Author Topic: Opinions about BAHA  (Read 4122 times)

MaryQ

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Opinions about BAHA
« on: July 07, 2017, 10:30:07 am »
I am 10 years SSD and am now considering getting a BAHA. I have tried CROS and Transear and they have not worked out for me. I am kindly asking those who have a BAHA for honest opinions.  I want to know the good and bad.  I have heard that they do not work well if it's been a long time since the deafness. I tried the trial band and did not have a "wow" moment.  I hardly noticed hearing differently.  I was told that it would take a while to notice any benefit.  I don't have trouble when I'm home, I just have trouble in noisy situations.  I would like to know if it helps while at the grocery store hearing the cashier,  in restaurants, outdoors in open spaces, i.e. the beach.  These places are where I have the most difficulty.  Also is it comfortable wearing glasses?  If I lean back with my head on the sofa, does it get in the way?  Does anyone have problems with irritation or infection around the abutment?  I know this is a lot of questions, but I want to know if I am making the right decision before I have this permanent screw drilled into my skull.  Thanks in advance.

james e

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Re: Opinions about BAHA
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2017, 01:05:39 pm »
Hi Mary. I am SSD and had a BAHA surgery during my AN surgery March 2010. I had 15% of my hearing left on my AN side. Had to wait 3 months for my screw to become part of me and then I was plugged in. There was no WOW moment for me.

My first BAHA was a Cochlear BP100 and it sounded like listening to an old AM radio, sort of a hollow sound, but I loved it. After about 4 years my good ear stated going south and the BP100 was turned up as loud as it would go and the sound was distorted. BP100 is no longer produced,

At 5 years I got a Cochlear BAHA 5 and it sounds like real voices, and I also got a hearing aid for my good ear. I can operate both with my iPhone and both are bluetooth.

Just went to a July 4th pool party and had to turn off my BAHA, and later on my hearing aid because of all the noise. I could not hear a conversation unless I was touching distance away and I could watch the mouth of the speaker. For me, Neither of my hearing devices can overcome lound noses. It might work differently for other people, so do not decide based on my opinion,

I do not wear my BAHA outdoors because it really amplifies the wind rushing over it.

It is wonderful in a room of normal conversation. It does not help locating sound.

Would I do it again? Yes.

CHD63

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Re: Opinions about BAHA
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2017, 03:37:30 pm »
Hi MaryQ .....

Just adding my "two cents" here .....  You are correct that the longer you have been SSD, the more the brain has learned to adapt to only having input from one side.  Therefore, it (the brain) is slow to recognize new sounds coming through the bone to your only working cochlea.  As you know, a bone-anchored hearing device does not replace the missing cochlear input.  Thus, those of us who are SSD will always be SSD.  That means the device will only take in the sounds from our deaf side and transmit them to the hearing side via bone conduction.

Although technically we cannot have directionality because our hearing is only from one auditory nerve, if one is newly deaf when receiving the post, sometimes the brain can learn to make some distinctions between the normal hearing input and the input from the bone conduction.

Like james e, my abutment was implanted at the time of my AN translab surgery.  I have an Oticon Medical Ponto Pro, in which the sound to me is like an excellent sound system.  I wear it 11-12 hours a day ..... basically putting it on after my shower in the morning and forgetting about it until just before bed at night.

I have two settings, plus the telecoil setting, but use the standard setting for everything except listening to music (concerts, etc.).  The latest version of the Ponto Pro (Ponto 3) has wireless capability through a streamer.  I am awaiting approval to upgrade.

The main advantage of a BAHA or a Ponto is having input from sounds coming from one's deaf side.  For example, hearing traffic, someone speaking to me on that side, etc.  Wearing glasses is not a problem because your doctor will place the abutment where it will not touch them.  Wearing hats/helmets can be an issue so if you have favorite types, tell your doctor, and/or the helmet may need an adaptation.  Anything snugly touching the processor, will cause feedback.  My processor does not touch the sofa when I put my head straight back, but it would if I turned my head to that side.

If you follow the instructions on cleaning around the abutment and keeping your hair clean, irritation/infection is usually not a problem. In the past six years, I have had maybe two occasions of irritation and a tiny dab of Neosporin cleared it overnight.

Now, to be perfectly honest, because I also have roaring/squealing tinnitus, when I am in a noisy environment, the tinnitus ramps up and any hearing becomes extremely difficult.  I also have trouble sorting out where the sound is coming from when too many people are talking at once (or there is a lot of background noise).  I don't think this is a malfunction of the Ponto's usefulness.

