The bone conduction hearing aids collect sounds from the outside world, however these hearing aids transmit the signal to an oscillator, rather than playing the sound back to the inner ear. This oscillator vibrates against the skull, the inner ear is able to pick up the vibrations and interpret them as sound.
Conventional hearing aids are much more effective than the bone conduction hearing aids. However bone conduction hearing aids are designed for people that are unable to use the traditional forms of hearing aid. If the ear canal is blocked like in Atresia, then a regular hearing aid is next to useless, a bone conduction hearing aid however is much more useful.
If you have ear infections or eczema then you may be unable to wear conventional hearing aids, and so might need to look at using bone conduction hearing aids. If your ear canal is restricted, or narrower than normal then a bone conduction hearing aid may be required.
Bone conduction aids are perfectly suitable for children, and they are also great for people that suffer from temporary hearing loss.
Less than 1% of hearing aid wearers use bone conduction hearing aids, and so they can be difficult to track down. If you need one be sure to discuss it with your audiologist.
Bone conduction hearing aids are unable to perfectly reproduce sound, the sound is somewhat similar to the telephone.
Also the sound generated by bone conduction hearing aids is only mono, it isn't stereo. The wearer of the hearing aid is unable to tell where the sound I actually coming from due to this.
A bone conduction hearing aid uses a headband to hold everything in place, they are occasionally uncomfortable because for them to be effective the headband must be kept tight.
When these hearing aids were new they were designed to be installed into glasses. At the time it was not common to have your lenses thinned, so it was possible to place a small device into the thick frames of the glasses, so the vibrations will be felt.
The latest bone conduction hearing aids use surgery to implant a device. This works directly onto the bone, and so is less irritating for the user. The device also needs less power to operate, and there is less distortion as a result of this.
If you are suffering from permanent hearing loss as a last resort you may want to try one of these implanted bone conduction hearing aids as a last resort.