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Complications and Bone-Anchored Hearing Aids 

Kiringoda and Lustig (2013) reviewed the peer-reviewed literature based on the search terms "bone-anchored hearing aid" for articles published between 2000 and 2011. After excluding articles that didn’t meet their pre-established criteria, the authors reported 20 articles encompassing some 2,134 patients who underwent 2,310 implant procedures.

Kiringoda and Lustig note that most complications were minor, including skin reactions (from 2 percent to 38 percent of all patients reported), failure to osseointegrate (up to 18 percent in adults, up to 14 percent in children), revision surgeries (up to 35 percent in adults, up to 44 percent  in children) and implant loss (up to 17 percent in adults and up to 25 percent in children). 

The authors note that "the quality of large-scale and/or prospective studies reporting the incidence of complications after osseointegrated hearing aid surgery is poor and lacks uniformity…." Nonetheless, Kiringoda and Lustig note that there has been a lack of major complications (with respect to osseointegrated hearing aid surgery) and they conclude "osseointegrated implantation is a safe procedure" for adults and pediatric populations.

The authors also note that the most common bone-anchored hearing aid is the BAHA by Cochlear Corp, and a more recent implant is the "Ponto," manufactured by Oticon Medical. Kiringoda and Lustig report there are no major studies in the literature that compare complication rates between the two devices.

More Information, References, and Recommendations

Kiringoda R, Lustig LR. (2013) A Meta-Analysis of the Complications Associated with Osseointegrated Hearing Aids. Otology & Neurotology 34:790-794.

Lanis A, Hultcrantz M. (2013) Percutaneous Osseointegrated Implant Surgery Without Skin Thinning in Children – A Retrospective Case Review. Otology & Neurotology 34(4):715-722.

McDermott AL, Williams J, Kuo M, Reid A, Proops D. (2009) The Birmingham Pediatric Bone-Anchored Hearing Aid Program: A 15-Year Experience. Otology and Neurotology 30(2):178-183.

Tjellstrom A. (2010) Bone-Anchored Hearing Aids: From a Test Project to An Established Clinical Routine. ENT & Audiology News 19(1):38-40.

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