The Birmingham bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) programme, since its inception in 1988, has fitted more than 300 patients with unilateral bone-anchored hearing aids. Recently, some of the patients who benefited extremely well with unilateral aids applied for bilateral amplification. To date, 15 patients have been fitted with bilateral BAHAs. The benefits of bilateral amplification have been compared to unilateral amplification in 11 of these patients who have used their second BAHA for 12 months or longer. Following a subjective analysis in the form of comprehensive questionnaires, objective testing was undertaken to assess specific issues such as ‘speech recognition in quiet’, ‘speech recognition in noise’ and a modified ‘speech-in-simulated-party-noise’ (Plomp) test.
‘Speech in quiet’ testing revealed a 100 per cent score with both unilateral and bilateral BAHAs. With ‘speech in noise’ all 11 patients scored marginally better with bilateral aids compared to best unilateral responses. The modified Plomp test demonstrated that bilateral BAHAs provided maximum flexibility when the origin of noise cannot be controlled as in day-to-day situations. In this small case series the results are positive and are comparable to the experience of the Nijmegen BAHA group.