What is a bone conduction implant?
A bone conduction implant (BoneBridge™) is a medical aid implanted in the mastoid bone behind the ear which mechanically vibrates the inner ear.
This vibration mimics the action of sound waves passing down the ear canal, through the ear drum, the small bones in the middle ear and then the inner ear. This vibration bypasses any abnormality in the ear canal or middle ear or the need for a conventional hearing aid if it cannot be worn.
The bone conduction implant system has two components; an internal part and an external part.
The external part is called the audio processor and is held in place by a magnetic force.
The internal part is implanted during a surgical procedure.
Who is it for?
This device is for patients with mild to moderate conductive hearing loss who can’t wear hearing aids, for example patients with discharging ears or no ear canals.
As the bone conduction implant is not fixed through the skin, it is particularly appropriate for patients who have medical conditions that may result in poor fixation or soft tissue healing, for example patients with diabetes, a history of keloid scarring, hygiene issues, skin conditions, and so on.
What happens during the surgery?
The surgery is done under a general anaesthetic and takes about an hour. An incision is made behind the ear and the mastoid bone is opened to fit the implant. The implant is secured to the bone with two small screws and the wound is neatly closed.
The follow-up appointments will be to program the device, show you and your child how to use it and test how well they can hear with it.
After the surgery
Your child will go home on the same day as your operation or the next day.
The stitches should dissolve by themselves but please don’t wash your child's hair or get the wound wet until after it has been checked here or by your local doctor.
Your child might feel tired for a few days after the operation while they recover from the anaesthetic.
Your child's device will be activated about six weeks after the operation. They will have at least two more appointments for fine-tuning and testing of the device. They may also need to attend review appointments every year.