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What is Baha?

baha Implants

The Baha® system utilizes your body's natural ability to conduct sound. Bone, like air, can conduct sound vibrations. For people with hearing loss, this provides another pathway to perceive sound.

Typical hearing aids rely on air conduction and a functioning middle ear. In cases where the middle ear function may be blocked, damaged or occluded, the Baha system may be a better option as it bypasses the middle ear altogether. Instead, sound is sent around the damaged or problematic area, naturally stimulating the cochlea through bone conduction. Once the cochlea receives these sound vibrations, the organ 'hears' in the same manner as through air conduction; the sound is converted into neural signals and is transferred to the brain, allowing a Baha recipient to perceive sound.

The Baha® system

baha Implants
  • A sound processor picks up sound vibrations.

  • An abutment is attached to the sound processor and the implant. The abutment transfers the sound vibrations from the processor to the implant.

  • A small titanium implant is placed in the bone behind the ear where it fuses with the living bone. This process is called osseointegration. The implant transfers the sound vibrations to the functioning cochlea.

What does the sound processor look like?

baha Implants

The Baha Sound Processor snaps on to the abutment. The processor is small, discreet and is available in a variety of colors. The volume controls are conveniently located for easy adjustments.

Baha system Diagram

baha Implants
  • (1) Baha Sound Processor

  • (2) Abutment

  • (3) Titanium Implant

More about Osseointegration : The Titanium is accepted by the human body and forms a bond with surrounding bone. This is a process he termed "osseointegration," which takes place as the titanium implant integrates and forms a permanent structure with the living bone.

What are the benefits?

The Baha® system is a unique treatment for hearing impairment and may provide the best treatment option for many individuals with

  • Conductive hearing loss - congenital atresia or chronic ear disease
  • Mixed hearing loss
  • Single Sided Deafness (SSD™)

eg. From birth, Following accidents/ viral infections/failed surgery

Baha Benefits Include :

  • The Baha does not contain any in-ear components, which allows the recipient to benefit from a free ear canal. (This may help reduce the likelihood of ear infections or irritations).
  • Direct Bone Conduction allows the recipient to hear clear and natural sound.
  • Potential recipients can easily test the Baha so that they can experience the benefits before they have surgery.
  • The Baha is comfortable to wear; recipients say that they "forget that it is on."
  • The Baha is in use by 30,000 individuals around the world. The outcomes are predictable and well documented.
  • The Baha procedure is reversible and does not damage or any way harm a recipient's residual hearing. Additionally, the Baha system does not preclude any benefits from future hearing technological advances by compromising nerve sensitivity.

The Problem :

Ear infections or irritations in the middle or outer ear that are made worse when a hearing device mold is worn. Often, hearing aids can aggravate ear infections or skin sensitivity due to the required physical contact with the skin to hold the device in place. These individuals may experience :

  • Chronic ear infections
  • Uncomfortable in-ear devices

The Baha System Benefit :

The Baha system is not worn in the ear, but is instead snapped on to an abutment, leaving the device free from contact with the skin :

  • Comfortable and unobtrusive to wear. Many wearers report that they "forget that it is on".
  • Gives ear infections a better chance to resolve: because the device does not fit within the ear canal, the device will not aggravate infections or cause new infections.

Criteria for Baha: is it right for me ?

For thousands of people worldwide, the Baha® system is the treatment of choice. Generally, the Baha system is recommended for three different types of hearing loss with specific audiological indications :

  • Conductive hearing loss - congenital atresia or chronic ear disease
  • Mixed hearing loss
  • Single Sided Deafness (SSD™)

Causes of hearing losses can be congenital (present at birth) or acquired, and include :

  • Malformation of the ear canal or middle ear
  • Infection of the ear canal resulting in chronic draining ears
  • Chronic otitis media
  • Congenital atresia
  • Cholesteatoma
  • Middle ear dysfunction/disease
  • External otitis

Treatable Conditions

1. Conductive or mixed hearing loss

A conductive loss may be caused by a congenital or other acquired malformation of the middle or external ear resulting in a missing or incomplete ear canal (atresia).
Causes of hearing losses can be congenital (present at birth) or acquired, and include :

  • Malformation of the ear canal or middle ear
  • Infection of the ear canal resulting in chronic draining ears

Traditionally, people with this type of hearing loss have been offered a conventional bone conducting hearing aid. These are either held on the head using a steel spring headband, or included in the frame of a pair of glasses. Traditional bone conductors have several disadvantages. The sound quality is poor as the skin acts as a barrier for the sound to travel to the inner ear. They can be uncomfortable, causing pain and headaches due to the constant pressure of the headband. They are also cumbersome, obtrusive and insecure.

Baha solution for conductive or mixed hearing loss

The Baha sound processor is attached to a small implant placed in the bone behind the ear, transferring sound directly to the cochlea without involving the ear canal. This system offers significantly better sound quality than that of a traditional bone conductor, as the sound is transferred directly to the bone, without having to first travel through the skin, which reduces clarity and volume.
The Baha sound processor works without pressure on the skin avoiding the headaches and soreness associated with the conventional bone conductor. Baha offers excellent wearing comfort and a better aesthetic result.

2. Single Sided Deafness (SSD™)

In the U.S. alone, over 60,000 people per year become victims of SSD™ through sudden deafness caused by :

  • Viral Infections
  • Meniere's disease
  • Trauma
  • Measles
  • Chicken pox
  • Acoustic neuroma (often through surgical intervention)

Most people inflicted by a form of SSD have been left without an adequate hearing solution. To date the only possible solution has been a traditional CROS (contralateral routing of signal) hearing aid. As a treatment option, CROS aids are rarely favoured by physicians or patients. For people that suffer from SSD, the limitations to lifestyle are often significant. Simple everyday activities, such as those listed below, often become stressful and challenging:

  • Crossing the street
  • Attending professional meetings
  • Going to restaurants
  • Interacting with friends and family at social gatherings
  • Bicycling
  • Jogging
  • Driving a car

In group situations loud sounds become overwhelming and the simplest things in life can become major obstacles. In many cases this leads to social and professional isolation.

The Baha solution for SSD

Baha, an FDA cleared solution for SSD, provides a completely unique benefit. The Baha device is placed on the deaf side behind the ear, and transfers sound through bone conduction, stimulating the cochlea of the normal hearing ear. The Baha system provides the opportunity to hear and understand sounds from both sides where previously the head shadow effect totally masked certain sounds. According to patients, this ultimately results in the sensation of hearing sound from the deaf side.