A bone-anchored hearing aid is a hearing device that relies on direct bone conduction to transmit sound. This surgically implanted device bypasses the auditory canal and middle ear, utilizing bones as a pathway for sound to reach the inner ear. It’s an alternative for people with chronic ear infections, congenital external auditory canal atresia and single-sided deafness. These patients usually do not benefit from conventional hearing aids.
How Do Bone-Anchored Hearing Aids Work?
In a person with normal hearing, sound enters the external ear and travels down the ear canal through the middle ear to the cochlea, or inner ear. This process is called air conduction.
For individuals with certain types of hearing loss, sound is unable to travel down these pathways. Bone-anchored devices take advantage of the bones’ natural conductive abilities by sending sound vibrations directly to your inner ear, bypassing the auditory canal and middle ear completely.
The bone-anchored aid is made up of two components: an implanted plate and a sound processor. Once the surgical implant is in place, it gradually fuses with the skull bone over a period of several months in a process known as osseointegration.
The device is then ready to be fit and programmed. The sound processor transmits vibrations to the implant, where vibrations in the skull and inner ear stimulate the nerve fibers responsible for hearing.
A bone-anchored hearing aid is a safe and effective FDA-approved treatment alternative that enables many hearing-impaired individuals to communicate more effectively. It has been available in the U.S. since 1977.
Who Can Benefit from Bone-Anchored Hearing Aids?
Candidates for these devices are typically patients with conductive and mixed hearing loss or those with unilateral (single-sided) hearing loss.
If you experience chronic ear infections that do not respond to treatment, you may find the system particularly beneficial. Conventional hearing aids can aggravate the condition due to humidity and moisture building up in the ear canals. Those with congenital ear defects (such as ear canals that are narrow or absent) are good candidates, as well.
What is Osia®?
The Osia® System is a hearing implant that is placed under the skin and sends sounds directly to the inner ear, bypassing damaged parts of the middle and outer ear. It’s designed to integrate with bone faster and more efficiently. Developed by Cochlear™, the Osia 2 System was approved by the FDA in 2019.
How Does Osia Work?
The Osia System consists of an implant and transducer that is placed under the skin and a sound processor that is placed behind the ear. The transducer sends sound vibrations to the inner ear. The implant uses digital piezoelectric stimulation to send sound through the bone to the inner ear, which allows 100% of the sound signals to transfer, no matter the distance between coils. Osia’s design differs from that of traditional bone conduction transducers.
Who Will Benefit from Osia?
This technology will benefit those with hearing loss up to 55 dB caused by a variety of conditions, including chronic otitis media, otosclerosis, atresia and microtia. It is authorized by the FDA for those 12 and older with conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss and single-sided sensorineural deafness.
Our team can help determine if the Osia System would be a fitting treatment for your hearing loss. Whether Osia or another implant is your best course of action, we’re here to help.
Call St. Cloud Ear, Nose & Throat for more information or to schedule an appointment. (320) 252-0233