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Home > Medical Services > Ear, Nose & Throat > Ear Care > Implantable & Advanced Hearing Devices > Auditory Osseointegrated Device (BAHA)
Auditory Osseointegrated Devices (AOD) are a type of hearing device used to transmit sound and speech information directly to the inner ear. Sometimes referred to as “BAHAs”, these devices utilize an external processor and an implanted abutment (age 5 years and older) or may also be worn on a soft headband that makes contact with the head.
Auditory Osseointegrated Devices consist of a processor and either a soft band headband or an abutment. The processor consists of a microphone, a computer chip and a driver that transmits sound energy into vibrations. The microphone on the processor picks up sound in the environment and sends the information to the computer chip. This information is transformed into vibrations. The vibratory information is transmitted to the inner ear via the implanted abutment or through the connector on the headband that sits against the skin.
Auditory Osseointegrated Devices are an option for those with significant conductive hearing loss, single-sided deafness and some individuals with mixed hearing losses that are unable to wear traditional hearing aids. Excellent candidates may be individuals with absent or very small outer ears that cannot support the weight of a traditional hearing aid, those with absent ear canals or very narrow ear canals, or individuals with missing or malformed middle ear bones. Other individuals who have a history of chronic ear drainage or infection, or history of cholesteatoma may also benefit.
Auditory Osseointegrated Devices are also an option for those with complete hearing loss in one ear, but normal to near normal hearing in their opposite ear. For those with single-sided deafness, the processor is worn on the side with complete hearing loss. The information is transmitted from the side with complete hearing loss to the normal hearing inner ear on the opposite side. While this does not restore normal hearing in the ear with complete hearing loss, it does provide some sound awareness on the side with significant hearing loss.
Potential candidates for Auditory Osseointegrated Devices are evaluated by completing a hearing evaluation and meeting with a physician. The hearing test includes bone conduction testing to determine how the inner ear responds to sound. All potential candidates will meet with an audiologist for a demonstration appointment of the Auditory Osseointegrated Device. It is recommended that children also complete a trial of the device to determine if they would benefit.
Surgical placement of the implant abutment is an option for children and adults ages 5 years and older. Some also choose to wear the device on a headband only without proceeding with surgery. A discussion with the physician and audiologist will help to determine which option would be most appropriate.