My friend told me about these new hearing implants. What are these all about?
In the audiology field, the two most common types of hearing implants we deal with are Cochlear Implants (CIs) and Bone Anchored Hearing Systems (BAHS). Both types of implants are designed for people with specific types of hearing loss and when “traditional” acoustic hearing aids are not the best treatment approach.
A Cochlear Implant (CI) is reserved for people with sensorineural hearing loss who are not able to get sufficient benefit from acoustic hearing aids because of the extent of the damage to their inner ear(s). A CI works by stimulating the auditory nerve directly, bypassing the majority of the damaged inner ear. This way of hearing is far different than you would experience with healthy ears, or with hearing aids, because the nerve is being stimulated directly by electrical impulses.
Bone Anchored Hearing Systems (BAHS) are a type of hearing aid designed for people who have extensive damage to their middle ear (i.e. eardrum, middle ear bones) or who are completely deaf in one ear (i.e. Single-Sided Deafness). With this type of hearing aid sound gets transmitted directly to the inner ear through the patient’s skull (i.e. “bone”) via a titanium post, bypassing the damaged middle ear.
Depending on the extent of the hearing loss, an individual might be a candidate for Bimodal Hearing. This means that a cochlear implant or bone anchored hearing aid is used in conjunction with an acoustic hearing aid – allowing someone to get the benefits of both implanted hearing and natural hearing.
Following a Diagnostic Hearing Assessment you will be advised as to whether you are a potential candidate for a cochlear implant or bone anchored hearing system. Remember that not everyone with hearing loss is a candidate for “traditional” hearing aids.