Bone conduction implants (BCIs) are an advanced technology used to amplify sound and improve hearing loss in adolescent and adult patients. If you’re considering different hearing loss treatments, it’s helpful to know how different devices work so that you can find the best one for your individual treatment plan.
What is a Bone Conduction Implant?
A bone conduction implant (also called a bone-anchored hearing aid) directs sound waves into the inner ear by using bone conduction and bypassing the damaged outer or middle ear. As sound waves vibrate through the bones, the noise is amplified, similar to the way a traditional hearing aid works. The main difference is that sound is sent through the bone instead of the ear canal.
Bone conduction hearing devices can treat conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss, or single-sided deafness (hearing loss in one ear). There are two types of BCIs: active and passive. At the Hearing Institute, your doctor will assess the type and degree of hearing loss you are experiencing to determine the best type of BCI for your treatment.
How Does It Work?
Bone conduction hearing implants by bypassing the damaged parts of the ear that are not working properly. The device includes an internal implant placed underneath the skin behind the ear and an external sound processor. Active BCIs use the external sound processor to detect sound and then the signal is transmitted to the internal device. The transmitted signal actively vibrates the implant, which sends sound vibrations through the bone and into the inner ear where sound is processed. Passive BCIs work similarly, but the external device detects sound and vibrates. The vibrations are then sent passively to the internal device and into the bone.
Benefits of a Bone Conduction Implant
Bone conduction implants help patients of all ages hear better so that they can better interact with their environment. By bypassing the damaged outer ear, you can expect to hear more clearly, even in noisy environments. This helps people become more aware of their surroundings and it improves speech recognition. Speech recognition is especially important for children with hearing loss since speech development can be delayed by poor hearing.
Schedule an Appointment
AOO | ENT Specialist of the Rockies assists patients in the Lone Tree, Highlands Ranch, Parker, and Castle Pines areas. If you have impaired hearing, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at The Hearing Institute. Our hearing specialists can perform a hearing test and discuss your options for hearing aids in greater detail to help you find the best choice of treatment for your specific needs.