We have been reading a lot about baha hearing aids and a lot of folks say that the minor surgical procedure is well worth the amazing results of the The Cochlear™ Baha® 3 Sound Processor. Have you had any positive or negative experiences (including bone anchored hearing aid complications) of a baha hearing aids, cochlear bone anchored solutions, and cochlear baha bp100. Post your experiences here.
Cochlear Implant Candidacy : Who Is a Candidate?
We are always looking for information regarding Cochlear Implant Candidacy and we came across an excellent resource at the National Deaf Education Center at Gallaudet University. We highly recommend it. These are general Cochlear Implant Candidacy requirements for children from their website:
- In 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lowered the recommended age requirement to 12 months of age. While this is the FDA-recommended age, this age is not legally binding and some hospital centers are completing the procedure earlier based on expectations of improved outcomes for early implantation. In addition, specific circumstances may allow for earlier implantation. For example, if meningitis is the cause of hearing loss, it may be important for the child to be implanted as early as possible as this condition causes ossification (bone build up) in the cochlea, making it increasingly difficult to surgically insert the electrode array as time passes. Note: There may be questions related to insurance payment for the procedure if it is completed prior to 12 months of age.
- The FDA states that a child should have a bilateral (both ears), profound sensorineural hearing loss; however, increasing numbers of children with hearing loss in the severe range are being considered for cochlear implants.
- Negligible functional benefit (limited open-set speech recognition) from appropriate amplification is often mentioned as a criterion. When such measures cannot be obtained on young children, hospital centers make individual decisions regarding whether or not a child would be able to do well on such tests given documented hearing levels and traditional hearing aids. There are varied implant center requirements regarding the use of traditional hearing aids prior to implantation. Some centers waive an extended hearing aid trial requirement in the interest of time when it is clear that the child would perform better with a cochlear implant.
- A child who is failing to progress in speech, language, and listening development with traditional hearing aids based on parent reports and educational information, may be considered as a candidate.
- Family willingness to follow recommendations; enroll in speech, language, and listening therapy; and return for follow-up appointments are factors in candidacy.
- Having no medical contraindications to electrode insertion or receiver placement is a factor in candidacy.
- Educational and home environments that are supportive of cochlear implants are factors in candidacy.
This is taken from a great post by Dr. Mark Ross:
“A bone-anchored bearing aid is basically a modern development of a bone-conduction (b/c) hearing aid, something that has been with us for over 60 years. In a traditional b/c hearing aid, the user places a tight, elastic, metal band over his or her head. A bone-conduction vibrator (oscillator) is fixed to one end of the band and placed behind the ear and connected to a body-worn hearing aid via a wire cord. These oscillators are essentially the same devices still being used during routine audiometric testing. People wearing such b/c hearing aids would frequently complain of discomfort and headaches because of the constant pressure of the vibrator behind their ears.
The people who were candidates for b/c hearing aids were those whose hearing losses were primarily conductive, that is the sound was not being “conducted” through either the ear canal or middle ear because of some impediment to the transmission of the sound vibrations. This impediment could be caused by ear-canal infections (external otitis), chronic drainage from the middle eat or a congenital malformation of the outer or middie ears – anything that precluded the insertion of an earmold in the ear canal.
In these instances, it would be appropriate to fit the person with a b/c hearing aid in order to by-pass the outer and middle ears and directly vibrate the cochlea through the skull. In other words, instead of amplified sound being transmitted through the ear canal to the inner ear via a traditional hearing aid, tiny skull vibrations would deliver the same sound signals to the inner ear (the cochlea) via bone conduction. Once sound signals from either source arrive at the inner ear, they are analyzed by the auditory system in exactly the same way.
The BAHA® requires that a titanium screw be inserted into the temporal bone behind the ear. This sounds rather fearsome, but I’m informed that it is really a minor surgical procedure. After about three months, the process of “osseointegration” and healing is completed. Osseointegration refers to a process in which an organic connection occurs between implanted material (the titanium) and living tissue. This type of connection provides for a much more efficient way of transferring energy from an external vibrator through the skull to the cochlea than traditional b/c oscillators. The titanium screw terminates in an abutment into which the hearing aid can easily be attached and detached.
