Objective: To compare the function of bone anchored hearing aids (BAHA) with conventional air conduction hearing aids (ACHA) by means of objective audiometric tests focusing on temporal acuity and consonant discrimination in quiet and noise, as well as subjective quality-of-life questionnaires.
Setting: Tertiary referral center.
Study design: Prospective.
Subjects: Patients using BAHAs because of profuse drainage from chronic suppurative otitis media, and a comparison group of healthy volunteers.
Main outcome measures: Objective measures: sound field audiograms, duration discrimination, gap discrimination, and final and initial consonant discrimination in quiet and in noise. Subjective measures: Sanders' Profiles, MOS SF-36 questionnaire.
Results: Normal-hearing subjects always performed better than hearing-impaired patients in all tests. When the BAHA was compared with the ACHA, there were no significant differences in any of the measures.
Conclusions: The BAHA and the ACHA provided similar audiometric functioning in audiometric tests. The BAHA, although using a nonphysiologic sound conduction route, did not sacrifice temporal processing ability or speech perception in noise, and should be considered for patients with profuse ear drainage.