A bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA) is similar to other hearing aids, but instead of being inserted into the ear canal or held behind the ear, it is attached to a soft band worn on the head or fixed to a metal implant inserted into the skull. This page from Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) describes the type of BAHAs used at GOSH, what is involved in fitting them and what to expect during treatment.
- An abutment BAHA has the implant coming through the skin of the scalp. A connecting abutment is attached to the implant, which attaches it to the sound processor, which looks like a small box.
- A magnet BAHA contains an implant magnet in the shape of a flat disc, approximately the diameter of a two pence coin, which sits completely under the skin. The sound processor and sound processor magnet sit on the scalp skin, held in place by magnetic attraction.
- Better hearing outcomes
- Can still have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans
- Risk of complications at the implant site, such as skin irritation, infection and breakdown
- The magnet is under the skin so lower risk of implant site complications
- May have issues with MRI scans
- Less favourable hearing outcomes
- If the trial is successful, the Audiologist will make an appointment for you to see the ENT surgeon to discuss the surgery.
- If the trial is not successful, a BAHA will not be the best option for your child so other treatments may be explored with you.
About the BAHA surgery
What will the operation involve?
- Insertion of the abutment BAHA– the surgeon will make an incision (cut) behind the ear and fix the titanium implant to the skull. They will then attach the abutment to the implant. A ‘healing cap’ or protective cover will be put over the abutment to protect it while it heals. The incision will be closed with dissolvable stitches and covered with dressings.
- Insertion of the magnet BAHA– the surgeon will make a c-shaped incision around the proposed location of the magnet and fix a titanium implant to the skull. They will then screw a magnet onto the implant, close the incision and cover it with a head bandage.
Are there any risks?
Going home after the operation
Looking after the operation site
- Your child is in a lot of pain and pain relief does not seem to help
- Your child has a temperature of 38°C or higher
- The operation site is red or inflamed, and feels hotter than the surrounding skin
- There is an unpleasant smell or ooze from the operation site
Follow up appointments
Fitting the hearing processor
The Audiologist will then continue to assess your child's hearing with the BAHA and arrange appropriate follow ups.
Please note this is a generic GOSH information sheet. If you have specific questions about how this relates to your child, please ask your doctor. Please note this information may not necessarily reflect treatment at other hospitals.