Bone Anchored Hearing Aid

Over the years, I have dealt with several patients with varying degrees of hearing loss. Delving right into what they require without explaining what it is or why they need hearing aids makes my work all the more difficult.

If you are reading this article, then you are probably here because you would like to understand some or all of the following:

  • What is a bone anchored hearing aid?
  • How does it work?
  • Why is it any different from conventional hearing aids?
  • What is the cost of a bone anchored hearing aid?

These are the questions that I find are most crucial to my patients. They usually ask them primarily on their first visit. So let us jump right in.

What is a bone anchored hearing aid?

Also abbreviated as BAHA, the bone anchored hearing aid is a device that assists people with hearing loss. It is usually surgically implanted as opposed to being placed behind the ear or inside the ear.

While regular hearing aids will help patients with hearing loss to hear better through air conduction, the BAHA works differently.

It triggers the cochlea in an intricate process where sound waves are transmitted through our patient’s skull (the bone conduction bit). This is essentially a shortcut because the outer and middle parts of the ear are not involved in the hearing process.

From the cochlea, the brain receives information which by now has been transformed into neural signals and so can be recognized as sound.

Assistive listening devices – what are they?

Now that we have a clearer understanding of what bone anchored hearing aids are, I would like us to diverge somewhat and discuss assistive listening devices.

These are sometimes also called assistive listening systems or ALSs for short. Before I go any further, I would like to explain that hearing is not a black and white phenomenon. You cannot say one is either deaf or not deaf and nothing in between.

Unknown to many, one person can actually have varying degrees of hearing in two ears. Assistive listening devices therefore come in very handy for people who use hearing aids. Their basic function is to amplify sound (mostly speech) and sieve out the background noise which you do not need. We refer to this as the ‘speech: noise’ ratio.

Before we recommend or come up with solutions for people who suffer from hearing loss, we carry out a myriad of tests. The ear is a delicate organ that needs to be handled with a lot of care. Extensive research now informs us that people with hearing loss only need a volume increase  to put it simply, of between 15 and 20 decibels in order to be able to hear like you and I.

What an assistive listening device does is help achieve this without interfering with other people in the vicinity. They are used for all degrees of hearing loss and actually boost the performance of other hearing aid products in the market.

Who Is a Hearing Instrument Specialist?

Before you get any type of hearing aid, we always do some type of evaluation to find out what the degree of your hearing loss is. This work is done by one of our hearing instrument specialists. They are also referred to as hearing aid specialists.

Hearing instrument specialists are not to be confused for Ear Nose and Throat doctors or audiologists. While some of their preliminary checks may overlap, the latter handle more complex hearing disorders that require thorough examination.

Here are some basic facts about hearing instrument specialists:

  • They are neither ENT specialists nor audiologists
  • They administer non-complex tests for instance tone screenings
  • They, on occasion, repair damaged hearing aids
  • They work hand in hand with patients to ensure devices fit and work properly
  • They maintain and calibrate the instruments used for testing hearing loss

How Much Does Hearing Aids Cost

The cost of hearing aids is an issue that we come across daily. Patients struggle to afford these much needed devices primarily because of the costs involved at the testing stage then at the point of the purchase of the aid.

Even the cheapest hearing aids may have a seemingly high price tag for the regular person. Needless to say, the best rated hearing aids are beyond reach for many more people. The price is usually a compound figure for:

  • Hearing test
  • Consultation services
  • Preliminary fitting
  • Any post fitting adjustments
  • Routine cleaning
  • Warranty (duration varies). Warranty might include one replacement and all repairs.
  • Batteries (not all times)

As you can see, this bundled pricing is still quite hefty for the regular citizen. We are currently undertaking research to lessen the burden of purchasing hearing aids. Our target area is the preliminary testing and screening stage. If this part could be done independently by computer programs, the cost of hearing aids would be much lower.

Consumer Reports Hearing Aids – Hearing Aids Needs

An article highlighted on consumer reports indicates that hearing loss is a health problem that is likely to stay with us for a long time to come. The world is changing rapidly and so are we.

The loud noises around us not only affect our hearing but our cardiovascular functions as well. CDC, in a recent study, was able to prove that most people with hypertension and high cholesterol were frequently exposed to high decibels around them daily.

Children who lived and spent time in quieter places were found to perform much better in class than those who lived in noisy neighborhoods and attended schools in noisy areas.

The only way to protect your hearing and stay safe from heart disease caused by high decibels is by using hearing aids. You can control your environment without disrupting the comfort of the people around you using these aids. Check our website for more information on the options we have for you and speak to one of our experts today.

 

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