Implantable Devices

Bone Anchored Hearing Device (BAHA)

Some hearing losses are a result of sound not effectively reaching the inner ear due to problems in the ear canal and/or the middle ear. This results in a conductive loss. In this case, or when there is no usable hearing in one ear, the Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA) may be the best option for improved hearing. The BAHA system, which is based on bone conduction, utilizes a titanium implant, which is placed in the skull bone behind the non-functioning ear. An abutment connects the sound processor with the implant in the bone.

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The implantation of the BAHA is a simple procedure done in the operating room which takes approximately 1 hour. A special skin graft is performed behind the ear, and the skin follicles and fat are removed from the scalp. A hole is drilled into the skull and the titanium screw and abutment are inserted together. The skin is brought over the abutment, and a small hole is made in the skin through which the abutment protrudes. The skin is sewn back into position and dressings are applied. There is little post-operative pain and patients are able to return to most functions of their lives the next day. The skin is usually healed within 2 weeks, but the BAHA is not worn for 2 months, giving time for the bone to osseo-integrate into the titanium screw.

Cochlear Implants

A cochlear implant is an electronic medical device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear. Unlike hearing aids, which make sounds louder, cochlear implants do the work of damaged parts of the inner ear (cochlea) to provide sound signals to the brain.

Cochlear implants systems consist of both internal and external components. The internal device is surgically implanted and requires an external sound processor to function. The sound processor can be worn at ear level and consists of a microphone, processor, and transmitting coil that connects with the internal device on the scalp behind the ear.

Cochlear implants can help people who:

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Have moderate to profound hearing loss in both ears
Receive little or no benefit from appropriately fit hearing aids

Once candidacy is determined, the patient is scheduled for a medical consultation with our cochlear implant surgeon, Benjamin J. Copeland, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Copeland may require additional diagnostic tests to determine the status of the inner ear.

Schedule an Appointment

Cochlear implant surgery is typically an outpatient procedure, performed under general anesthesia. It lasts approximately two hours. During the procedure, the surgeon exposes the mastoid bone behind the ear canal and drills a small channel to the inner ear. The electrodes are threaded into the inner ear and the receiver coil is placed in the bone behind the ear. The skin is closed over the receiver/stimulator. A pressure bandage is placed to reduce swelling around the incision.


After surgery, you’ll need to allow two to three weeks for healing. After everything is healed, “fitting” the external parts takes place. During the initial activation, the headpiece and microphone are placed over the implant. The speech processor is connected to the headpiece and the audiologist’s computer. The audiologist activates the electrodes individually and the cochlear implant user indicates when sound is detected and when it is comfortably loud. These measurements are used to program or “MAP” the speech processor for the implant recipient. Subsequent programming and evaluations are completed as recommended by the cochlear implant audiologist.

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Nothing is more important to realizing the benefits of having a cochlear implant than auditory rehabilitation therapy. Auditory rehabilitation, utilizes structured activities that should be carried over into real life to optimize the use of the new signal. It may involve exercises to discriminate between specific sounds or to identify single words. Many professionals suggest that individuals generally will need to master discrimination and identification of specific sounds and words in order to be successful at the next level of listening — that involving comprehension of statements and questions and effective participation in conversation.Improvements following initial programming sessions tend to happen quickly, but further improvements can surface for many months and even years with auditory rehabilitation. The involvement of your family and friends in the therapeutic process greatly enhances success.

Have Questions?

Implantable device services are only available at certain locations.
Please contact our cochlear implant audiologists for any cochlear implant related questions or to schedule an appointment.

Julie Bower, M.S., CCC-A Methodist Hospital location in Downtown Indianapolis
Barbara Luikart, M.A., CCC-A IU North Hospital location in Carmel, IN