If I were you I would try a Ponto trial headband and if you still cannot discern sounds coming through (while putting your finger in your hearing ear), you might want to talk with a second audiologist (preferably one with a doctorate in audiology) for advice on your potential success.

PM me if you would like to talk privately.

Best wishes.

Clarice
Right MVD for trigeminal neuralgia, 1994, Pittsburgh, PA
Left retrosigmoid 2.6 cm AN removal, February, 2008, Duke U
Tumor regrew to 1.3 cm in February, 2011
Translab AN removal, May, 2011 at HEI, Friedman & Schwartz
Oticon Ponto Pro abutment implant at same time; processor added August, 2011

alabamajane

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Re: Opinions about BAHA
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2017, 07:30:21 am »
Hi MaryQ,,,
I have been SSD since surgery in 2011. I waited 3 yrs then got the Cochlear BAHA 4 in Dec 2014. I had a hard time adjusting to it and found myself pretty unhappy most of the time with it's performance and didn't wear it much. I believe that mine was not functioning properly most of the time though as I had it fixed twice in the 2 year warranty period.

I have just upgraded to the BAHA 5 Power and so far I love it!! The sound is so much better. I can actually hear someone on my deaf side,, which I never could with the 4. It is blue tooth capable and if you have an IPhone,, it pairs with that and there is even an app to help with controls. Pairs for phone calls, streaming music etc, and phone can be used as a microphone during meetings or conversations at the table,,,, I haven't even tried all of it's capabilities yet! It even has the ability to find the device if lost,,,, :o,,, basically tells you if you are close or far from it, ,,VERY helpful,,,

Clarice has good points about her device that also relates to the Cochlear BAHA,, I have difficulty wearing a ball cap but don't often,, I can sit on the couch with no interference until I turn my head,, not much of a bother. I have not had any infections and only minor irritation at the site a couple of times. Usually cleaning with a small brush that's provided and a q-tip of alcohol,,,

I agree that you should find an audiologist who is trained in BAHAs,, either manufacturer,, as they are more informed about the devices. They will also be able to program your device once you receive it. I travel an hour out of town to my audiologist because she is trained with the BAHA. She has been a wonderful source of knowledge to answer my questions,,,,

Good luck to you,, you can also pm me if you'd like discuss anything,,

Jane

Directionality is still a problem but will be with any aid I believe.
translab Oct 27, 2011
facial nerve graft Oct 31,2011, eyelid weight removed Oct 2013, eye closes well

BAHA surgery Oct. 2014, activated Dec. 26

ANSydney

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Re: Opinions about BAHA
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2017, 05:33:23 pm »
I'm not a fan of a BAHA. It's invasive surgery to help with the sound shadow on your deaf side. It will not help in noisy environments and will not help in localizing sounds. If you've tried the trail band and it did not make things better, why proceed?

Enough of problems, let's look at solutions.

One is to do nothing and rely on other factors. Your ability to lip-read - without effort on your part - will improve with time. Your ability to localize sounds will improve with time (if someone calls your name and they're not in sight, they're probably behind you).

Another solution is a cross hearing aid. As effective as a BAHA but without the invasiveness.

alabamajane

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Re: Opinions about BAHA
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2017, 10:49:35 am »
Interesting opinion on the BAHA  ANSydney and that's all it is as you don't have first hand experience with one,,  I believe it's hard to accurately evaluate something if you haven't tried it,,,

As far as invasive surgery,, yes they make a very small hole for abutment,, but the surgery for it is very minor compared to AN  surgery. But then you have made it abundantly clear that you are opposed to surgery for your AN so that is the vantage point you come from with that objection also..


But on to solutions,,, I would expect that  MaryQ has learned to lip read and realizes how difficult locating sound is after 10 years of SSD. Any of us who are SSD adjust to those factors,,

And MaryQ stated she has tried Cros and Transear aids and found them unsatisfactory.

As stated, the trial headband is not a true comparison to the actual device. It gives you a semblance of sound in a deaf ear.

MaryQ, if you decide to go forward with a Cochlear BAHA,, I would ask to be recommended for the BAHA5 Power unit,, if you have good hearing in your " good" ear,, I believe you would be happy with this level of help. I have been extremely happy with it. The sound quality is excellent. It automatically adjusts programs to the environment you are in.

