JAMA Logo Over the past 30 years, bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) has apparently been an established treatment option for auditory rehabilitation in patients diagnosed with chronic conductive or mixed hearing loss. A recent study asserts bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) to be a helpful tool in improving hearing and quality of life among kids with hearing loss in one or both ears. This treatment has allegedly been a popular option for children with bilateral conductive hearing loss as they are too young for going through alternative surgical options.

In order to conduct the investigation, authors thoroughly scrutinized data on 31 children who were current BAHA users. Information was accumulated through questionnaires filled in by the children and their parents. It was mentioned that eligible children were a minimum of 4 years old at the time of BAHA fitting and had been using the device for one to four years. While 16 study subjects were suffering from bilateral hearing loss, 15 had unilateral hearing loss.

All the questionnaires were composed of four parts measuring the child’s daily use of the BAHA, health-related quality of life immediately after the BAHA fitting, auditory functioning and overall quality of life. 81 percent representing 13 children from the bilateral hearing loss group were using the BAHA for more than eight hours a day. And 75 percent forming 12 kids claimed to have benefited from daily use. Among the unilateral hearing loss group, seven presenting 47 percent used their BAHA for more than eight hours a day and six forming 40 percent employed it between four and eight hours a day. A total of 10 children representing 67 percent from this group reportedly felt that the device was worth the effort.

Maarten J. F. de Wolf, M.D., and colleagues at the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands, note that in both subgroups, a younger age at the time of the BAHA fitting was linked with greater benefit and a higher quality of life after continued use. The BAHA was possibly unable to provide any large benefit on learning, especially in the bilateral hearing loss group. Even though the device seemingly benefits the unilateral hearing loss group also, experts recommend daily use of BAHA for the bilateral hearing loss group.

The study is published in the February issue of Archives of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.