A BAHA is a surgically implanted bone anchored hearing appliance, which transmits sound information directly to the inner ear via the sound conducting properties of the skull. Therefore, the BAHA allows sound to bypass the external or middle ears and directly reach the inner ear. Thus, a BAHA can overcome chronic middle ear problems.
Also, the BAHA can route sound signals to the other ear and has therefore been used to treat patients with single sided deafness. This will create an impression of binaural hearing, which allows the user to cope better with situations featuring multiple sound sources and/or background noise.
Implantation of a BAHA requires placement of an osseointegrated implant into the skull. This implant connects to a sound processor through the skin; thus a percutaneous attachment becomes necessary. The percutaneous nature of the abutment requires frequency cleaning and maintenance and previous versions of the implant have been associated with various minor complications. The latest version of the device, however, features a longer and thicker abutment which has helped to keep skin issues at a very low rate.
The surgery can typically performed as an outpatient procedure with optional overnight stay. The surgical time varies between 30 and 60 minutes and depends on the thickness of the scalp. Patients are asked to return one week after surgery and several weeks thereafter for proper wound care. The external processor can be loaded (fitted) after about 8-12 weeks.