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 September 28, 2003
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New Bone Implant Helps Local Boy Hear
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Rhode Island Hospital
The BAHA System

All his life Daniel Moranta has gradually been losing his hearing. The result of numerous ear infections that have plagued him since birth.  By age 13 he had lost 60% of his hearing and he started having trouble in school and with friends.

"I would ask them to repeat things over and over sometimes," says Daniel.

"Socially, he was getting withdrawan," says his mother Anna Canto.

Conventional hearing aids only caused him to have more ear infections and it looked like Daniel would never hear normally again.  But earlier this year, Daniel's doctor presented him with a new option, a relatively new device called the BAHA.

"Nothing fits in the ear canal so it doesn't make it a setup for worsening problems with ear infections," says Rhode Island Hospital otologist Dr. Brian Duff.

The BAHA system consists of several parts:  A titanium pin that's implanted into the skull behind the ear and the hearing aid that connects on the outside of the skull which allows Daniel to snap it on and off.  Normally, the implantation takes 40 minutes and can be done as an outpatient procedure under sedation.  After six months the titanium bonds permanently to the bone and becomes an external pathway for sound.

"It's cool. I like it a lot," says Daniel.

Daniel's not the only one who is pleased with his new hearing aid.

"It was cool. I could hear another conversation in the other room. My friends thought it was wicked cool!" he says.

"It seemed like when we were in a group and conversing he was out in left field somewhere and now he knows what everybody in the group is saying," says his mother.

For now, Daniel is enjoying his new lease on life in the hearing world and is even looking forward to going back to school this fall.  Daniel was the first Rhode Islander to benefit from the BAHA system. Dr. Duff believes there are around a thousand possible candidates in Rhode Island alone.

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