Bone conduction hearing aids, also called BCI, have appeared to be the latest development in the ongoing battle against hearing loss. While it was once regarded as being nothing more than a far-fetched idea, the latest experiments suggest that it can be one of the most viable options in hearing aid technology. In fact, scientists believe that bone conduction technology can be the key to full hearing restoration in the near future. While the technology must still go through certain phases of experimentation before complete implementation, the outlook is good. It is important for everyone who is affected, or even knows someone who is affected, by hearing loss to understand how this profound new technology works.
Explained in the simplest fashion, bone conduction hearing aids will serve as a replacement for damaged middle ear sections. After all, the middle ear is where the majority of hearing loss takes place, by not allowing for the sound to be interpreted by the inner ear. Most of the modern forms of hearing aids are implanted in the skull by a titanium anchor, but the bone conduction type of hearing aid is different. It is merely attached to the skull in a subcutaneous location behind ear. Aside from having a much lower fish and incidence of skin infection as a result of an open implant site, the BCI offers incredible benefits in terms of hearing ability.
The bone conduction hearing implant is composed of three pieces. There is the titanium implant that is attached to the skull, the abutment which is used as a mount, and then the sound processor which is attached to the abutment. The process of “hearing” through the sound processor is designed to circumvent the middle ear, unlike the traditional hearing aid which amplifies the sounds in the ear canal. Once sound is channeled into the processor it is sent to the abutment, which is then sent through the skull and interpreted by the inner ear. Aside from being able to help individuals with complete hearing loss, it works perfectly for those who have single-sided deafness. The sound is channeled through the skull to the good ear, allowing for hearing to be perceived by the brain.
Since it is still the topic of several studies in universities who are looking to confirm the early results, BCIs have not yet been approved for use. After all, the latest bone conduction technology is still in development. The thousands of people that have been fitted with anchored hearing aids have allowed the implementation phase to be streamlined, but we are still at least a year away from seeing this as a solution for hearing loss. From individuals suffering from hearing loss, to the doctors and scientists trying to bring this technology to fruition, nearly everyone remains optimistic about the future of bone conduction implants.