Our ears are the gateway to speech, music and the sounds of nature but they also bring damaging noise into our lives and can cause us pain and problems. Hearing loss increases with age and is caused by everyday things like lawn mowers, road construction, and even loud TV or radio broadcasts — all as the various parts of the ear become less responsive. Further, ear infections that inflame the middle ear because of bacteria from fluid build-up behind the eardrum can not only be painful but also present other complications. Our clinic is dedicated to helping you find the exact problem you have and then crafting a solution.
The research at the government-funded National Institutes of Health and other public-private and university programs is constantly yielding new insight into these age-old problems. New technology and tools are also always in development. Our commitment to you is to keep you in-the-know about the latest developments in all of the ear-related health areas. Once you feel you’ve learned what you can here, our specialists would love to meet with you and listen to your unique symptoms.
A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that is implanted surgically in patients with severe hearing loss or those who are profoundly deaf. Unlike traditional hearing aids, which amplifies sound, a cochlear implant delivers electrical stimulation directly to the auditory nerve.
The brain interprets these signals as sound, and enables a patient to recognize speech.
How It Works
Cochlear implants consist of four separate components. Externally, there is a microphone to pick up sounds; a speech processor to convert those sounds to digital signals; and a transmitter to send the coded audio signals to the receiver, located internally behind the ear. The receiver relays those signals to the brain via the auditory nerve. Those with strongly developed language and communication skills, who lost their hearing later in life, and younger patients still in their formative learning years, benefit most from cochlear implants.
Cochlear implants are custom programmed for each patient, depending upon their auditory response to electrical stimuli. Known as “mapping,” this procedure establishes different threshold (T) and comfort (C or M) levels so electrode settings can be adjusted to optimize sound quality.
Regular mapping sessions are important to ensure the cochlear implant is always tuned to the patient’s specific needs. Over time, your threshold levels evolve, due to adaptation (becoming accustomed to a signal so that it no longer sounds loud enough), and the growth of tissue in and around the implanted device. Obtaining new measurements often will ensure the cochlear implant is working optimally.
In patients who are deaf in one ear or have a severe hearing loss in one ear that isn’t helped by a traditional hearing aid, there are 2 options available for treatment. The first option is a CROS (Contralateral Routing of Signal) hearing aid. It looks like a traditional hearing aid. However, it picks up sound going to the bad ear and transfers the sound to a hearing device on the good ear. The second option is a bone anchored hearing device, which is described below.
How Do Bone Anchored Hearing Devices work?
Bones, like air, conduct sound vibrations. For those with single-sided hearing loss, these devices provide another pathway to perceive sound. Typically hearing aids rely on air conduction. With bone anchored hearing devices sound is transmitted through the skull to the better hearing ear. The Baha device is ideal for patients with single-sided deafness, chronic middle ear conditions, and those who suffer from hearing loss caused by ear canal/outer ear issues.
- In patients with single-sided deafness a bone conduction system can pick up sounds coming to the bad ear and transfer them to the good ear. This process increases awareness of what is happening on both sides of the head, and it makes it easier to understand speech. Thus, patients with single-sided deafness can regain 360-degree sound awareness.
- The bone anchored device can be connected to a test band preop, which allows patients to try the sound processor in different environments such as at home, at work etc. prior to committing to surgery.
- With a bone anchored device the ear canal is kept completely open. This device may be more comfortable and less problematic if patients suffer from chronic ear drainage.
Safe and Simple Procedure
The surgical procedure to have a bone anchored hearing device placed is safe and simple. It doesn’t take very long, and there is no risk of damage to the ear or hearing.
The procedure involves surgically placing a small titanium implant in the bone behind the ear. After the simple procedure, the implant is given time to bond with the surrounding bone tissue – a process known as osseointegration. Once proper integration occurs, the listening device can be attached and detached from the implant easily.
Words From Users
After testing the Baha, I immediately decided to go for it. Once the Baha was fitted, I noticed an instant improvement in my hearing. I also noticed a real difference when shopping. Despite the music and lots of other sounds, I can hear everything effortlessly. I am so happy with a Baha – it has improved my quality of life. – Ans van de Wetering
What a change – wow!
The quality of sound produced by this device is clear and useful to me even in noisy environments. The Baha is so easy to use I often forget it is attached.- Doug Metz
Listening used to take a lot of energy. With the Baha, group conversations are so much easier. I can hear where the sound is coming from and don’t look at the wrong person any more. I can also hear all the little things in life, that others often take for granted. – Vreni Cornelissen
It is not an exaggeration to say that my use of Baha over the past few months has given me a glimpse of what my life could have been like. – Jennifer Andrew