The BAHA (Bone Anchored Hearing Aid) can be of tremendous benefit to certain types of hearing loss.
The BAHA device consists of a surgically implanted titanium fixture behind the ear, onto which clips a small microphone/sound processor. Sound is conducted through the bone of the skull to the inner ear fluids directly, bypassing the external and middle ear.
There are two situations where this is used. One is conductive hearing loss
in patients who would not do well with a conventional hearing aid. This includes patients who have had previous ear surgery or who are prone to chronic ear infections.
Another situation is for patients who are deaf in one ear with normal or near-normal hearing in the other ear. This is termed “single-sided deafness.” This can occur in patients who have had sudden sensorineural hearing loss that has not recovered, tumors of the hearing nerve, or congenital single-sided deafness. Single sided deafness creates several challenges: Understanding people speaking in a noisy environment is significantly worse with one ear compared to two; sounds coming to the deaf side cannot be heard because of the “head shadow” that a deaf ear creates; and localizing sounds is nearly impossible with only one ear.
In this situation the BAHA routes sound from the bad ear through the bone of the skull to the good ear, improving all of the challenges that single-sided deafness creates. The procedure to implant the fixture is outpatient surgery done under either local or general anesthesia.
Post Discharge Instructions
What might you expect following surgery?
Dizziness may occur following surgery. Swelling in the inner ear usually causes this. You may not notice the dizziness until 2-3 days following surgery. This is when the swelling is the greatest. If you are not bleeding, do not have gastric ulcers, and are not allergic to ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin) you may take 2- 200 mg tablets every 4-6 hours. This will help the swelling as well as ease any pain. Avoid sudden movements; stand up slowly.
Drainage or discharge
A bloody or watery discharge is expected during the healing process. Call Dr. Eisen’s office for a yellow or green discharge or excessive discharge. Discharge with foul odor should also be reported.
You will be given a prescription for a pain medication, which may be taken for the first several days after surgery. Mild, intermittent pain is not unusual during the first 2 weeks after surgery. Pain above or in front of the ear is common when chewing. If you have persistent ear pain not relieved by a regular dose of Tylenol or Advil after the first several days, call your doctor’s office.
In case of emergency, call the office at (860) 493-1950