Kennedy's BAHA Experience
After wearing Widex Digital Senso Hearing Aids from about the age of 9 months until five years, we decided to try a bone conduction aid. This was brought on because of the way Kennedy loved the bone conduction testing in the audiology booth and because she did better on bone conduction testing. Also, she lost about 50dB of hearing because of recurrent ear infections and we wanted to get those molds out of her ears to see if it would make a difference.
It was suggested to us by the audiology team that we try a BAHA - Bone Anchored Hearing Aid. Our audiologist called the Entific company and we got a loaner "softband" BAHA, which fits onto the child's head like a stretchy hairband with the BAHA attached. You can see photos of the BAHA Softband here. Kennedy tried it and immediately loved it - she wore that band for almost three years. The infections stopped, she seemed to be hearing better and she now refused to put the other aids in her ears at all.
We began exploring the option of having the BAHA implanted; it gives a more stable and consistent sound quality when directly implanted and we knew the softband wouldn't work forever. We travelled to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto for the consultations and surgery because they had many years of experience doing BAHA implants. She also had her open heart surgery there in March of 2004, so the anesthetic department was also well aware of her anesthetic history. After our initial consultation, there were two surgeries involved in the BAHA process; implantation of the screw in June of 2005 and the abutment attached in February of 2006. The fitting of the actual implant BAHA Divino (digital BAHA) took place one month later in March and she's been wearing it ever since.
Here is how the BAHA works, information and photo from the Entific website:
"A small titanium fixture is implanted in the bone behind the ear where it osseointegrates or bonds to the living bone. After a healing period a percutaneous (through the skin) abutment is attached to the fixture. The sound processor can then be connected and disconnected at will. The Baha sound processor transmits sound directly via the titanium fixture to the inner ear. The procedure is simple, safe and well-established.
The Baha sound processor simply ‘snaps’ into the abutment which is attached to the fixture in the bone. Sound is transmitted directly via the bone to the inner ear."
Here are some photos from our whole BAHA experience; I have left these a little larger so you can actually see the abutment better:
This is what the Softband looked like on her head
This is shortly after the first stage of surgery, there was a healing cap left on for a 7-10 days post-op
This is what the abutment looks like on her head now, with the BAHA Divino off. It looks like a little "snap" that the hearing aid just snaps onto.
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