Baha® Uses and Indications

  1. Conductive Hearing Loss
  2. Single-Sided Deafness

Conductive hearing loss indications include damage to the bones of hearing, eardrum, or prior surgery of the mastoid which cannot be improved with surgery or hearing aids without risk of infection.

Singe-sided deafness patients who have lost all hearing in one ear and still have reasonably good hearing in the opposite ear. Depends on transfer of energy through bone conduction to opposite normal inner ear.

Baha®, or bone conduction osseo-integrated implant, represents a significant advancement in surgical hearing restoration.

The actual implanted portion of this device is a titanium fixture which requires surgical placement in the bone behind the affected ear. After surgery the implanted portion or abutment becomes osseo-integrated to the bone of the skull due to the special properties of titanium that allow actual bone ingrowth into the metal. Once osseo-integration is completed over a period of 8-12 weeks an external detachable processor is fitted to the abutment.

The sound processor (1) vibrates with sound, transmitting these sound vibrations through the titanium abutment and implant (2) then through the bone and directly into the inner ear (3), bypassing the ear drum and bones of hearing. This direct transmission of sound brings a strong signal to the hearing nerve of the inner ear and results in marked hearing improvement.

The Baha device was developed over 40 years ago by Dr. Tjellstrom of Sweden and approved for use in the United States approximately 20 years ago for conductive hearing loss. The Baha device was approved around 2010 for those patients with profound hearing loss in one ear. Thousands of successful long term users of the device are enthusiastic about their improved Baha.

The Baha results in very marked improvement in communication ability in those with chronically draining ears, open mastoid cavities, perforations, or acquired or congenital closure of the ear canal(s) in those cases where use of conventional hearing aids or reconstructive surgery would be unsatisfactory.

Most patients find Baha to provide a high quality sound reproducibility and a great deal of satisfaction for the patient.

Baha is also available for cases where sudden or gradual nerve loss in one ear results in unilateral (single-sided) deafness. In these cases, sound signals are routed by way of the implant through the skull to the opposite ear. Studies have confirmed the benefit of Baha in these patients as well.

In Dr. Levenson’s experience, the use of the Baha in conductive hearing loss is greatly appreciated by most patients.

In single-sided deafness, however, those who work with the public, especially educators, attorneys, medical personnel, etc., derive the most cumulative benefit from using the device.

Less than 10% of patients may develop local skin reactions at the site of the implant. Generally, these patients can clear the infection with local treatment and medication. However, in relatively rare situations the external portion of the implant has to be removed in a small group of patients.

Technique of Implant

Once a patient is considered a candidate for the implant, generally by trialing a bone conduction non-implanted device, discussion regarding surgery includes the surgical technique. The majority of patients are implanted in an ambulatory surgery center. A small incision is made behind the ear, measuring less than an inch. Bone is exposed and the titanium fixture is drilled in bone. The skin is then closed around the implant with a portion of the implant extending through the skin. Much like a dental implant, the bone of the skull grows into the titanium implant and after several months, the external processor can be used and tuned for the patient.

For more information, please visit this page from the Cochlear Corporation.

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