BAHA?
A bone-anchored hearing aid, or BAHA, is a surgically implanted device that is used for patients with certain types of hearing loss.
The BAHA has two major components - a titanium implant that is placed during a brief surgical procedure (less than one hour) and a special hearing aid that fits on the titanium implant.
The BAHA hearing aid is a speech processor that sends vibrational energy to the titanium implant.
This speech processor can be removed easily during bathing, swimming, or sleeping.
The titanium implant is placed into the bone, where it "osseointegrates" with the surrounding bone during the healing period of approximately 2-3 months. Osseointegration allows a strong bond to develop between the implant and the bone, assuring that a very efficient transfer of sound energy occurs.
The BAHA can overcome a problem of the middle or inner ear (due to multiple ear surgeries, a congenital abnormality or absence of the middle ear, or single sided deafness) and stimulates a functional inner ear (cochlea) directly.
The cochlea can "hear" vibrations sent by the BAHA speech processor through compressional mechanisms of hearing, allowing the energy to stimulate the hair cells of the inner ear.
Above: The BAHA (placed behind the right ear in this image) transmits vibrational energy to a functioning inner ear (cochlea) when a pediatric or adult patient has conductive hearing loss that has not been reversible with middle ear surgery (cholesteatoma with damaged or absent ossicles, failed ossiculoplasty surgery, severe congenital aural atresia or abnormal ossicles). Patients with maximum conductive hearing loss in both ears can enjoy enhanced sound and speech perception compared to conventional hearing aids. (Image modified, courtesy of Cochlear Corp.)
Above: This BAHA, placed behind a deaf left ear, can transmit vibrational energy to the normal functioning cochlea on the right side to improve sound localization and to enhance sound and speech perception. (Image modified, courtesy of Cochlear Corp.)