One other item I might add as far as noisy environments,, you can get a mini microphone accessory that can clip onto a speaker or dinner partner that allows sound to be directly funneled to the BAHA processor so you have clearer, louder speech recognition,,, very helpful too. ,,,

Just my thoughts,,
Jane
translab Oct 27, 2011
facial nerve graft Oct 31,2011, eyelid weight removed Oct 2013, eye closes well

BAHA surgery Oct. 2014, activated Dec. 26

MaryQ

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Re: Opinions about BAHA
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2017, 02:54:02 pm »
Thank you everyone for your input.  I appreciate all who took the time to answer.   Yes I have gotten used to being SSD, but it is so difficult at times.  I have learned to lipread however that only works when the person is in front of me.  When I'm with my group of friends out somewhere I am not able to follow  the conversation and most of the time I just nod and smile as if I know what everyone talking about.  I feel left out and it is very depressing.  I get tired of asking people to repeat things.  When I'm in the car and my hubby is driving it's hard to carry a conversation because it's my left ear that is affected. I know it will not give me directional hearing and does not work well in noisy situations, but I think it would be worth it for the benefit I would get.

Unfortunately when I checked back with my doctor this morning I learned that my insurance (BCBS) will not pay.  The hospital would want all the money up front before the surgery.  I have two options for the future.  I can possibly change my insurance company come January and hopefully would be able to find if they cover the BAHA beforehand.  My second option is to wait 2 more years till I'm able to get Medicare because my understanding is that they would cover the BAHA.

alabamajane

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Re: Opinions about BAHA
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2017, 05:04:09 pm »
MaryQ,
Don't take your doctor's office word for it about coverage. I have BCBS and they approved it. You can look in your benefits part of the policy and check for yourself too. Plus your doctor's office may have either coded it incorrectly or asked about hearing aids. These are not hearing aids but a prosthetic device, I believe it is off the top of my head,,,,, it was easy to find in my policy and I believe it may have been page 90,,,,

Also, if you go with a Cochlear BAHA, they will help you with the insurance company,,, ( I would imagine Oticon Medical would too but not sure),,,

Don't give up just yet!! There is still hope,,,
Jane
translab Oct 27, 2011
facial nerve graft Oct 31,2011, eyelid weight removed Oct 2013, eye closes well

BAHA surgery Oct. 2014, activated Dec. 26

ANSydney

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Re: Opinions about BAHA
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2017, 05:40:08 pm »
Interesting opinion on the BAHA  ANSydney and that's all it is as you don't have first hand experience with one,,  I believe it's hard to accurately evaluate something if you haven't tried it,,,
I don't have first hand experience of jumping off a cliff, but I still would not recommend it to anyone.

An iPhone user will tell you iPhones are better and an Android phone user will tell you Android is better. It is human nature to (mostly) recommend their choice.

The problem is that with a BAHA you are making an effectively irreversible decision.

As far as invasive surgery,, yes they make a very small hole for abutment,, but the surgery for it is very minor compared to AN  surgery. But then you have made it abundantly clear that you are opposed to surgery for your AN so that is the vantage point you come from with that objection also..
Cutting off your thumb is very minor compared to cutting off all your limbs, however I would not recommend cutting off your thumb.

All surgery is something you enter with known benefits that out-way the risks, costs and maintenance.

But on to solutions,,, I would expect that  MaryQ has learned to lip read and realizes how difficult locating sound is after 10 years of SSD. Any of us who are SSD adjust to those factors,,
My feedback is not directed solely to MaryQ, but any reader.

And MaryQ stated she has tried Cros and Transear aids and found them unsatisfactory.
To quote, "I tried the trial band and did not have a "wow" moment".

As stated, the trial headband is not a true comparison to the actual device. It gives you a semblance of sound in a deaf ear.
A trial, for any product, must be representative of the final product.


Some of the benefit of a BAHA has nothing to do with bone conductance, but amplification. I would think that Jane's experience with a BAHA 4 (poor) and BAHA 5 (good) is not to do with any difference in bone conduction, but amplification. The same improvement can be obtained with a cross hearing aid without the surgery, cost, maintenance and effective irreversibility.


CHD63

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Re: Opinions about BAHA
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2017, 04:24:04 am »
Just jumping in here to remind everyone that all who visit this forum have vastly different experiences and needs.  Therefore, we need to keep in mind this is forum designed and maintained to be a support for each other.

As for choice in assistance (or not) with hearing, this must be strictly an individual decision based on each unique situation.  We live in an age with many choices for help with hearing.  Not making a decision on anything is a choice, as well.  We need to respect the choices of others.

Clarice
Right MVD for trigeminal neuralgia, 1994, Pittsburgh, PA
Left retrosigmoid 2.6 cm AN removal, February, 2008, Duke U
Tumor regrew to 1.3 cm in February, 2011
Translab AN removal, May, 2011 at HEI, Friedman & Schwartz
Oticon Ponto Pro abutment implant at same time; processor added August, 2011

Theham

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Re: Opinions about BAHA
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2017, 07:24:58 pm »
I realize I am a bit late in posting but figured that my inputs may be valuable to folks.

