Wearing A Bone-Anchored Hearing Aid For Your Otosclerosis

Health & Medical Blog

An estimated .3 to 1.2 percent of people will eventually be diagnosed with otosclerosis, a congenital hearing disorder that typically grows worse with age. While some people can have this condition their whole lives and never notice it, others will gradually lose their hearing first in one ear and then the other. Because otosclerosis is a conductive hearing disorder, conventional hearing aids may not be an effective treatment option. Instead, you may want to consider the benefits of a bone-anchored hearing aid to restore your hearing as comfortably and naturally as possible.  

Understanding How Otosclerosis Impairs Hearing 

Otosclerosis occurs when the tiny bone inside your ear known as the stapes develops an abnormal growth that causes it to attach to the cochlea. The stapes is part of the chain of small bones and membranes in your ear that transfers sound wave vibrations to the cochlea; when its ability to resonate is restricted, the sounds passing through your ear become muffled and faint. This obstruction within your ear is known as a conductive hearing disorder, and a standard hearing aid will struggle to send information through the blockage. 

Working Around Conductive Hearing Loss

Since the path to your cochlea is blocked in a conductive hearing disorder like otosclerosis, your only option besides invasive surgery will be to pipe sounds directly into the cochlea itself. Bone-anchored hearing aids bypass the external parts of the ear to connect to the cochlea, simulating the action of a working stapes bone. The prosthesis is made of titanium to encourage natural integration with your bones and tissue. This process does require minor surgery, though it is usually a safe and uneventful operation. 

Creating a More Natural Sound

One major benefit of bone-anchored hearing aids is that they produce a more realistic sound than detachable, bone-conducted ones. By mimicking your own natural auditory system, these hearing aids allow you to pinpoint the locations of sounds and filter out background noises like you would under normal circumstances. They also avoid all of the twists, turns and fleshy barriers of your external ear, meaning they can produce a much clearer sound than any temporary hearing aid.

Increasing Comfort and Subtlety

For patients with long-term hearing loss, dealing with a hearing aid can be a daily chore at best or an uncomfortable necessity at worst. Bone-anchored hearing aids, on the other hand, are seamlessly integrated with your own skin and convey sounds accurately, making it easy to forget they are there. You can even go swimming with them, once the surgical site has healed. If you are facing hearing loss as a consequence of otosclerosis and surgery isn't a clear-cut option, speak to your audiologist (such as one from County Hearing And Balance) about the possibility of relying on a bone-anchored hearing aid instead. 


7 July 2016

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