We hear sound naturally in two ways: air conduction and bone conduction. Air conduction hearing devices use amplified air to send sound waves from the outer ear, via the ear canal to the inner ear. Bone conduction devices send the sound vibrations directly to the inner ear via the bone.
In cases where the middle ear is blocked or damaged, or when one ear does not function, a bone conduction device like Baha (Bone-Anchored Hearing Aid) is more effective. Instead of trying to send sound through the damaged area, Baha sends it directly through the bone, naturally stimulating the inner ear.
Every Baha system has a titanium implant and a high performance sound processor, which is located behind the ear. The sound processor captures the sound vibrations around you and directs them through the implant where your body’s natural ability to conduct sound via your bone directs it to your inner ear, helping you to hear.
There are three Baha systems tailor-made to meet your personal needs.
Divino uses advanced digital sound processing. It has a built-in directional microphone to help you focus clearly – whether you’re in a meeting room or your local sports club.
Intenso may be the best choice when more power is required. It is discreet, yet powerful. The advanced digital technology reduces the risk of whistling and provides more of the interesting details of sound, together with greater comfort.
For substantial hearing losses, the body worn Cordelle is the strongest member of the Baha family.
The Baha Softband is for use by young children as well as adults. As the bone in a young child’s skull is thinner and softer than that of an adult, doctors generally recommend that implants are not put in until their bones are stronger, so the Softband is used in the early years.
For adults, the Softband is often used when trying out the device to see whether they might benefit from bone conduction hearing technology.
The Softband consists of a comfortable elastic band with a Baha sound processor attached to a plastic snap connector sewn into the band. The tension of the band ensures that the snap connector is pressed against the skull and sound is then sent through the bone to the functioning inner ear, so the user can hear more clearly.
FAQs about Baha
Q: Will my abutment set off the metal detector in the airport?
A: Possibly, however when you receive your Baha there is a credit card sized information card in the box. This explains that the abutment and implant are titanium and are part of your Baha system. You should keep this card in your purse or wallet, so that it is handy if you ever need to show it to anyone to help explain your Baha when travelling.
Q: Is my Baha compatible with a Telecoil?
A: Yes, there is a specially designed Telecoil for all headworn Baha devices available from your audiologist. You can also use an audio adapter that will allow you to connect directly with any device that has a headphone output such as an iPod, enabling you to listen to your favourite music.
Q: Can I play sports whilst wearing my Baha?
A: With the sound processor removed you are able to go swimming and play other sports. The abutment area can always be protected with a sweat band during sports if needed. While you are not wearing the sound processor, you should make sure that it is switched off and kept safe in its box.
Q: Can I lie on my Baha abutment when I’m asleep?
A: Yes, lying on your abutment will not damage it. When you receive your Baha, there is a small abutment cover in the box which can be snapped over the end of the abutment. You will also receive a safety line which it is advisable to wear whilst you are getting used to your Baha. This will ensure that it doesn’t fall on the ground and get damaged if you accidentally knock it. It is recommended that children wear the safety line at all times.
For more about Baha, you might find these resources useful:
To sign the petition and help ensure that NHS trusts and Primary Care Trusts in the UK provide funding for Bone Anchored Hearing Aids (BAHA) to those deaf people who need them, visit the Number 10 website.
To sign, you must be a British citizen or resident and submit the online form by 8th October.