Author Topic: Choosing between BAHA and Transear: can you wear a helmet with a BAHA?  (Read 6544 times)

amymeri

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I am debating between the BAHA and Transear.  I have two issues

1.  Insurance coverage/payment:  I believe my BAHA would be covered and the Transear wouldn't?
2.  I ride horses and so wear a helmet with straps that go around my ears and under my chin (like a bike helmet) and I wonder if they would catch on or rub on the BAHA or if the helmet would interfere with it?  The helmet covers the tips of my ears and curve down towards the back of my neck.

Does anyone have experience with using a BAHA and wearing safety helmets?  Does the transistor show much?  What about the Transear? 

Thanks!!
Amy

4 cm right AN removed restrosigmoid 4/13/06
Partial facial paralysis, SSD and trigeminal numbness for now

JerseyGirl2

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Re: Choosing between BAHA and Transear: can you wear a helmet with a BAHA?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2009, 12:26:49 pm »
Hi, Amy,

I've worn my BAHA Intenso (a little larger and more powerful than the Divino model since the hearing in my good ear isn't absolutely perfect) since June 2008 and am quite happy with it. I had the titanium implant "installed" at the same time as my AN surgery (translab procedure), so I was sound asleep; folks who have it done later say that it's not a big deal -- comparable to a dental procedure -- and most seem to have it done under local anesthesia, which, in my mind at least, seems to confirm the "not a big deal" consensus.

BAHAs are not considered to be hearing aids, so hopefully your insurance will cover it. Be forewarned, however, that many insurance companies routinely deny coverage at the first request so getting approval can sometimes be a lengthy procedure.

The helmet issue could be a bit tricky, and I think that many BAHA wearers just wouldn't wear them (the BAHA, not the helmet!) in cases like this. I have personally not worn a safety helmet with my BAHA, but I haven't been in a situation where I've needed one .... so hopefully someone with personal experience will give you a better answer.

The processor (the part that attaches to the titanium implant) is very discrete. I wear my hair pretty short and tucked behind my ears and have never had a problem. If you're getting a Divino it will be even easier to "conceal." The processors come in several colors, so you can get one as close to your hair color as possible.

I know that there are several Forum members who are quite happy with their Transears and I'm sure that they, as well as other BAHA users, will chime in as well.

Best wishes as you reach a decision!

Catherine (JerseyGirl 2)
Translab surgery and BAHA implant: House Ear Institute, Los Angeles, 1/2008
Drs. J. House, Schwartz, Wilkinson, and Stefan
BAHA Intenso, 6/2008
no facial, balance, or vision problems either before or after surgery ... just hearing loss
Monmouth County, NJ

Cynaburst

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Re: Choosing between BAHA and Transear: can you wear a helmet with a BAHA?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2009, 01:17:12 pm »
I have a Transear, and got it because I was not willing to have an implant.  There would be no problem with wearing a riding helmet and wearing the Transear.  It fits entirely on the ear.  (And I am also a horse person, and have worn riding helmets before).

leapyrtwins

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Re: Choosing between BAHA and Transear: can you wear a helmet with a BAHA?
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2009, 07:28:30 pm »
Amy -

I am a BAHA wearer and couldn't be happier about it!  I was more than willing to have the implant and it's been one of the best things I've ever done.  It doesn't solve every SSD problem, but it's a huge improvement.

I don't ride horses (quite frankly they scare me) and I don't often wear a helmet when I ride my bike (yes, I know, very bad habit).  However on the occasions I have worn a bike helmet I have found that wearing the processor (tiny hearing aid) is just not possible; there is no room for it inside the helmet.  Even if there was room though I'm not entirely sure I'd want to wear a $4,000+ hearing aid when I'm biking. 

I have found the titanium rod in my skull to be absolutely no issue when wearing the helmet.  It's very close to my skull and doesn't get in the way of the helmet's fit.

As Catherine said, the processor is very discreet (I have a Divino) and despite wearing my hair short it's not noticeable to anyone.  Mine is brown and blends in with my hair very nicely. 

I had my BAHA surgery nine months after my AN surgery - mostly because I was waiting to hear from my insurance company whether or not they'd cover it (thankfully they did).  The surgery was extremely easy and fast; done as outpatient and I did have mine with only local anesthesia.  I had no problems with the recovery and was able to start wearing my processor after 90 days.

