While hearing aids can help most people with hearing loss, they are not for everyone. Some have a specific type of hearing loss that requires a bone anchored hearing aid to be surgically implanted to order to provide the amplification they need.
Who Can Benefit from These Devices?
Those who qualify for these devices must have at least one functioning inner ear. The best candidates will have severe conductive hearing loss, meaning their outer or middle ear does not transmit sound correctly. Those with profound hearing loss in just a single ear, known as single side deafness, can benefit as well.
Those with extreme cases of chronic ear infections or allergies whose hearing does not respond well to hearing aids may also be candidates.
How Does a Bone Anchored Device Work?
A traditional hearing aid amplifies sounds from the environment and passed that information into the ear, where it moves through the middle and inner ear before reaching the brain.
Bone anchored devices bypass damage in the outer or middle ear that could prevent sound from being transmitted and directly stimulates the inner ear. Sound vibrations are passed through the bones in the skull.
There are two parts to a bone anchored hearing aid:
- the titanium implant
- the external sound processor
The sound processor contains an external microphone that picks up sounds and converts them into vibrations. The vibrations are sent to the implant, which vibrates within the bone. The soundwave vibrations travel to the inner ear where the hair cells convert them to electronic signals that get sent through the auditory nerve to the brain.
What Does the Surgery Require?
A bone anchored device requires an outpatient surgical procedure to place the titanium implant into the mastoid bone behind the ear. The implant had a small abutment that sticks out of the skin in order to attach the external device. The sound processor can be attached with a magnet or clip.
The implant integrates with the bone over time. With such a small incision needed, the skin and hair follicles around the implant remain intact.
Once the skull and skin have healed, which can take anywhere from three weeks to three months, the external device can be connected. Your audiologist will program the device to match your degree of hearing loss before turning it on.
Like a traditional hearing aid, there is some getting used to. But with time you will adjust.
To learn more about the type of hearing devices used to treat hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with an audiologist, contact the experts at Elk Grove Hearing Care today.