The Osia Bone Conduction Hearing Implant

What is the Osia, Bone Conduction Hearing implant?

The Osia is a bone conduction hearing system made by Cochlear Corporation. A bone conduction hearing implant is not a hearing aid. Instead, the Osia bone conduction implant is a combination of a sound processor (worn behind the ear) and a surgically implanted piece under the skin behind the ear. The piece implanted under the skin is attached to the bone of the skull. The external sound processor picks up sound, sends a signal to the internal device, which then vibrates the bone of the skull. The Osia conducts sound through the bone of the skull directly to the inner ear (cochlea) rather than through the middle ear -- a process known as direct bone conduction. No component of the Osia bone conduction systems fits inside the ear or ear canal. The Osia has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a class II device.

How the Osia Works Image

Parts of the Osia Bone Conduction Implant System

The Osia is comprised of two parts -- a detachable sound processor (#1 above), and an internal implant (#2 above). Unlike hearing aids, the Osia includes an implant -- the titanium fixture (#3 above) as part of the internal device— that osseointegrates (i.e. grows into bone) with living tissue to form a permanent, functional bond with the bone of the skull. Titanium metal is unique in that bone will grow into titanium (this is why titanium is used for dental implants). During an outpatient surgical procedure, the internal device with the attached titanium fixture is placed in the mastoid bone behind the ear.

Osia sound processor colors

The Osia external sound processor and the various colors available.

Who Can Benefit From an Osia Bone Conduction Implant?

The Osia implant is approved for anyone over the age 5 years old for the the treatment of conductive or mixed hearing loss, as well as for unilateral, profound sensorineural hearing loss, also known as Single Sided Deafness (SSD). For more information about the different types of hearing loss, click here.

Examples of (Some) Specific Conditions Helped by the Osia Implant

  • Congenital absence of the ear canal (microtia)
  • Chronic ear drainage from outer or middle ear infection (since the Osia does not block the outer ear canal, as is true for hearing aids, which may be a cause for aggravation of chronic ear drainage)
  • Otosclerosis in an only hearing ear
  • Any cause conductive or mixed hearing loss (with maximum average bone conduction thresholds of 55 dB)
  • Single-sided deafness, regardless of the cause of hearing loss
For a summary of audiological criteria for Osia candidacy, please click here.

The Osia internal device

The Osia internal device.

Individual wearing Osia

An individual wearing the Osia external processor behind the right ear.

(All photos courtesy of Cochlear Corporation)