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Open Access Open Badges Original research article

The current practice trends in pediatric bone-anchored hearing aids in Canada: a national clinical and surgical practice survey

C Carrie Liu15*, Neil K Chadha2, Manohar Bance34 and Paul Hong34

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada

2 Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, B.C. Children’s Hospital, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

3 Division of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, IWK Health Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada

4 School of Human Communication Disorders, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada

5 Foothills Medical Centre, 1403-29 Street NW, South Tower Room 602, Calgary, AB T2N 2T9, Canada

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Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery 2013, 42:43  doi:10.1186/1916-0216-42-43

Published: 1 July 2013



Since the introduction of bone-anchored hearing aids (BAHAs) in the 1980s, the practices of surgeons who implant these hearing aids have become varied; different indications and surgical techniques are utilized depending on the surgeon and institution. The objective of the current study is to describe the clinical and surgical practices of otolaryngologists in Canada who perform pediatric BAHA operations.


A detailed practice questionnaire was devised and sent to all members of the Canadian Society of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Those who performed pediatric BAHA surgeries were asked to participate.


Twelve responses were received (response rate of 80%). All of the respondents identified congenital aural atresia to be an indication for pediatric BAHAs. Other indications were chronic otitis externa or media with hearing loss (92%), allergic reactions to conventional hearing aids (75%), congenital fixation or anomaly of ossicular chain (67%), and unilateral deafness (25%). Minor complications, such as skin reactions, were reported in 25% of cases, while major complications were very rare. There was great variability with regards to surgical techinque and post-operative management. The extent of financial support for the BAHA hardware and device also varied between provinces, and even within the same province.


There is a lack of general consensus regarding pediatric BAHA surgeries in Canada. With such a small community of otolaryngologists performing this procedure, we are hopeful that this survey can serve as an impetus for a national collaboration to establish a set of general management principles and inspire multi-site research ventures.

Bone-anchored hearing aid; BAHA; Surgical practice; Clinical practice; Practice survey; Pediatrics