Bone-anchored implants are surgically implantable systems used to treat specific types of hearing loss. Sounds are sent to the inner ear through bone vibrations (conduction), bypassing the outer ear and middle ear.
How Does a Bone-Anchored Implant Work?
Bone-anchored implants have three parts: a titanium implant, a sound processor, and an external connecting element. During an outpatient procedure, a small titanium implant is placed into the bone behind the ear. A tiny abutment is then inserted, which is visible through the skin. A removable sound processor is then attached to the abutment. Some devices may use a magnetic connection between the processor and implant rather than an abutment.
A bone-anchored implant uses vibrations through the bone, a natural pathway for sound to travel to the hearing organ. It works differently than a traditional hearing aid as it bypasses the outer and middle ear.
Who Can Benefit from a Bone-Anchored Implant?
Potential candidates include
· Chronic ear infections
· Malformations of the outer and/or middle ear
· Single-sided deafness
Other conditions that might warrant a bone-anchored hearing device include
· Acoustic neuroma
· Ménière’s disease
· Chronic middle ear disease
· Sudden hearing loss in one ear
Role of Audiologists
Audiologists identify, diagnose, and provide treatment options for patients with hearing loss and inner ear related balance disorders. Audiologists recommend and program bone-anchored implants and are critical in providing aural rehabilitation, auditory training, and communication strategies that are essential for optimizing an individual's success with the device. They work closely with physicians and are a fundamental part of the hearing care management team.
Hagr A. (2007) BAHA: Bone-Anchored Hearing Aid. International Journal of Health Sciences, 1(2), 265–276.