January 23, 2019. One of the benefits of attending a Chapter meeting is the opportunity to not only meet other people with hearing loss, but to learn more about hearing loss and hearing health. At our November Chapter meeting, we were delighted to welcome a guest speaker from Montreal: Jessyca Bedard, Clinical Support and Business Development Manager for Eastern Canada at Oticon Medical.
Annie Lee and I met with Jessyca the evening before at Merchantman Pub in Charlottetown and had a chance to discuss her presentation on Bone Anchored Hearing Systems (BAHS). Cochlear Canada Inc. has a similar product, called Bone Anchored Hearing Aids. Both products are a type of hearing aid, surgically implanted behind the ear, and based on bone conduction. Unlike traditional hearing aids, which amplify sound through the ear canal, bone anchored devices transmit sound through the bone.
In the presentation, we learned that a bone anchored hearing device is useful for people who have certain types of hearing loss related to:
- Conductive or mixed hearing loss
- Skin allergies which make a hearing aid in the ear impractical
- Single sided deafness
How does it work? Sounds are converted into vibrations, which the skull transmits to the inner ear (cochlea).
A bone anchored hearing system has a sound processor which sits on the outside of the skull, with a titanium implant that won’t rust.
During a lively question and answer period, we learned that the sound processor needs to be removed to go swimming, or when you wash your hair. A question about MRIs was answered that it was OK to be left on for that procedure.
Unfortunately, the Oticon BAHS does NOT have a telecoil, which was surprising given that Oticon is a European company. Telecoils are standard in hearing aid systems in Europe.
Another question concerned the availability of colours for the sound processor. Jessyca had come prepared for that with a case of various colour options!
Nancy Reddin has had a BAHS for 4 years and shared her experience. “I am almost completely deaf in my right ear because of an auditory-vestibular neuroma diagnosed in 2009, and was fitted with an Oticon Ponto bone-anchored sound processor in 2014. Because the hearing in my left ear is almost 100%, I don’t use the Ponto at home (although I probably should!). I do find it useful in situations with a lot of background noise or where I can’t always be in a good position, such as a noisy restaurant or family party; it helps to balance out the background. It is very easy to use and I am glad that this technology exists for me.”
Jessyca explained that “Hearing loss puts an extra strain on the brain, which has to work harder.” This is so true, and why it’s wonderful that technology is helping in reducing the effects of hearing loss.
Do you have a bone anchored hearing system or a bone anchored hearing aid? Share your experience by commenting on this blog, or sending an email to email@example.com. You can also follow us on Twitter @HearPEI.
We’re still on winter break but here is a reminder of upcoming events this spring:
April Chapter meeting: Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church. Guest speaker Lisa Gallant, pharmacist and owner of South Shore Pharmacy, will talk about ototoxic drugs (drugs that affect your hearing).
Speech reading classes begin Spring 2019. To register, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Daria Valkenburg