I am a 39yr old man who has been SSD since well it's all I've ever known.  I recently at the end of May 2017 had the surgery to have the BAHA implanted.  I am still in the healing and recovery period.  The one thing that stuck with me and resonated was the subtle effects when trying the headband during testing.  I chose the Cochlear brand due to the ease of integrations with technology that I use everyday.  From the standpoint of having another tool I can use to communicate with hearing folks is important to me, as is having better access to sound for things like crossing the street both hearing and seeing vehicles I may otherwise have missed.  It is still a highly personal choice that isn't right for everyone but I felt it was right for me based on the increased hearing loss on my deaf side. 

Thankfully the community of folks around me have been highly supportive and the best anyone could ask for - more than anything finding support is going to help you find your answers .

Hope the quick thoughts above help.  The initial effects I am expecting to be fairly subtle but eventually I am hopeful my brain will figure it all out and I'll end up with the indispensable tool I know it can be.

I do have support from folks in the medical community as well as speech pathologists who work with both aided and unaided hearing impaired children.  Both have clearly stated that the positive quality of life changing effects are huge.  I've also spoke with folks who say this type of tool isn't for them.  It's no easy choice.

MaryQ

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Re: Opinions about BAHA
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2018, 10:57:45 pm »
Hi everyone.....Just wanted to give an update since my prior post.  I went to a different doctor who does many more BAHA surgeries.  He was over an hour away but it was worth it.  I had another headband trial and it worked out much better than the original one. They let me keep it longer and I tried it out in different situations and it seemed to help. I went to a noisy restaurant and was able to hear the waitress on my left side!  I understand that it will even sound better with the abutment.  The office was able to get approval from my insurance company and I had the surgery just before Thanksgiving.  I am very excited to be getting my Ponto in February.  Right now I am still having a little irritation and possible infection around the abutment.  The doctor has me on oral antibiotics and Bactroban.  This is getting me a little depressed and I hope I will not be battling infections all the time.  The doctor said it was not unusual to have an infection right after the surgery.  Has anyone had this problem and if so did it get better with time? 

alabamajane

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Re: Opinions about BAHA
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2018, 12:45:56 pm »
Hi MaryQ,
I did have some minor irritations with slight drainage in the beginning ; however, they will subside with good cleaning hygiene of the area,, after healing,,,, it’s been about 4 yrs since I had that surgery but I don’t remember any serious infection that wasn’t easily cleared. Hang in there,, it does get better after healing of the area.
I’ve read of a few people who had issues after healing but not many as I remember.

Good luck,, maybe others will respond,,

Jane
translab Oct 27, 2011
facial nerve graft Oct 31,2011, eyelid weight removed Oct 2013, eye closes well

BAHA surgery Oct. 2014, activated Dec. 26

Kjayhill

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Re: Opinions about BAHA
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2018, 10:33:49 am »
Mary,
I did the Oticon Ponto MIPS surgery about 6 months ago.  It was only 5 months after my AN.  I struggled with my balance as my nerve was removed and I felt like the SSD was making it worst.
Also, I had 100% hearing going into a Middle Fossa surgery so I had high hopes the hearing would be saved.   I love, love, love my BAHA.  It helps so much with the checking out in the grocery store, noisy restaurants, drive thru at the bank and so on.   I had no issues with infections and have no trouble just basically cleaning it with the brush 1-2 times a week. I am very OCD so I do wash around it nightly with baby shampoo.  The hardest part for me is I hate to take it off. I do find if I wear it for more than 12 hours it gets a little achy.   I am hoping one day they will come up with a solution where we can wear it while working out or swimming!.
Good luck in your decision!  Try to do a test drive of all options.
Let me know if you need more information.
Thanks,
Kathy
Kind Regards,
Kathy

AN Warrior since March 28, 2017
(Middle Fossa)
PONTO BAHA since November, 2017

MaryQ

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Re: Opinions about BAHA
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2018, 09:46:29 pm »
Well it's been  2 weeks since I got my Ponto turned on.  Actually I don't notice much improvement in my hearing. I still need to use the closed captions for the TV.  The background noise is just louder and I'm not getting the speech clarity I was hoping for.  It also seemed to give me headaches.  BUT the absolute worse was today as I was snapping my Ponto on it slipped and  I started bleeding. I also noticed that the abutment is now loose.  I've had nothing but problems since I got this surgery and since I'm not getting much improvement from it, I may just have the doctor remove it.  I feel bad that I only got to use it for such a short time.  Has anyone had  so many problems? 

 


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