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Objectives: The advantages of binaural hearing are well established and universally accepted. However, a tendency remains to withhold the benefits of binaural hearing to adults and children with one normal ear. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate the benefit of the bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) in a group of patients with unilateral conductive or mixed hearing loss.

Study Design: This is a prospective study of nine patients (five males and four female patients) with conductive or mixed hearing loss who met the criteria for BAHA except for having normal hearing in the other ear. They had congenital aural atresia or mastoidectomies secondary to chronic ear infections with or without cholesteatoma or had a temporal bone tumor excised

Methods: Patients had evaluations before and after implantation, including audiological testing and responses to a standardized hearing handicap questionnaire. Statistical analyses of the data were made using the Wilcoxon signed rank test and the paired Student t test for repeated measures.

Results: All patients had tonal and spondee threshold improvement with BAHA when compared with thresholds before treatment. Speech recognition performance in BAHA-aided conditions was comparable to the patient's best score in unaided condition. Patients reported a significant improvement in their hearing handicap scores with the BAHA.

Conclusions: The use of BAHA has significantly improved the hearing handicap scores in patients with unilateral conductive or mixed hearing loss. The proven safety and efficacy of the device promote its use in unilateral cases that traditionally had been left unaided.

(C) The American Laryngological, Rhinological & Otalogical Society, Inc.