For patients that don’t benefit or simply can’t use traditional hearing aids, bone conduction implants and processers are one of the newest hearing aid technology solutions. Directly communicating to the inner ear, bone conduction implants are ideal for people with conductive hearing loss or single-sided deafness.
Hearing aid manufacturers are forever increasing their product portfolio to meet the needs of those with hearing loss. One significant contribution has been in implantable hearing aid technology, both with cochlear implants, otherwise known as the “Bionic Ear”, and bone conduction implants.
At present, cochlear implants in Victoria can only be accessed, for both the surgery and programming, at the Cochlear Implant Clinic in Melbourne. We hope this will change in the not too distant future allowing Gippsland Audiology to provide this very much needed service to our local community.
Who are bone conduction implants for?
In the meantime, we are excited to offer bone conduction implants and processors as an alternative for those with a conductive hearing loss or single-sided deafness, that otherwise don’t benefit from, or cannot use, traditional hearing aids. Patients with recurrent ear infections and/or discharge from the ear, history of middle ear surgery and severe skin issues in the ear canal can make perfect candidates.
How do they work?
Whilst a traditional hearing aid tries to push sound through the damaged outer and/or middle ear, a bone conduction hearing aid uses the beauty of bone conduction to send a clear, crisp sound directly to the inner ear.
The sound processor captures sounds in the air and turns the sound into vibrations. The vibrations are transmitted through the abutment or magnetic connection to the small implant and stimulate the bone directly to your inner ear.
There are two parts to a bone conduction system: the surgical implant placed by an Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) surgeon in an operating theatre and the sound processor fitted and fine-tuned by an audiologist.
There are three manufacturers of bone conduction implants and processors in Australia, Med-El, Cochlear & Oticon Medical, and Gippsland Audiology uses all three. Like traditional hearing aid manufacturers, they each have their points of differences and our recommendation for each patient will depend on our patients’ needs and, of course, their surgical candidacy. We particularly love iPhone compatibility of the Cochlear Baha 5 processor!
Can I get funding?
There are many different funding options for these systems, including complete cover under most private health insurers, even with basic cover. For more information, and to consult an audiologist whether this is an option for you, please call your nearest clinic to make an appointment. If appropriate, your audiologist can arrange a trial of this technology so you can make an informed decision about whether to proceed with surgery.
More Info & Next Steps
Gippsland Audiology is proud to work closely with the Ear Nose and Throat surgeons at South East ENT and Melbourne ENT Group. For more information on there services please visit www.southeastent.com.au and www.melbentgroup.com.au