Hearing Aid Dispensing
Implantable and Semi-Implantable Hearing Aids
Implantable and semi-implantable hearing aids are helpful options for patients with moderate to severe hearing loss who have been unhappy with a traditional hearing aid. These devices are surgically placed within the middle ear and affixed to the bone structure. This allows for direct transmission of sounds to the bones involved with hearing, leading straight to the cochlea and nerves that send sound messages to the brain. Feedback is reduced and speech sounds are often much more clearly received.
Implantable hearing aids are fully internal devices, with a processor implanted behind the outer ear and a transducer placed within the middle ear. Semi-implantable hearing aids consist of an implanted portion as well as a portion that remains outside the body. The external part of a semi-implantable hearing aid is very small and is designed to be worn behind the ear for concealment purposes.
The implantation procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, same day surgery. The device will be custom programmed to maximize the patient’s hearing and take all personal preferences into account. Patients will be able to control and make adjustments to the implanted hearing aid as necessary.
BAHA Bone Anchored Hearing Aid
A bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA) is an implantable osteointegrated device used to improve hearing in patients with certain types of hearing loss by stimulating the inner ear through the bone. Approved by the FDA since 1996, this type of hearing aid has been used successfully across the world for over 30 years, providing effective relief for patients of all ages. The BAHA implant is fully covered by insurance.
BAHAs can be used to improve hearing for patients with less severe cases of conductive or mixed hearing impairment. This type of device is ideal for patients who are not candidates for regular hearing aids, because of a physical deformity, frequent ear infections and narrow ear canals. Made up of three different parts, including a titanium screw, a button-like holder (abutment) and the actual hearing aid, a BAHA is surgically implanted behind the ear through a minimally invasive procedure.
This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, using local or general anesthesia. Patients can return home the same day as their procedure. For very youmg children a two stage procedure is performed. During the initial procedure, only the titanium screw is implanted, while the abutement is attached during a second procedure three to six months later. This ensures that the titanium becomes integrated into the bone for long-lasting correction with no need for additional treatment.
Cochlear implants are small, electronic devices used to correct hearing loss in those that are completely deaf or severely hard-of-hearing. The device is implanted into the inner ear and controlled by a piece outside the ear. While a cochlear implant does not restore normal hearing, it helps deaf people interpret the sounds around them and bypass the damaged parts of the ear. The cochlear implant is fully covered by insurance.
Unlike a hearing aid which simply amplifies sounds, cochlear implants are made up of several parts that are able to directly reach the auditory nerve and send sound signals to the brain. The cochlear implant is made up of a microphone, speech processor, transmitter, receiver and electrode array.
Cochlear implants can benefit children and adults alike, as long as they are over 12 months old. Thousands of Americans receive implants each year. The device is implanted surgically under general anesthesia. The signal processor, microphone and transmitter are placed about a month after, at which time you will be taught how to interpret the new sounds.
The success of cochlear implants varies depending on individual factors such as how long a person has been deaf, how many nerve fibers they have left and their motivation to hear. Most people benefit to some degree from cochlear implants. Further technological advances will most likely increase their effectiveness in years to come, allowing deaf people to better take in their surroundings and speak with others.