Jan
Retrosig 5/31/07 Drs. Battista & Kazan (Hinsdale, Illinois)
Left AN 3.0 cm (1.5 cm @ diagnosis 6 wks prior) SSD. BAHA implant 3/4/08 (Dr. Battista) Divino 6/4/08  BP100 4/2010 BAHA 5 8/2015

I don't actually "make" trouble..just kind of attract it, fine tune it, and apply it in new and exciting ways

gramps

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Re: Choosing between BAHA and Transear: can you wear a helmet with a BAHA?
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2009, 07:29:33 pm »
Amy:

You can't wear any kind of headgear that might touch the BAHA processor.  There will be feedback that causes a ferocious squeal.  I don't wear my Intenso processor when I play golf because I have to wear a cap to avoid so much sun.  The titanium post, by itself, does not interfere with anything.  Anything touching the Transear would also probably cause feedback but since the Transear is in the ear that is no problem.

Medicare covered both the BAHA surgery and the processor promptly.  My secondary insurance (AETNA) covered the surgery right away, but it took several iterations to get them to cover the processor.  They finally did after I quoted one of their clinical policy bullletins that said the BAHA was an accepted treatment (not their word) for single sided deafness.

Gramps

Arasha

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Re: Choosing between BAHA and Transear: can you wear a helmet with a BAHA?
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2009, 09:33:46 pm »
One day, I forgot I was wearing my TransEar and tried to fit the helmet to ride the motorcycle. I can not wear a helmet at all with my TransEar on, there is feedback, an annoying loud sound. I can not have anything close to the aid, no caps, no hats.  Even when I pass my finger to fix my hair, or someone come closer to give me a hugh, makes me hear that feedback, it is uncomfortable.  Conclusion, no way to wear a helmet.

Insurances don't cover the TransEar.

However, it is very helpfull.
Gloria
Left side AN 2.5x1.8 removed on 10/17/2007 endosc. by Dr.Shahinian (retrosig) at SBI, LA,Ca. Facial phalsys (almost back). Balance issues. Tinnitus. MRI 8 months later showed AN was resected completelly.TransEar 11/2008. Clinical trial for SoundBite 11/2009. SoundBite user.I have the best family.

wendysig

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I remember reading about someone riding competetively and wearing a BAHA (maybe the BAHA users websiite?) and the judges having a problem with the helmet.  As I recall, the helmet was custom made -- so it's possible if you ride enough to warrant the cost of a a custom made helmet,  otherwise, it's probably best not to wear it when riding.  I know Jan and Gramps said the post causes no problems and although I'm pretty new to this (had my BAHA surgery in January) I have to say I can't see how the post would cause any problem.

My insurance paid for my surgery and processor too or the same reason Jan gave.  I know many insurance companies won't cover the cost of a TransEar because it's considered a hearing aid.  I believe they run about  $3,000.

Wendy
1.3 cm at time of diagnosis -  April 9, 2008
2 cm at time of surgery
SSD right side translabyrinthine July 25, 2008
Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York, NY
Extremely grateful for the wonderful Dr. Choe & Dr. Chen
BAHA surgery 1/5/09
Doing great!

amymeri

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Thanks to everyone for your input.  It looks like either way, Transear or BAHA I won't be wearing it when I am riding, which is too bad because it's hard to hear my trainer when I am circling to the right and my deaf side is toward the trainer.  I can't turn my head to hear when I am on a horse, and I can't tell in which direction a rider is coming up behind me (onthe left or right) and I was hoping the hearing aid would help just a little with those problems.

Ahhh well. 

My audiologist is investigating the Transear.  It makes me mad that my insurance will pay for surgery (more expensive) but not the Transear.  Insurance can be so screwy and illogical.  >:(
Amy

4 cm right AN removed restrosigmoid 4/13/06
Partial facial paralysis, SSD and trigeminal numbness for now

Cynaburst

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Amy - Just wondering....has your balance suffered when you ride after the AN?  I haven't ridden since my AN, and really hadn't been riding too much before it either due to other reasons, but I wonder if I could ride as well as I did before the surgery.  I used to show 5 Gaited American Saddlebred Horses, and you really need to be able to hang on pretty well to ride those horses since they are so amped up.  I just wonder if I could ever ride again...

amymeri

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I started riding again about 1-2 months after my surgery.  I had a lot of unsteadiness after my surgery.  I also had double vision.  At first I just got on and walked very slowly, with someone walking beside me and then rapidly I was able to get back to normal.  My surgery was mid April and I think I was back to normal riding by the end of summer, including jumping and riding green off-track thoroughbreds.  I think I am a better rider now, curiously enough.  I do notice my balance is affected a bit (if I lean to far forward I lose my balance a bit) but generally I would say that my riding is unaffected.

I credit riding to actually helping me improve my balance on the ground.  Since you have to constantly balance and re-balance when you ride it really gives you immediate, constant good practice. 

I hope you get back in the saddle!!  ;D It was very healing to be with my horse and be active.

Amy
Amy

4 cm right AN removed restrosigmoid 4/13/06
Partial facial paralysis, SSD and trigeminal numbness for now

 


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