According to the Hearing Care Industry Association, hearing loss impacts the lives of one in six Australians. For *John, a 77 year old Thornton man, one of the most profound effects of losing his hearing was being unable to continue horse riding due to issues with balance. He can now look forward to getting back in the saddle after receiving the first ever Cochlear Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA) at Maitland Private Hospital on Thursday.
“This surgery is life changing for people who cannot wear a traditional hearing aid, due to ear malformation as a result of a birth defect, previous injury or disease such as cancer,” says local Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon Dr Johnson Huang.
John lost all hearing in his left ear 10 years ago after extensive surgery to remove cancer of the ear canal. Since that time the hearing in his right ear also began to deteriorate, greatly impacting his day to day life.
“John is unable to hear at all from the affected ear, so sound localisation is very difficult for him,” says Dr Huang. “He can hear the sound but he cannot locate where it is coming from. Balance also becomes an increasing concern.”
The innovative Cochlear BAHA device uses magnets to hold the hearing aid in place behind the ear, with sound being conducted through the skin and bone of the skull and into the inner ear, instead of through the ear canal. Its improved usability and discreet appearance make it an excellent alternative to a traditional hearing aid.
Maitland Private Hospital will continue to invest in the cutting-edge equipment required to perform procedures such as Cochlear BAHA implants. “It’s important for the people of Maitland and the Hunter Valley to be able to access the best and latest medical treatments close to home,” says CEO, Peter Cizzio. “We will continue to provide these options for patients to ensure the best health outcomes and quality of life for our community.”
*not patient’s real name