The hearing aid itself (there are several models, ranging from ear level to body-worn types) contains the usual hearing aid circuitry and can be modified and upgraded independent of the inserted portion which is permanent. The vibrations produced by the BAHA® are transmitted to the embedded titanium screw and passed along to the cochlea via the bone conduction pathway.
Unlike previous generations of b/c hearing aids, because of its vibratory efficiency, the BAHA® is also appropriate for people with mixed hearing losses; i.e. part conductive and part sensorineural (up to about a sensorineural component of about 45 dB). The ear-level instrument contains a direct audio input jack into which assistive listening systems or an external telephone coil can be plugged. Further information about the BAHA® can be obtained from www.entific.com.”
Great advice below from the Federal Trade Commision Website:
Sound Advice on Hearing Aids
More than 35 million Americans suffer from some degree of hearing loss. If you’re one of them, you may be shopping for an assistive device. Before you buy any product to enhance your hearing, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, says it’s important to understand the various types of hearing loss, the differences between a hearing aid and a personal sound amplification device, and what to consider when you’re shopping so you get the product that’s most appropriate for your particular kind of hearing loss.
What are the common types of hearing loss? Three types of hearing loss are the most common:
- Conductive hearing loss, which involves the outer ear, the middle ear, or both. It usually results from a blockage from earwax, fluid in the middle ear, or a punctured eardrum. Conductive hearing loss often can be corrected surgically.
- Sensorineural – or “nerve” – hearing loss, which involves damage to the inner ear. It can be caused by disease, illness, age, injury from exposure to noise or certain medicines, or a genetic disorder. Usually, sensorineural hearing loss can’t be repaired surgically, but it can be corrected with a hearing aid.
- Mixed hearing loss, which is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. Only a small portion of adult hearing problems, like ear infections and middle ear diseases, are medically or surgically treatable. If the hearing loss can’t be treated medically or surgically, a hearing aid may be beneficial.
Sound Advice: If you think you are losing your hearing, see your doctor. You may be referred to a health care professional who specializes in ear health and hearing loss.
We found this explanation from UNC’s website at http://www.med.unc.edu/earandhearing/CIs/cisvhas very helpful!
“Implants Vs Hearing Aids
Implants Vs Hearing Aids
Hearing is a complex process that originates in the cochlea; the organ of hearing that is located inside the temporal bone of the skull. The cochlea is a tiny snail shell shaped organ that is comprised of thousands of microscopic sensory cells. These sensory cells work like keys on a piano. Each sensory cell is organized and tuned to match a certain pitch, much like piano keys are. In a normal hearing person, these sensory cells respond to acoustic information in the environment and translate it into a neurological code that the brain can interpret. Understanding of sound happens in the brain; the ears are just the way in. The sensory cells have a very important role in this translation of acoustic information to a neurological code. If any of the sensory cells do not work properly, the information that arrives in the brain will be distorted and incomplete. The listener may have difficulty understanding what is said.
Speech is a complex acoustic signal. When a speech signal makes it to the cochlea, many sensory cells respond. This would be analogous to a sonata playing on a piano. Many keys are being played at once to make rich, full music or, in this case, speech. When sensory cells are damaged and/or missing, incomplete and distorted sound arrives at the brain. Think about how a piece of music would sound when played on an out of tune piano with missing keys. This is comparative to speech coming through a cochlea with damaged and missing sensory cells. When the signal arrives at the brain, the music isn’t rich, full, or even recognizable. The listener has to work even harder to understand what he or she is listening to.
Hearing aids only make sound louder. A loud sound arrives at a damaged cochlea. Louder sounds don’t overcome the damage of the sensory cells. The damage is permanent.
A cochlear implant is not a hearing aid. Rather, it is a neural prosthesis that helps to provide hearing to people with severe to profound hearing loss by bypassing the damaged sensory cells of the cochlea for individuals that cannot make use of the sound amplified by the hearing aid. The patient’s traditional means of hearing, “acoustic hearing,” is then replaced with “electric hearing” through the cochlear implant. From this point forward, a new journey in hearing…begins!”