A bone-anchored auditory implant is a surgically implanted prosthetic device that may partially restore hearing for people with conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss, or single-sided deafness.
A bone-anchored auditory implant is a surgically implanted device for the ear. The implant can help provide hearing for people with:
A traditional hearing aid sends sound signals through the hearing system by a method called air conduction. The sound travels through three parts of your ear – the outer, middle and inner ear. In cases of single-sided deafness, the inner ear or nerve isn’t able to receive that sound and send a clear signal to the brain.
In cases of conductive or mixed hearing loss, a condition may be creating blockages in the ear, as an earplug would. In both cases, a bone-anchored auditory implant sends sound as a vibration directly to the best-functioning inner ear, allowing for clear, direct hearing.
There are several types of bone-anchored auditory implants. They usually consist of a small implant placed behind the ear and a sound processor attached to the implant. Together, they send sound as a vibration to the inner ear and hearing nerve.
In some implants, the sound processor attaches to a small titanium post that comes through the skin. In others, a magnet holds the sound processor in place and the implant is not visible.
For children younger than 5 years old, or for those who may not prefer a surgical option, some sound processors can be held in place with an elastic band or strong adhesive sticker. Your hearing healthcare team will discuss these options with you.
The decision-making process involves several appointments and thorough testing by several specialists. You or your child may need some or all of the following evaluations:
In general, bone-anchored auditory implants are appropriate for adults and children with conductive or mixed hearing loss in one or both ears, or certain cases of single-sided deafness (SSD). It’s crucial you or your child take part fully in the rehabilitation process, have 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, CROS/BICROS hearing aids or cochlear implant in certain cases. During your evaluation, your hearing health professionals will talk with you about appropriate options for your hearing loss.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/30/2020.
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