What is a bone-anchored auditory implant?

A bone-anchored auditory implant is a surgically implanted prosthetic device that may partially restore hearing for individuals with conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss, or single-sided deafness. A bone-anchored auditory implant includes a titanium abutment, which is implanted in the bone behind the ear, and a sound processor, which is attached to the abutment and transmits sounds to the inner ear and hearing nerve using bone conduction.

How can you find out if you or your child is able to obtain a bone-anchored auditory implant?

The decision-making process involves many appointments and thorough testing by many different types of specialists. You may have to have some or all of the following tests:

  • Comprehensive audiologic diagnostic testing—Testing is performed to accurately judge hearing loss and to discuss the most helpful follow-up services and/or technology.
  • Bone-anchored auditory implant evaluation—Your hearing device options will be discussed, and you will have the opportunity to trial a demo device in the office.
  • CT scan
  • Medical/surgical consultations—The surgeon will meet with you to see if you are medically able to have the needed procedures. The surgeon will also talk about instruction, the procedure, and what to expect after surgery in terms of healing and possible hearing outcomes.
  • Communication evaluation—Auditory, speech, and language skills and are evaluated.
  • Insurance consultation—Individual coverage is considered, and financial impact of cochlear implantation is discussed.

In general, bone-anchored auditory implants are appropriate for adults and children with conductive or mixed hearing loss in one or both ears, or single-sided deafness (SSD). Absence of medical and radiological contraindications is required. Also important is desire to take part fully in the (re)habilitation process, family support, and a clear understanding of the benefits of bone-anchored auditory implants. Other options for these types of hearing loss may include traditional amplification or CROS/BICROS hearing aids. Appropriate options for your hearing loss will be discussed during your evaluation. Children under 5 years of age are considered to be too young for surgical placement of the device. These children may be able to use the hearing device on a soft headband. Your hearing health professionals will discuss this option with you.

How is a bone-anchored auditory implant different from a traditional hearing aid?

A traditional hearing aid sends sound signals through the hearing system by a method called air conduction. This method may not provide enough amplification in cases of conductive or mixed hearing loss or single-sided deafness. A bone-anchored implant uses bone conduction to transmit sound signals using sound vibrations to the hearing organ.


Hear-It. Facts: Implants: Bone-anchored hearing aid. www.hear-it.org Accessed 6/24/2011

National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Health Info: Hearing, Ear Infections, and Deafness: Hearing Aids. www.nidcd.nih.gov Accessed 6/24/2011

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 6/22/2011…#14794