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Biomed Res Int. 2018 Sep 25;2018:5264124. doi: 10.1155/2018/5264124. eCollection 2018.

Speech Understanding and Sound Localization with a New Nonimplantable Wearing Option for Baha.

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Hearing Research Laboratory, ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research, University of Bern, 3008 Bern, Switzerland.
Department of ENT, Head and Neck Surgery, Inselspital, University of Bern, 3010 Bern, Switzerland.



To measure the audiological benefit of the Baha SoundArc, a recently introduced nonimplantable wearing option for bone conduction sound processor, and to compare it with the known softband wearing option in subjects with normal cochlear function and a purely conductive bilateral hearing loss.


Both ears of 15 normal hearing subjects were occluded for the time of the measurement, yielding an average unaided threshold of 49 dB HL (0.5 - 4 kHz). Soundfield thresholds, speech understanding in quiet and in noise, and sound localization were measured in unaided conditions and with 1 or 2 Baha 5 sound processors mounted on either a softband or a SoundArc device.


Soundfield thresholds and speech reception thresholds were improved by 19.5 to 24.8 dB (p<.001), when compared to the unaided condition. Speech reception thresholds in noise were improved by 3.7 to 4.7 dB (p<.001). Using 2 sound processors rather than one improved speech understanding in noise for speech from the direction of the 2nd device and sound localization error by 23° to 28°. No statistically significant difference was found between the SoundArc and the softband wearing options in any of the tests.


Bone conduction sound processor mounted on a SoundArc or on a softband resulted in considerable improvements in hearing and speech understanding in subjects with a simulated, purely conductive, and bilateral hearing loss. No significant difference between the 2 wearing options was found. Using 2 sound processors improves sound localization and speech understanding in noise in certain spatial settings.

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