The Best Candidates
There are individuals who are not ideal candidates for traditional surgery and cannot be successfully fit with air-conduction hearing aids. For example, many individuals born with aural atresia (lack of development of the ear canal) are not candidates for reconstructive surgery, nor can they wear air-conduction aids. Instead, they must wear a bone-conduction hearing aid that is placed behind the ear, adjacent to the mastoid bone. Bone-conduction hearing aids vibrate the skull in order to stimulate the inner ears. They provide distorted, poor quality sound and are uncomfortable to wear. The majority of patients with aural atresia are excellent candidates for the BAHA.
Individuals who have chronic infection of the ear, who cannot tolerate occlusion of the ear canal via hearing aid, are also potential candidates for the BAHA. Single-sided deafness is the latest indication for the BAHA. The implant is placed behind the deaf ear. Vibrations from the implant's response to sound stimulate the opposite, normal-hearing inner ear. The BAHA has been shown to be more effective for single-sided deafness than a cross hearing aid. Children with single-sided deafness having difficulty in school may benefit from this implant.