I am finally due for an upgrade of my Bone Anchored Hearing Aid this year! Woohoooo! Can you tell I’m excited?!
On Monday I have an audiology appointment to review my hearing and receive an upgrade of my BAHA. Woo! Finally! Why am I so excited and relieved? Because I can’t wait to enter the ‘digital hearing’ world. Whilst I LOVE my Divino, I think I would benefit more from the new features of today’s digital hearing aids. These are things such speech recognition, reducing background noise and feedback and using the new wireless accessories.
Here in the UK, we are fortunate to have the National Health Service (NHS) – a publicly funded healthcare organisation. For me, this means I can get a new processor every few years. The only thing is, we don’t get to choose which BAHA we get. Each hospital chooses which hearing aids they offer. This all depends on costing and which hearing aid they feel is best and (hopefully) patient feedback.
Technology has improved enormously over the years (thank goodness!) – with the release of the new transcutaneous BAHAs – which use of magnets instead of a screw protruding through the skin. I think it’s time I give a brief update. There are 3 baha manufacturers.
The first is Cochlear. This is the make I have (I wear a hearing aid called the ‘Divino‘ which is very old now!), although I’m not quite in the digital age yet as I’m awaiting my upgrade. The new series is called the Baha 4. This comes as a connect system – with the screw, or as the attract system – with the magnets. In the UK the BAHA attract system is still in the research stages and not widely available. I have tried the wireless accessories for the Baha 4 and I think they’re amazing – I can’t wait to have my new hearing aid so I can have the accessories that come along with it. (N.B. In some hospitals in the UK you may have to pay for these, same for my international friends too!). There’s more info on the website for you to look at. They also have a blog with patient stories you might find useful: http://thebahablog.com.
I’ve already been told the next hearing aid I’ll get is made by Oticon Medical. Their hearing aids are called ‘Ponto’ (I would really love to know how they come up with that name!) – of which there are different models. With the newest version, the Ponto Plus you can also use the ‘Streamer‘ to connect with wireless accessories for use with the FM systems, TV, telephone and remote microphone. They also have a useful blog: http://oticonmedical.wordpress.com which you should definitely read!
The last one is Sophono. They offer the ‘magnet’ solution. Not many hospitals are offering this hearing aid. But, I know one or two people with this aid and they’re very happy with it.
As I’ve said before, each person is different, so what suits one person may not exactly be the best for you. Each hearing aid has its’ own advantages and disadvantages. Don’t be afraid to ask your audiologist questions and you can read other BAHA patient stories too.
I’ve been following other patient stories very closely so I am grateful to be in a position to know what to expect. If you’re on Facebook, there is a fab bunch of people on https://www.facebook.com/groups/BAHA.UK/. Also follow me on Twitter to keep up with me at @Arti_K_Patel. If you’re not into social media, there is also the baha users forum.
As I’m eagerly awaiting my new hearing aid, I have to admit that I feel a bit nervous. Using an analog hearing aid for so long, I am conscious that it is going to sound a bit different. But it’s time to move on and keep with the new technology.
Wish me luck, I’ll be back soon to update you all!