New procedure makes hearing-impaired ‘all ears’

Kingston, ON, Canada / CKWS TV

Imagine losing your ability to hear – and the use of traditional hearing aids does nothing to help.

Now Kingston’s Hotel Dieu Hospital is able to help those patients with its new ‘BAHA’ Technology.

Dr. Jason Beyea: “He doesn’t have a normal ear canal or eardrum.So the really neat thing about the Bone Anchored Hearing Aid, is that it can actually bypass that so that it can go directly into his inner ear.”

BAHA stands for ‘Bone Anchored Hearing Aid.

Last July, Adam Pennock was Kingston’s first recipient of the BAHA Technology.

He lost the use of his right ear after the removal of a brain tumor damaged his ear canal.

Had it not been for its availability at Hotel Dieu, Pennock would have had to travel Toronto or Ottawa for the surgery.

Dr. Jason Beyea: “Afterwards it needs close follow up with the physician and the audiologist so it’s really helpful if they can be implanted somewhere close to home.”

A short surgery is required to place a titanium implant inside a bone in your ear – once it heals a sound processor is attached and provides the patient with the ability to hear clearly.

Adam Pennock: “If I was driving, I couldn’t hear the kids in the back seat. But with this in I can hear them completely fine”

The surgery is pretty quick too.

From start to finish it takes less than half an hour – but the implant needs to settle for a few months before they can turn on the battery-operated device.

Adam Pennock: “If I’m playing hockey, I can just pop it out and stick my helmet on and I’m good to go. And soccer it’s the same thing.”

However while the surgery to install the hearing aid is covered by OHIP, the actual transmitter is not – and can cost up to 8 thousand dollars.

But for many who do suffer from hearing loss, the ability to hear again is priceless.

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