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Cochlear Americas Announces Medicare Coverage for BAHA Hearing System

DenverDecember 12, 2005Cochlear Americas has announced that the Baha system, an osseointegrated auditory implant system, is now covered by Medicare under a new policy issued by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

FDA-cleared since 1996 and consisting of a mastoid implant and detachable sound processor, the Baha system was previously classified as a hearing aid by Medicare and, therefore, not covered. However, last month, CMS revised its definition of hearing aids and initiated coverage for the system, which became effective November 10.

Today is the first day that Medicare carriers are able to accept and pay claims under this policy.

The Baha system provides a safe and effective hearing treatment option for individuals suffering from conductive or mixed hearing loss, as well as Single Sided Deafness (SSD). It is the only treatment for hearing loss that works through direct bone conduction, allowing sound to bypass the outer and middle ear to reach the cochlea directly.

The Baha system, based on direct bone conduction, provides FDA-cleared treatment for a variety of specific types of hearing loss that many times do not have another option, according to John K. Niparko, M.D., director of the Divisions of Neurotology and Audiology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The Baha system allows sound to be received directly by the cochlea through direct bone conduction, so this treatment fundamentally changes the way individuals hear with specific types of hearing loss. The decision by CMS to cover it will change lives.

The decision by CMS to revise its definition of hearing aids, and exclude implantable devices such as the Baha system, is monumental, said Chris Smith, president, Cochlear Americas. This policy revision breathes new hope into the lives of so many living with a hearing loss that the Baha can treat.

About the Baha System

The Baha sound processor is placed on the deaf ear side behind the ear, and transfers sound through direct bone conduction. Cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for unilateral and bilateral fittings for conductive or mixed hearing loss, and for Single Sided Deafness, this product ultimately results in the sensation of hearing sound from the deaf side. Currently there are more than 25,000 people using the Baha system worldwide.

About Cochlear' Americas

Since launching the worlds first cochlear implant system more than 20 years ago and adding the Baha system to its product offerings in 2005, Cochlear Limited and its US headquarters, Cochlear Americas, have brought the miracle of sound to more than 90,000 hearing-impaired individuals across the globe. Cochlears state-of-the-art technologies, based on extensive research and development at preeminent academic institutions, enhance the ability to hear sound and understand speech improving both learning potential and quality of life for those with severe to profound hearing loss. Cochlears promise Hear Now. And Always. reflects its dedication to durability and service. 

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