“What Is A BAHA?”
Baha is a brand name like Kleenex or Band-Aid.
When first available it was known as Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA). Over time, and with approval for coverage by insurance, the name became a brand and the acronym was dropped, making it Baha, which is made by Cochlear.
In 2010, Oticon Medical’s Ponto was approved by the FDA.
Both the Ponto and Baha are frequently referred to as Baha devices, but are more appropriately called bone anchored devices.
Bone-anchored devices are surgically placed titanium implants. The implant is like a screw that is positioned in the mastoid bone (behind the ear). The implant goes through a process known as osseointegration where, the implant essentially becomes part of the bone.
The implant connects to a sound processor in one of two ways: The traditional way is via abutment – a connecter that is exposed through the scalp that houses the processor.
The second – and most recent connection advancement – is with a magnetic plate. In this way, a magnetic plate is screwed onto the implant, but is concealed under the scalp. The processor snaps onto an external magnetic plate which is attracted to the magnet under the scalp.
At this time, both brands have the option to use an abutment however, only Cochlear has the magnetic option which they call the Baha Attract.
This technology is used to treat single sided deafness, conductive hearing loss and mixed hearing loss.
In order to hear, the sound processor must be connected. The sound processor has a microphone which picks up the sound. The sound is the processed to amplify the sounds determined to be important (speech sounds) and help to reduce extraneous sounds (background noise). If the processor is not connected, the recipient will not hear sound through the implant.
There are multiple versions of the sound processor for each company.
Cochlear’s most current versions are the Baha 5 and the BP110. The Baha 5 is iPhone compatible and Bluetooth ready, making it easy to connect to wireless accessories. The BP110 is the power processor and is typically used for an individual whose bone conduction hearing thresholds are not within the normal range.
At this time, the BP110 does not have any wireless connectivity and is NOT iPhone compatible.
Oticon Medical’s most current versions are the Ponto Plus and Ponto Plus Power. Both of these have wireless capabilities via a gateway device called a streamer. The power version of the processor is utilized when bone conduction hearing thresholds are not within the normal range.
The Baha and Ponto both utilize bone conduction hearing.
To learn more about each device please visit the manufacturer websites or click on the style of each:
For more information on bone-anchored hearing devices, or if you are a candidate for this treatment, please contact the board-certified providers at Arizona Ear Center by phone at 602.307.9919, or by email at [email protected]