Rehabilitating Patients with Bone Conduction Hearing Devices: Two Effective Alternatives
Conference poster, 2017
Bone conduction devices (BCDs) are today widely used to rehabilitate patients suffering from specific types of hearing impairment, when the main hearing loss originates in the middle or outer ear. BCDs act by stimulating the skull bone with vibrations that are directly transmitted to the cochlea in the inner ear and result in a hearing sensation, referred to as bone conduction hearing.
BCDs are on the market since several decades in various alternative designs, externally worn or partially implanted. In 1977 the first bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA) was implanted in a patient in Gothenburg, and now this technology is one of the most used all over the world. A novel device, the BCI (Bone Conduction Implant), was developed in collaboration between Chalmers and Sahlgrenska in the past few years. The BCI is an alternative to the well-established BAHA that aims at overcoming some of its limitations mainly related to the skin-penetrating abutment.
In this study, the well-established BAHA and the novel BCI are compared in terms of rehabilitation effect on hearing impaired patients. The purpose of comparing the BCI with an established device available on the market is to find out if the BCI can be a valuable rehabilitation alternative for indicated patients.
Audiometric measurements and user self-reported questionnaires were performed on two groups of patients, one fitted with the BCI and one fitted with BAHAs.
Six BCI users were included in the study as part of the clinical trial for the device, and six BAHA users were selected in order to match them one by one in terms of hearing ability, gender and age.
The overall results from the performed measurements show a clear improvement over the unaided condition for both devices. Outcomes from the audiometric tests as well as from the patient-related measurements were comparable in the two groups.
The two devices seem to give an equally satisfactory rehabilitation for indicated patients. The novel BCI is shown to be a successful example of translational science, where the collaboration between Chalmers and Sahlgrenska provided solid bases to integrate technical and medical requirements.