Bone Anchored Hearing Aids

The external bone conduction hearing aid

When there are deformities of the ear a hearing aid and bone conduction can be used in conjunction. Sometimes when there is a partial or total blockage in the ear canal, the hearing aid cannot sit correctly, which affects its efficiency. The blocked ear needs to be fitted with an oscillator behind the mastoid bone and this provides cranial vibration. A microphone receives the sound and then converts it to vibration, which can be picked up by the oscillator, which vibrates to the amplitude and frequency of the input sound.

The bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA)

The bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) works on the same principles as the external bone anchored hearing aid. Though it has a more direct approach to vibrating the skull, it is actually attached to the mastoid bone, which is connected directly to the oscillator. The skin is capable of absorbing the vibration and this makes the transmission much clearer, which increases the power of the cochlear to receive the sound. Bones do not transmit high frequency sounds well, but because the skin does the frequency range is broadened.
The increased range brings it to 15 dB and all human speech falls within this range so it is a very effective way of hearing. The main disadvantage is that it does have to be surgically installed and it does leave a bolt sticking out of the neck.

Bone conduction can be used in conjunction with air conduction to create a more complete and fuller sound. However, the main advantage of bone conduction is the sound itself is coming from the skull rather than an external source, and this means that the sound is not complicated with external noise distractions.

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