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Welcome to the Pediatric Audiology Department at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center.

Commonly Asked Questions About Baha
Conditions Treated By Baha

Commonly Asked Questions About Baha

 What is a Baha?

Children who are born with single sided deafness (SSD), outer ear problems, or who acquire middle ear problems, can still benefit from bilateral hearing. Since the ability to hear is a vital part of early development and the learning process, it’s important to stimulate sound for speech and language as early as possible. BAHA is a surgically implantable system for treatment of hearing loss that works through direct bone conduction. It is used to help people who suffer from chronic ear infections, atresia, and SSD. The BAHA system is surgically placed behind the non-functioning ear, and allows sound to be conducted through bone,. 

 How does a Baha work?

The Baha consists of three parts: a sounds processor, an abutment, and small titanium implant. The system works by collecting sound through the microphone on the sound processor, bypassing the outer and middle ear system, and enhancing the sound into natural bone vibrations to stimulate the nerve fibers of the inner ear. This is a minor surgery in which a titanium implant is placed behind the ear. Over time, the implant naturally integrates with the skull bone. After approximately three to six months, the bone is integrated, and the Baha device can be placed on the external abutment. The sound processor transmits sound vibrations through the external abutment to the titanium implant. This vibration is what allows hearing to the non-functioning ear.

 Who is a candidate for a Baha?

People who suffer from conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss, or single sided deafness (SSD) are potential candidates for the Baha system.

 Children and Bahas

The Baha device is currently available for any child or adult. Due to the softer bone and thinner skulls of children when compared to that of adults, the FDA has not approved the Baha implant procedure for children less than 5 years of age. Babies can, however, be fitted with the Baha sound processor and an external attachment. This Baha Softband is an elastic band that is comfortably placed around a baby’s head, with a plastic snap to keep the Baha in place.

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Conditions Treated by Baha

 Single Sided Deafness (SSD)

Single sided deafness can be present at birth, happen suddenly or progress throughout life. Those affected with SSD are left without adequate hearing. SSD can cause many concerns, including difficulty understanding speech in the presence of background noise, and localization issues (inability to decide where a sound is coming from).

The Baha system can assist to eliminate these issues involving SSD. It is placed on the non-functioning ear, transfers sound through your child’s bones (bone conduction), and stimulates the cochlea of the normal hearing ear. This process results in the sensation of hearing from the non-functioning ear.

Causes of SSD:

- Viral/bacterial infections (ex: Meningitis)

- Trauma

- Sudden deafness

- Congenital (present at birth)

 Conductive/Mixed hearing loss

Conductive/Mixed hearing loss can be a result of chronic ear infection, malformation of the external ear (atresia/microtia), ear canal, or middle ear, or malformation/fixation of the middle ear bones.

The Baha system helps resolve these issues by bypassing the ear canal and middle ear, and enhancing the sound quality so clarity and volume are maintained. Conventional hearing aids may not be an option due to blockage of the ear canal/drainage and risk of infection (resulting in malfunction of the hearing aid).


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