Bone Conducting Hearing Implants
All Bone Conducting Hearing Implant users are welcome to join The Ear Foundation's Research Forum, and also register to receive regular information/newsletters. For the opportunity to meet other potential and current Bone Conducting Hearing Implant users from the UK and round the world, visit our active forum.
What is a Bone Conducting Hearing Implant?
A Bone Conducting Hearing Implant is the only implanted hearing treatment that works through direct bone conduction, working independently of the ear canal and middle ear.
It has been well recognised as a hearing treatment for conductive and mixed hearing loss since 1977, and was approved for Single Sided Deafness (SSD) in 2002.
It comes in 3 parts:
The Implant: is a tiny titanium screw implanted into the skull, it provides an anchor for the abutment and the sound processor.
An Abutment: is attached to the implant into which the sound processor will then attach.
The Sound Processor: acts as middle ear, converting the sound waves into vibrations, passed through the implant to the bone and from there to the working inner ears.
There are four suppliers of Bone Conducting Hearing Implants in the UK:
Conventional Bone Conducting Hearing Implants consist of a titanium implant, an external abutment and a detachable sound processor:
Another type of Bone Conducting Hearing Implant consists of an internal implanted magnet, an external magnetic spacer and a sound processor.
Alpha 2 SP
The image below is off a Oticon Ponto System and shows the 'Processor', 'Abutment' and 'Implant' as a break down.
Bone Conducting Hearing Implants can also be worn on a softband. This allows for young children to get the benefit of a system, without having the surgery. The softband can also be used to test the sound of a Bone Conducting Hearing Implants before proceeding with the surgery.
How does a Bone Conducting Hearing Implant work?
Who Is Suitable for a Bone Conducting Hearing Implant?
Conductive Hearing Loss
A conductive hearing loss means that sound cannot travel freely through the ear canal and middle ear to the cochlea. This type of hearing loss can be caused by an abnormality in the structure or blockage (excess ear wax / middle ear fluid) of the outer ear, ear canal or middle ear.
Mixed Hearing Loss
A mixed hearing loss means that there is both a conductive and senorineural hearing loss (SNHL). A SNHL is hearing loss is a result of damage to the hair cells within the cochlea and/or the hearing nerve. SNHL occurs naturally as part of the aging process, but there are other causes as well.
Single Sided Deafness (SSD)
A Single Sided Deafness (SSD) means that there is no sufficient hearing function of one cochlea.
For more information on the types of hearing loss, see the Action on Hearing Loss website.
How do I get a Bone Conducting Hearing Implant?
There are many local Audiology Services which provide Bone Conducting Hearing Implant. To be considered for a System you have to have a Bone Conducting Hearing Implant assessment to see if you are a suitable candidate. We recommend that you discuss your hearing needs with your Audiologist.
BoneConducting Hearing Implants Pathway (click on the image to download)
How do I find out more?
The Ear Foundation is working to offer friendly support and information to those who use implanted bone conduction systems, and those considering having it fitted. Please click here to visit the Support Group. You can register in the forum if you have any questions!
Did you know?
- There are appoximmetely 10,000 users in the UK alone!
- A Bone Conducting Hearing implant can be used with an FM system and accessories.
- They are suitable for those who cannot be aided by the usual air conduction hearing aids.
- Bilateral systems are becoming available.
- A bone conducting hearing implant can be used for single-sided deafness, where it will transmit the sound to the good hearing ear.
- The sound processor is a state of the art hearing device with fully automatic signal processing and adaptive directional microphones.
Our thanks go out to Oticon Medical and Cochlear Europe for support with our Bone Conducting Hearing Implants area of the website and a special thanks to Jo Williams and Anne Childs from Birmingham Children’s Hospital
We now offer a wide range of spares and accessories in our online shop which you can now buy direct from The Ear Foundation.