Tuesday, January 03, 2012


Robert Carlsen with simulated cat ears
BAHA - no, I'm not going to Mexico on vacation.

My BAHA stands for "bone anchored hearing assistance". It's my third year with one deaf ear;  I fare poorly at social events and it's getting old. The holiday parties which I used to enjoy are now a matter of endurance. Straining to hear every word and hearing only half what's said is exhausting. The worst of it is being dismissed by conversationalists who quickly realize I'm oohing and ahing in all the wrong places. I can see the realization in people's eyes as they turn away and go for another drink. I don't blame them - so would I.
A regular hearing aid would do nothing to improve my hearing as the nerves are dead, engulfed by my ever-changing tumor. The only option to me for hearing improvement is the BAHA. It consists of a  sound processor anchored in the skull. Sound comes into the receiver and it's transferred through the bone to the other hearing ear. The processor attaches to a titanium anchor or abutment implanted in the skull. The "saw bones", which is an appropriate epithet in this case, describe it as "easy surgery". Easy or not, you have to give the situation a lot of thought before letting anyone near your skull with a drill.

Results reported by people who wear a BAHA are mixed. Some rave; others feel it's a marginal improvement and still others suffer with infections around the abutment and headaches. Ugh.

I'm thinking about the lower-tech stuff. No infections, but I'll definitely have to get a bigger purse to carry the things around.

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