Bone Conduction Hearing Devices, also known as Bone Anchored Hearing Implants, are for people with a permanent Conductive Hearing Loss or Mixed Hearing Loss that causes a problem either in the ear canal, ear drum or part of the Middle Ear, which results in sounds being heard more softly or not at all.
They are different from and should not be confused with Bone Conduction Hearing Aids.
A Bone Conduction Hearing Device typically consists of two parts:
- the external implant sound processor that detects and turns the sound the sound into vibrations; and
- a surgically-implanted fixture that is inserted into the skull behind the ear.
How Do Bone Conduction Hearing Devices Work?
The external part of the implant is attached to the skull via a implanted abutment or magnetic connection. Sounds detected by the device’s external sound processor are turned into vibrations that are transmitted through the fixture into the skull bone. These vibrations naturally move across the skull to the Inner Ear where they are sensed by the Cochlea as sound.
An appealing feature of Bone Conduction Hearing Devices is that they offer hearing amplification without the need to have an ear mould or hearing aid inserted into the ear canal. This makes them a comfortable option when compared to conventional Hearing Aids. The location of the implant behind the ear also makes Bone Conduction Hearing Devices less visible than Hearing Aids – if that is a concern for the recipient. The newer generations of Bone Conduction Hearing Devices have increased smartphone compatibility, which can be used to monitor and control some of their functions.
Recent advances in Bone Conduction Hearing Device technology have in some cases removed the need for a surgically-implanted fixture such as Cochlear’s BAHA® Attract System. Instead, a magnetic strip can now be surgically inserted behind the ear that allows for the quick and secure placement or removal of the device as required. This makes removing the implant a lot easier when having a shower or going for a swim.
Like conventional Hearing Aids, Bone Conduction Hearing Devices are compatible with Assistive Listening Technologies such as telecoils, FM systems and neckloops.
Having Bone Conduction Hearing Devices are only a small part of the hearing loss management journey to have better hearing. When you make a decision to have Bone Conduction Hearing Devices, it should be part of an overall therapy program with a qualified hearing health professional, such as an audiologist, that will help your brain make sense of the new information being sent by the device.
Watch the video below to gain an insight into the technology that went into creating Cochlear’s Bone Conduction Hearing Device – the BAHA 5.
In Australia, Bone Conduction Hearing Devices are available from the following manufacturers: