Bone conduction implants

Did you know that not all sound we hear travels through the ear canal? Some sound is conducted through the bone of the skull directly to the cochlea (inner ear).

Conventional hearing aids deliver processed and amplified sound to the outer ear, and then the sound travels along the body’s auditory system (outer, middle and inner ear) and ultimately to the brain where it is processed and perceived as sound.

For people with untreatable outer or middle ear problems, however, sound may not be able to pass through the outer or middle ear well and conventional hearing aids provide limited benefit.

People with untreatable outer and middle ear problems, but a functioning cochlea, can benefit from Bone Conduction Implants (also known as Bone Anchored Hearing Aids). This system enhances the natural process of sound being transferred directly to the cochlea via the bone of the skull, effectively bypassing the outer and middle ear.

Bone conduction implants are also suitable in some cases of single sided deafness.

HOW IT WORKS

Bone Conduction Implants consist of three key components:

(1)   an external sound processor

(2)   a surgically inserted abutment or magnetic connection in the bone behind the ear

(3)   a surgically inserted implant in the bone behind the ear

Mackay Hearing - Bone Anchored Hearing Aid 7

The external processor captures soundwaves in the air. The processor then turns the sound into vibrations and sends them through the abutment or magnetic connection to the small implant. The implant then transmits the vibrations through the bone directly to the inner ear.

The inner ear then uses it’s natural process of turning the sound vibrations into nerve impulses which are sent to the brain to be interpreted as sound.

TYPES OF BONE CONDUCTION IMPLANTS

There are a number of types of Bone Conduction Implants with differing configurations, design and even colours.

The device that is suitable for you will depend on the specific attributes of your hearing loss.

Mackay Hearing - Bone Anchored Hearing Aid 9

FITTING PROCESS

While every individual case is different, the fundamental steps of having a Bone Conduction Implant are generally as follows:

(1)  Hearing Test

A comprehensive diagnostic hearing assessment is undertaken by Mackay Hearing’s experienced clinicians to determine the type and extent of hearing loss and your potential candidacy for a Bone Conduction Implant will be discussed. If you are a candidate, a trial of a temporary (soft band) device will be arranged. If the trial is a success, a referral to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist will be issued.

(2)  Surgery

The ENT Specialist will consider whether you are medically suitable for the system and, if so, surgically insert the implant and abutment or magnetic connection.

(3)  Programming

Once the ENT Specialist has given clearance that the surgery area has adequately healed, Mackay Hearing’s Audiologist will fit and program the external sound processor.

(4)  Ongoing support

Ongoing troubleshooting, maintenance and support will be provided by Mackay Hearing’s Audiologist.

If you would like further information or wish to make an appointment, please contact our friendly local staff directly on (07) 4952 4649, email us at [email protected], or leave us a message on our website.

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