For patients that don’t benefit from traditional hearing aids or can't use them, bone conduction implants and processors are one of the newest hearing aid technology solutions. Bone conduction implants communicate directly to the inner ear meaning they're ideal for people with conductive hearing loss or single-sided deafness.
Hearing aid manufacturers are always looking for new ways to meet the needs of those with hearing loss. The introduction of implantable hearing aid technology has been a big contribution, both with cochlear implants (otherwise known as the “Bionic Ear”) and bone conduction implants.
At present, cochlear implants can only be accessed in Victoria at the Cochlear Implant Clinic in Melbourne. We hope Richmond Audiology will be able to provide this much needed service in the not too distant future as the political landscape around this changes.
Who are bone conduction implants for?
In the meantime, we are delighted to offer bone conduction implants and processors as an alternative for patients who have a conductive hearing loss or single-sided deafness, that can’t use traditional hearing aids.
Patients with recurrent ear infections and/or discharge from the ear, history of middle ear surgery and severe skin issues in the ear canal are the perfect candidates.
How do they work?
Whilst a traditional hearing aid tries to push sound through the damaged outer and/or middle ear, a bone conduction hearing aid uses the bone conduction to send a clear, crisp sound directly to the inner ear.
The sound processor captures sounds in the air and turns the sound into vibrations. The vibrations are transmitted through the abutment or magnetic connection to the small implant and stimulate the bone directly to your inner ear.
There are two parts to a bone conduction system: the surgical implant placed by an Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) surgeon in an operating theatre and the sound processor fitted and fine-tuned by an audiologist.
There are three manufacturers of bone conduction implants and processors in Australia, Med-El, Cochlear & Oticon Medical, and Richmond Audiology uses all three. As with traditional hearing aid manufacturers, the manufacturers are all slightly different. Our recommendation for each patient will depend on our patients’ needs and whether they are suitable for surgery. We particularly love iPhone compatibility of the Cochlear Baha 5 processor!
Can I get funding?
There are many different funding options, including complete cover which is available under most private health insurers, even with basic cover.
For more information get in touch with the team to make an appointment. We may be able to arrange a trial of this technology so you can make an informed decision about whether to proceed with surgery.
More information and next steps
Richmond Audiology is proud to work closely with the Ear Nose and Throat surgeons at South East ENT and Melbourne ENT Group. For more information on their services please visit www.southeastent.com.au and www.melbentgroup.com.au