A bone anchored hearing device relies on direct bone conduction to transmit sound. This surgically implanted device bypasses the auditory canal and middle ear, utilizing bones as a pathway for sound to reach the middle ear. It’s an alternative for people with chronic ear infections, congenital external auditory canal atresia and single-sided deafness. These patients usually do not benefit from conventional hearing aids.
How Do Bone Anchored Hearing Devices Work?
In a person with normal hearing, sound enters the external ear and travels down the ear canal through the middle ear to the cochlea, or inner ear. This process is called air conduction.
For individuals with certain types of hearing loss, sound is unable to travel down these pathways. The bone anchored hearing device system takes advantage of the bones’ natural conductive abilities by sending sound vibrations directly to your inner ear, bypassing the auditory canal and middle ear completely.
Who Can Benefit from a Bone Anchored Hearing Device?
Candidates for bone anchored hearing devices are typically patients with conductive and mixed hearing losses, or those with unilateral (single-sided) hearing loss.
If you experience chronic ear infections that do not respond to treatment, you may find the device particularly beneficial. Conventional hearing aids can aggravate the condition due to humidity and moisture building up in the ear canals. Those with congenital ear defects (such as ear canals that are narrow or absent) are good candidates, as well.