Bone Anchored Hearing Systems: When Hearing Aids Aren’t Enough

A Message for Veterans with Hearing Loss

Many veterans experience hearing loss due to physical trauma endured while on duty. Many of these losses may be treatable with traditional hearing aids. However, some forms of hearing loss—typically involving damage to the outer ear, ear canal, or other physical components—may not be. Yet many vets are unaware that they have options beyond regular hearing aids, such as bone anchored hearing systems (BAHS).

If you served your country, you may qualify to receive coverage from the government for a BAHS. Read on to learn more about this advanced treatment and whether it might be the solution you need.

Types of Hearing Loss Commonly Experienced by Veterans

More than 1.3 million US veterans receive disability compensation for hearing loss. Considering how frequently military personnel are exposed to extremely loud sounds for extended periods, including explosions, weapons fire, military air-and-seacrafts, and more, it is no surprise that so many experience noise-induced hearing damage, aka sensorineural hearing loss. This form of hearing loss is most often treated with traditional, air conduction hearing aids—the removable devices worn either in the ear or behind the ear.

However, hearing losses related to physical injuries typically require an alternative treatment that utilizes bone conduction to improve hearing ability. Known as conductive hearing losses, these may result from the loss of the pinna (outer ear), damage or loss of the ear canal, or similar injuries. Those with single-sided deafness—whether due to sensorineural or conductive hearing loss—may also experience better results from bone conduction.

Bone Anchored Hearing Systems Aid Certain Service-Related Hearing Losses

As mentioned above, bone anchored hearing treatment utilizes bone conduction to improve hearing ability. While regular hearing aids go in or on the ear to receive, amplify, and clarify sound, BAHS are worn on small, implanted posts called abutments near the ear. Bone conduction may be a viable option if your cochlea (inner ear) is still intact and functional.

A processor that receives sound is snapped onto the abutment a few weeks following implantation. This device transmits sound via unnoticeable vibrations through your skull bone, bypassing the damaged or missing portions of your ear, directly into the cochlea. The sound is then sent to your brain for normal processing as comprehensible speech, music, or other sounds.

Next Steps for Vets Interested in Bone Conduction

If you think your hearing loss might be treatable with a BAHS, your first step should be to contact your local Veterans Administration and schedule an appointment with an audiology professional. Depending on your past service, you might qualify for free or reduced-cost hearing healthcare, including diagnosis and treatment. You may also qualify for monthly disability compensation payments, tax-free. Please note that if you don’t live near a VA hearing clinic or the wait is extensive, you might be able to utilize VA Community Care to see a local hearing healthcare provider.

To find out which benefits you qualify for, please contact your local VA medical center representative.

Oticon Medical Ponto System for Veterans

Oticon Medical offers bone anchored hearing solutions that are used by wearers all over the world to help them overcome hearing loss at home, work, and in social situations. For more information on our minimally invasive Ponto™ surgery for implantation of an abutment and our most current technology, the Ponto 5 family of hearing processors, please visit our website.

2 thoughts on “Bone Anchored Hearing Systems: When Hearing Aids Aren’t Enough

  1. Lorrie

    Hello I have a bone anchor ponto mini I wish they could come up with magnet or something cause eventually the pressure of connecting it is going to become loose. It happened to my sister. I was an experiment back in 88 and it was anchored by a magnet I would rather have the magnet cause mine is having a space around it. I was the only one out of 8 that it worked for in the world. Was the best life so I would like to see magnet devise again. If it is available some day let me know ty

    Reply
    1. Hildy Silverman Post author

      Hello Lorrie. It is extremely rare for a Ponto to become loose even over years when put on and remove as directed. That said, we are always working on innovations when it comes to hearing devices, so the option you’re seeking might indeed become available at a future date. Stay tuned for future announcements!

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