When it comes to investing in a hearing aid that will help you hear better, no matter your issue, there are a ton of choices to make. You'll find numerous hearing aid manufacturers, as well as many different types of hearing aids and special features. Some are definitely better than others – and this review of the BAHA hearing aid may help you in your decision-making.
For many people, a bone-anchored hearing aid (also known as BAHA) may be the best bet. These are hearing aid implants, not just the hearing aids you put on the outside of your ear. There are different brands of bone-anchored hearing aids, but Cochlear's BAHA 5 is one of the top-rated.
The Basics of Choosing a Hearing Aid
Before you begin shopping for the right hearing aid, there are some steps you need to take. There's more to looking for a hearing aid than picking the right brand. When you notice that your hearing isn't what it used to be, it's important to make an appointment and discuss it with your general practitioner – who will likely suggest a specialist.
Before looking deeper into the line of BAHA hearing aids and what people have to say about them, here is a little info that will help in the search for better hearing.
1. Start With a Doctor's Appointment
Yes, there are hearing apparatuses on the market you can buy without a prescription and without the assistance of a doctor, but these devices aren't made to help people with serious hearing concerns.
Your doctor visit will help you find out how much hearing loss you have, any possible underlying causes, and the safest way to start working on hearing better.
You'll have a consultation where you can discuss your issues with the doctor. You will also get a hearing test, which helps the doctor determine how much hearing loss you have. This is essential in determining what the next steps are for you and your hearing health.
If your doctor or specialist sees an issue, they may run comprehensive tests, which will help determine how bad your hearing loss is. They will test both ears (as hearing loss will differentiate between ears).
2. You'll Receive Counseling and Education
Losing your hearing isn't an easy thing. A good hearing health provider will ensure that you get counseling to deal with the emotional aspects of hearing loss.
You shouldn't walk away from your hearing appointment without an understanding of your hearing loss, what will happen if you don't treat your hearing loss, and the products/treatments that are available to you. You will also likely get some demonstrations, or at least overviews, of the hearing aid products that will best suit you.
3. Aftercare Is Expected
Not only do you need to care for your hearing aid, whether it's an over-the-ear or an implant, you'll also need to have it checked by the doctor once in a while to ensure it's still working properly. There is more to the aftercare of an implant, or BAHA hearing aid, than your general hearing aid (and more to getting fitted as well).
Photo Credit form Otago Daily Times
The Difference Between BAHA and Other
Hearing Aid Devices
When traditional hearing aids are no longer working for you, this is when it may be time for a bone-anchored hearing aid. The most significant area in hearing aids that needs comparisons is between the BAHA and the BCHA, which is a bone conduction hearing aid.
Most people refer to BAHA as an implant, while the BCHA is simply referred to as a hearing aid. They both work to stimulate the inner ear, cochlea, but they do this differently – they are used differently.
The biggest difference is that the BAHA has a titanium section that is implanted surgically, while the BCHA is not an implant. The BCHA looks much like air conduction hearing aids that people use most often. The BAHA also has an outer part that is used.
The standard air conduction hearing aid is most often used for sensorineural and cochlear hearing loss, while the BAHA and BCHA are used to assist in hearing loss caused by microtia and atresia equally. The BAHA is a costlier option, listed via insurance purposes, as a medical device, and the BCHA is simply listed as a hearing aid (so your choice may simply depend on the style you want and what your insurance will cover).
Looking at the BAHA Hearing Aid Options
When it comes to bone-anchored hearing aids, there are three manufacturers making them. The main company, which is the overall focus of this review, is the Cochlear Corporation. They developed the BAHA hearing apparatus which actually goes by the name BAHA (and they are a well-known name in the business of hearing).
There is also the Ponto hearing aid from Oticon, as well as the Sophono from Medtronic. Each differs in some way - The Sophono connects through a magnet implanted into the skull to hold it on, and the BAHA hearing aid from Cochlear uses a metal “stud” or abutment to connect the device.
BAHA Hearing Aid Options From Cochlear
The current BAHA hearing aid in production from Cochlear is the BAHA5, which comes in a few different options. Which one will work for you depends on your hearing loss and suggestions by your medical provider.
