OBJECTIVES: Despite good results on osseointegration and limited skin reactions with percutaneous bone conductors, there remains room for improvement. Especially in children, adverse events with percutaneous bone conductors might occur more frequently. Transcutaneous bone conductors, if powerful enough, can provide a solution that minimizes adverse events and implant loss. This study compares a new transcutaneous bone conduction hearing aid, the Sophono Alpha 1 (Sophono), with the percutaneous BAHA system (BAHA).
METHODS: In our tertiary referral center, 12 patients (age 5-12 yr) with congenital unilateral conductive hearing loss were enrolled in the study as follows: 6 patients with the Sophono and 6 with the BAHA. Both clinical results and audiologic data were gathered. For an objective audiologic comparison between both systems, we used a skull simulator.
RESULTS: The skin reactions were comparable between both groups, in 1 implant was lost 1 month after second phase surgery (BAHA). The users received audiologic benefits from both systems. The BAHA-based outcome was slightly better compared with Sophono-based results in sound field thresholds, speech recognition threshold, and speech comprehension at 65 dB. The skull simulator demonstrated that the BAHA device has an output that is 10 to 15 dB higher compared with the Sophono device.
CONCLUSION: The Sophono offers appealing clinical benefits of transcutaneous bone conduction hearing; however, the audiologic challenges of transcutaneous application remain, as the Sophono does not exceed percutaneous application regarding audiologic output.
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