Hearing Aids and Implants
If you’re experiencing hearing loss, you and your otolaryngologist (ENT physician) or audiologist can discuss the type of hearing aid or listening device that will work best for you.
Hearing aids should be custom fitted. Types of hearing aids include:
- Bone Ancchored Hearing Aids (BAHA)
- Cochlear implants
- Traditional hearing aids
Other devices to help with hearing loss include:
- Infrared systems for TVs and theaters where a transmitter relays sound to a headset.
- FM listening devices where the speaker wears a transmitter and the listener wears a headset.
- Notification devices for monitoring of smoke detectors, telephones, door bells and alarms.
- Telephone amplifiers that make the sound coming through the phone louder.
- Voice carryover telephones that convert incoming conversation to text.
Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA)
A Bone Anchored Hearing Aid is surgically implanted behind the ear and uses the bones to conduct sound vibrations.
The BAHA may be a good option for middle ear problems. Conventional hearing aids conduct sound through the ear canal in the middle ear. The BAHA sound processor transmits sound directly to the hearing nerve without involving the ear canal.
The BAHA is placed during a short surgical procedure and, over time, naturally joins with the skull bone. It offers sound quality as good as a conventional hearing aid, and better sound quality than a traditional bone conductor aid.
A BAHA may help those with:
- Chronic infection of the ear canal
- Hearing loss due to removal of a tumor
- Very narrow ear canal
BAHA for unilateral deafness
People with severe hearing loss in one ear and normal hearing in the other ear may have difficulty understanding speech when there’s background noise. They also have a hard time determining the source of sound. This unilateral deafness can result from viral infections, trauma, acoustic neuromas, other ear tumors and ear surgery.
The traditional approach to helping patients with unilateral deafness has been an amplification system with microphones worn in both ears and a headband connecting the two. Sound is routed from the deaf ear to the hearing ear.
The BAHA device is placed only in the deaf ear. The BAHA transmits sound from the affected ear to the normal ear through bone conduction. This results in a sensation of hearing from the deaf ear with an improved understanding of speech, especially in background noise.
Benefits of using two hearing aids
If you have significant hearing loss in both ears, your physician or audiologist may recommend two hearing aids. Two hearing aids can:
- Help you better understand speech when there's background noise. This is true even if you have hearing loss only in one ear.
- Help you hear soft sounds and softly spoken words.
- Allow you to hear on both sides of your head, making communication easier and more comfortable.
- Give you the ability to loacate the source of sound.