There are basically two therapy options available at our Stephenville and Brownwood clinics for patients deaf in one ear or who have serious hearing loss in one ear - and cannot be helped by a traditional hearing aid. A CROS (Contralateral Routing of Signal) hearing aid is the first available option, which has the appearance of a conventional hearing aid but catches sound traveling to the poor ear and passes it to a hearing device on the ear that is good. Older CROS aids that used to be on the market weren't very helpful. In recent years however, a modern CROS hearing aid has become available that works really well. The other choice for patients to consider is a bone anchored hearing device described next.
How Bone Anchored Hearing Aids Work
Such as air, our bones are able to produce sound vibrations. To patients affected with single side hearing loss, bone anchored hearing aids establish another passageway for them to interpret sound. Standard hearing devices depend on air conductance. Bone anchored hearing aids take sound and transmit it through the skull to the stronger hearing ear. BAHA devices can also be administered to patients with an unformed ear canal, or who suffer with other ear canal/outer ear complications that affect their hearing.
- For hearing patients with single side deafness in one ear, a bone conduction device is able to take sounds that enter into the weak ear, and transmit them to the healthy ear. This method improves recognition of events that occur on either side of the head, and makes comprehending speech more effortless. The result is that patients who have single-sided deafness can recover 360-degree perception of sound.
- A preop testing band may be attached to the BAHA so hearing patients may experiment with the sound processor in varying settings like home, or at work, etc..., before making a commitment to have surgery.
- With a bone anchored hearing aid the ear canal remains fully open. For patients that experience chronic ear infections or irritation, the BAHA may provide greater comfort and convenience.
Minimally Invasive Procedure
To place a bone anchored hearing device only requires a minimally invasive
surgical operation that is safe and not complicated. The procedure doesn't take much time and no risk is
involved of having your ears or hearing damaged.
A small titanium implant is surgically placed in the bone behind the patient's ear. Following the minimally invasive operation, we allow the surrounding bone tissue time to bind the titanium implant to itself - which is a process referred to as osseointegration. It is simple to attach and detach the hearing device from the implant, after full integration takes place.