According to NIDCD most of the hearing losses occur between 20 to 69 years of age with the greatest risk in 60 to 69 years old people. Sometimes hearing aids do not work for those having hearing problems. They, therefore, are suggested bone conduction hearing systems or cochlear implants. But many people are not aware of what they are and how they work.

This article focuses on working on bone-anchored hearing systems and covers the necessary information about them.

What is the bone conduction hearing system?

Bone conduction hearing devices are an excellent alternative to natural hearing systems for those having problems in their middle or outer ear. They are also called bone-anchored auditory implants. Unlike cochlear implants they are suitable for those who have at least one of their inner ear working correctly. The work by sending signals to the inner ear through the skull bone by creating a new pathway. The brain then interprets the signals as sound for understanding the meaning of speech. 

Bone conduction hearing aid can be used along with the traditional hearing aid on the opposite ear. There are three different types of these devices.

  • Bone conduction hearing implants which are abutment through the skin surgically.
  • Non-surgical bone conduction Hearing aids like soft headbands.
  • Bone conduction hearing implants magnetic under the skin surgically.

Who can get a bone conduction hearing aid?

People who cannot be benefited from traditional hearing aids are eligible for getting bone conduction hearing treatments. Typically, people with consequent losses can get this treatment.

  • One-sided sensorineural hearing loss resulting from damage to inner ear cochlea accidentally or naturally
  • Mixed (conductive and sensorineural) hearing loss
  • Conductive (when sound is blocked from outer to the middle for external to the inner ear) hearing loss

What are the features of bone conduction hearing systems? 

  • A bone conduction hearing aid offers effortless hearing without any surgery done.
  • They stay secure in the place and ensure optimal sound quality.
  • These aids do not put pressure on the screen and are comfortable to wear all day.
  • Suitable for all ages, especially for children aging 1 to 12 years.
  • Easy to use and hide.

How do they work?

The working of bone-anchored hearing involves two parts: A Titanium bone implant and a sound processor.

  1. The microphone picks up the sound signals and sends them to the sound processor, which converts the signals into vibrations instead of them to the embedded implant.
  2. The implant vibrates the area surrounding the inner ear to create the sensation of sound. These vibrations are then fed into the hair cells resulting in creating firing of the auditory nerve.

Bone conduction hearing aids are not a permanent treatment. In fact, they are only a small part of the hearing loss management journey. Once you are your loved one decides to have this treatment, it should only be considered a part of your journey. 

It would help if you worked together with your audiologist to help your brain make sense of the information sent by this system. You can not rely on these systems throughout your life to hear normally; instead, they are better options for those awaiting hearing surgeries.

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