Living With My Bone Anchored Hearing System
Living With My Bone Anchored Hearing System
Whether you are wearing the BAHS on a softband/headband or you went through the implant procedure and are wearing it on an abutment or a magnet, it is very important that you understand the ins and outs of using your device so that you can make the most out of life with your BAHS!
Placing the Device on Your Head
Before attaching a sound processor, it is always a good idea to make sure the battery is inserted properly, and the device is working. Turn on the sound processor (typically by closing the battery door) and hold it in your hand. Speak gently into the device and you should feel the vibrations if the battery is working properly. If there is no sound or feelings of vibration from the device, replace the battery with the new one. Now to put it on:
- Start by moving any hair away from the abutment.
- Hold the processor with the large portion positioned upwards.
- Place the snap coupling of the device over the abutment at an angle – tilt it and rock it carefully into place. The tilt technique reduces the pressure on the abutment. Whistling/feedback during this process is normal. If this sound gives you discomfort, either mute the device or keep the battery door open until it is secure on the abutment.
- Make sure the sound processor is not touching any other items such as eyeglasses or a hat.
Learning to Hear with Your BAHS
There is always an adaptation period when an individual begins wearing a hearing device for the first time. Hearing aids are not like glasses in which you put them on and usually no follow up is required – your eyes adjust quickly. With hearing, it takes time for your brain to adjust to the new way you are hearing in order to make sense of all the (new) sounds you are hearing.
During this adaptation period, everyday noises may sound extremely loud (indicator in the car, running water, dishes clinking). The brain and the ear must suddenly start working together in order for the brain to re-learn and understand the sounds around you. It takes time for your brain to make these connections and strengthen the pathways from sound to meaning.
Your brain will also need time to learn how to supress background noise and focus on important sounds, like speech. For these reasons it is very important that you wear your device all waking hours in order to give your brain as much opportunity to learn how to hear with your BAHS. And training your brain to hear (with your device) in quiet will help fine-tune your auditory system so that you can hear better in more complex listening situations. The more you wear it the quicker the process and the sooner you can make the most out of life with you BAHS!
Tips for Getting Used to Your BAHS:
- Give yourself time and be patient. Wear your hearing device regularly will help you adapt to the normal ambient noises around you. It will also increase your ability to filter out the less important sounds.
- Use a hearing diary. Here, you can write down your listening experiences with different sounds in your environment. It allows you to monitor your progress of hearing new sounds. It also helps to keep track of the environments in which you are hearing well, and which ones you are not so you can discuss this with you audiologist at your follow up appointment.
- Start slow and work your way up to full time use. It’s easier to start wearing the device in calm and familiar environments like at home. You may also feel the need to take short breaks without the device which is fine to start. As you work your way up to full time use, you can progressively engage in more noisy and difficult listening environments.
- Familiarize yourself with the device and its functionality. Read through the “instructions for use” booklets that come with the device. Make sure you understand how the device works and what additional functionality it may have (connectivity, program switching, etc.). Knowing how to make the most out of your device will help the overall benefit and success of daily usage!
- Have a positive perspective about your BAHS. Our perception of the world can be extremely powerful so having a positive attitude towards your BAHS will help you succeed with it. Knowing how to explain what it is, how it works and how it benefits you to family and friends will lead to better acceptance of the device. And have fun with it!
Talk to your audiologist if you are unclear or have any questions about using your device. They want you to succeed with it just as much as you do!
Caring for Your BAHS
In order to get the most out of your device and prolong the life of your sound processor, regular cleaning and basic care are necessary.
- Use a soft brush to gently remove any dust/skin particles that could be lodged in the microphone ports and around the coupler.
- Make sure not to brush it with too much pressure, be gentle.
- Use alcohol-free wipes to clean the sound processor (all the sides, back and front of the device). Don’t use soap and water to clean the device, as too much water can damage the internal electronics.
- Open the battery door and brush the inside the door and around the battery. The cover should easily open and close.
- Perform a daily sound check to make sure it is working properly. If it doesn’t sound right to you, talk to your audiologist.
BAHS In Everyday Life
BAHS devices are designed to withstand almost all basic daily activities. The goal is to wear the device all waking hours without discomfort or disruption so it must be designed with that in mind. However, there are some certain situations in which it is better NOT to be wearing your BAHS:
- Showering or swimming. since the processor is not waterproof it should not be submerged under water for long periods of time. Most devices are water resistant so getting slightly wet inadvertently is ok but it should be avoided when possible.
- For young children, bath time can be a very intimate moment between child and caregiver with lots of opportunity for connection and language learning. In these cases, it may be ok to keep the device on as long as you are careful not to direct water on the device or submerge it.
- Sleeping. Take the device off when you are sleeping to save battery life. There is no harm in sleeping with the device, but most people take them off since it isn’t necessary during sleeping hours. Feedback is more likely to occur and can be uncomfortable. Also, you might knock it off the abutment during your sleep.
- If you are engaging in certain vigorous, or dangerous activities such as high contact sports or extreme adventures (sky diving, white water rafting, etc.) it may be better to take it off to keep it safe from loss.
- Always take it off (and cover the abutment site) before using any hair products such as hairspray. These products can clog and damage the microphones on the sound processor.
- Because of the nature and components of the internal device, remove the sound processor if you are getting a magnetic resonance imagining (MRI) or when going through security at the airport.