Verification of Speech Spectrum Audibility for Pediatric Baha Softband Users With Craniofacial Anomalies

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Objective:The purpose of this study was (1) to determine benefit of the Baha Softband coupled to the Softband for infants and children with bilateral conductive hearing loss; and (2) to verify audibility of the speech spectrum for octave frequencies 500 through 4000 Hz.Design:The research design for this retrospective chart study is pretestposttest repeated measures.Setting:The study was conducted in the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, Arkansas Children's Hospital.Participants:Twenty-five children aged 6 months to 18 years with craniofacial disorders and bilateral conductive hearing loss participated in the study. Participants were consistent, full-time unilateral Baha users with the Baha Compact bone-conduction amplifier coupled to the head via the Softband.Interventions:The intervention was the Baha device coupled to the head via the Softband as a prerequisite to surgical implantation.Main Outcome Measure(s):The primary study outcome measures used aided and unaided soundfield audiometric thresholds to calculate functional gain. Audibility of the speech spectrum was verified by comparison with target aided thresholds.Results:Results revealed an improvement in soundfield thresholds with Baha amplification for the four octave frequencies. Means, standard deviations, and confidence intervals for aided and unaided thresholds are reported. Percentages of thresholds meeting target levels were significant at all frequencies, exceeding the 80% criterion.Conclusions:Benefit of the Baha in providing audibility of the speech spectrum for infants and children with bilateral congenital conductive hearing loss has been demonstrated, offering important and timely data supporting third-party reimbursement.

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