Washington DC Audiologists
Osseointegrated Bone Conduction Devices
What is this device?
The osseointegrated bone conduction device is an FDA approved device that consists of two main parts: a piece which is implanted by the surgeon and an outside piece called a processor which is programmed by your audiologist to your hearing thresholds. The two pieces together work to pick-up sound and speech around you and transmits this via bone conduction directly to your best functioning cochlea. Depending on the manufacturer who assembles this device, this device may also be referred to as a “BAHA” or “Ponto”.
Who qualifies for this device?
- Patients with single sided deafness or unilateral hearing loss.
- Patients with conductive hearing loss or mixed hearing loss.
How do I know if qualify for this device?
An audiogram (maximum 6 months old), is required in order to be considered for a consultation. If you need an updated audiogram, please arrange that this be done by your audiologist or one of our audiologists at the Audiology center. After an audiogram is obtain, the audiologist will be able to let you know if you qualify for a consultation. The consultation consists of going over the results of your hearing evaluation, going over the parts of the hearing system and an in office trial of the device on a soft band headband. It will also be recommended that you make an appointment with our Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor to go over the surgical aspect of the device as well as schedule any other appointments that are required prior to surgery.
What is a Cochlear Implant?
A cochlear implant is a medical device that is surgically implanted to replace the function of the cochlea, which is housed in the inner ear. Cochlear implants are used when hearing aids cannot provide sufficient benefit to the patient. For example, hearing aids are used to amplify sounds that are otherwise inaudible to a person with hearing loss. However, if a person has severe to profound hearing loss, there is a chance that sounds will become so distorted with amplification that the person is unable to understand speech, even with hearing aids. In this scenario, it is possible that the person is a cochlear implant candidate.
A cochlear implant is comprised of two main parts: the internal component and the external sound processor. The internal component consists of an electrode wire and a magnet, which are surgically implanted by an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon. The external processor is worn on the outside, which consists of another magnet and a speech processor. The speech processor picks up sound waves and sends the signal to the internal component via the two magnets. The electrode array (housed within the cochlea) then sends the signal to the auditory nerve. This mechanism allows the implanted device to bypass the damaged cochlea and directly stimulate the auditory nerve.
After surgery, the patient returns to the Audiology Center four weeks later for their initial activation appointment. At this appointment their audiologist will program and activate (or turn on) the cochlear implant for the first time. The patient will return for several follow up appointments after the initial activation appointment. Between appointments the patient will continue to practice with their implant using rehabilitation exercises at home in order to optimize benefit from the cochlear implant system. These will be provided by the audiologist and can include exercises completed online or in person such as reading a children’s book aloud to oneself or by a family member. The rehabilitation process is crucial to the success of a patient’s cochlear implant journey.
Cochlear America Reimbursement Line: 800-633-4667