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There may be instances in which the sound conducting mechanism of the middle and/or external ear cannot be reconstructed. In this situation, a bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA) may provide an alternative. A titanium osteointegrated implant is placed in the bone behind the ear. The procedure may be performed under general or local anesthesia as an outpatient. The integration of the implant into the bone requires three to five months, depending on the age of the individual. Once this occurs a speech processor is placed on the implant. This allows sound to be directly conducted to the inner ear, bypassing the conductive component of the ear.
When an individual has a profound hearing loss in one ear, with normal or near normal hearing on the other side, a conventional hearing aid will provide no benefit. An alternative is placement of a bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA). With the loss of the ability to discriminate sound in the affected ear, it is not possible to restore hearing on that side. In this situation the idea of the BAHA is to take sound from the affected side and vibrate it across the skull to the better hearing ear. The device allows for significant improvement in sound awareness and may in some instances also improve sound localization.
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