The BAHA comes with a head-worn sound processor – with three different ones available. Each processor offers a different degree of assistance, up to 65 db.
For someone suffering from hearing loss up to 45dB, the BAHA 5 Sound Processor is an ideal option for many reasons. First, it's smaller than other hearing devices of its type – 20% smaller. Its size doesn't make it work less at helping you hear. Another benefit of the BAHA 5 is that it is made for the iPhone.
There are five different color options for this incredibly small BAHA hearing aid (which look to be made to blend with your hair). This option offers a dedicated volume control with push button usage (for turning it on and off). It uses size 312 hearing aid batteries.
Because there are many variables and factors that go into how a hearing aid works for each individual, you want to keep in mind that reviews are often subjective. Differences in hearing loss and care of the device can alter how someone views its overall rating.
With that in mind, this little wonder has mostly great reviews across the board when you take some time to review the sites that talk about it. Hearing Tracker has a large questionnaire users fill out when they want to review an item, and many of the reviewers have pointed out that this BAHA hearing aid has changed their lives.
The benefits, aside from the convenient size, include the ease of the implant surgery. The main complaints people had revolved around the fact that you need an iPhone in order to control the volume – which may be an inconvenience for some (maybe the company could also make it compatible with Android devices for more options in control).
The BAHA Power Sound Processor is made for people that have a hearing loss up to 55dB. It was created to increase amplification in various listening environments for those people that have a more substantial hearing loss.
This middle ground BAHA hearing aid offers a dedicated volume control, and push-button operation. It also works with the iPhone. It uses size 675 hearing aid batteries (which give you around 160 hours of sound, before you need to change the batteries).
This device comes in the same 5 colors as the smaller BAHA 5. It also has an LED indicator light. This light lets you know that the hearing aid is in working order.
The Power has received better reviews than the smaller BAHA hearing aid. Users like the “closer to natural” sound it gives them compared to traditional hearing aids. While it doesn't have solid 5-star reviews or 100% ratings in all possible categories, many of the people that
have this implant find it better than the alternatives and that the benefits outweigh their minor complaints.
According to reviews on sites like Hearing Tracker, and elsewhere, the SuperPower from BAHA is the elite hearing aid. It gets the best reviews out of the bunch and is well worth the investment for those that have a hearing loss of up to 65dB. This is a large degree of hearing loss, making this a powerful device.
There are a couple of pretty exciting things about this particular hearing aid. First, it is a head-worn bone-conducting hearing aid, the first of its kind. Second, the device’s actuator and microphones that are located behind the ear sound processor have a cable separating them into two different units – this allows more sound potential.
Because it has two microphones, this BAHA hearing aid gives clearer and more natural hearing to people with hearing loss. It also has an LED indicator light that lets you know the device is working. On top of all of that, it also has a rechargeable battery – so it will save you money over time.
While this hearing aid option only has 4 colors to choose from, it's still the best option when choosing between the hearing aids that are offered under the BAHA 5 moniker. It's also compatible with the iPhone.
Reviews say that this device has brought sounds to people that have never heard certain sounds before. It is the ideal choice in hearing aids for someone that has a substantial loss and wants an easy-to-use aid that offers so many benefits.
The Overall Consensus on the BAHA Hearing aid
These hearing aids may not be for everyone. People that don't have a fondness for modern technology may not like that they need to control their BAHA 5 with an iPhone, but that connection to technology is opening up a whole new world in hearing.
Don't expect to find much information when researching the cost of these individual hearing aids. Out-of-pocket, it would cost thousands of dollars for one. However, often, your insurance will cover a majority, if not all, of the cost of a hearing device – although this completely depends on your insurance plan. The company often has discounts available and deals on upgrading your hearing aid, too.
Final Thoughts on the BAHA Hearing Aid
When it comes to hearing aids, the BAHA hearing aid should definitely be in your top considerations. Coming from a company like Cochlear that works hard at staying in touch with the latest in hearing technology, you can expect a hearing aid choice that will give you the most benefits.