Open source banjo man getting hearing implants

A reader writes, "Patrick Costello - you have posted about his work as an open source banjo teacher several times - is having surgery this Thursday at Johns Hopkins to install a BAHA implant so he can continue teaching."

Patrick is the king of open-source banjo teaching, a public-spirited saint who teaches and produces teaching materials on a free/open basis. The BAHA is an implanted hearing aid that will be fitted as part of a surgery to relieve an excruciating bone infection.

Good luck, Patrick!

BAHA Implant Surgery On 5/21/09


  1. If that man promised me a change I think that I just could believe in it… for a change.

    IOW, there still are, in this world of cynics and over-achievers really good persons and he is one of them, unmistakably.

  2. I wish him the best of luck for his surgery. On an off note, I want that guitar. I ended up buying the Fender resonator guitar, since I couldn’t afford the full metal style. Love the tone of the full metal resonator.

  3. Best of luck with the surgery. My father is blind, it runs in the family, and he is learning to play guitar and banjo. When he isn’t golfing and bowling!!!

    And you might as well hear it here first, Don’t let them call you ‘Tin Ear’, hahahaha They jokes will be funnier when they hear you play and teach!!!

    be well, have fun….dan

  4. I considered a BAHA hearing aid, but decided against it because it just seemed too frankensteinesque to implant an externally visible screw in my head for it. Who wants to have those implanted for the rest of your life after the BAHA becomes obsolete.

    And the BAHA is way behind other non-implanted hearing aids in its DSP technology.

    Economy of scale issues.

  5. With respect Bolamig I suspect you know not whereof you speak. Amongst other things I counsel patients pre-operatively and fit BAHA post operatively.

    The current crop of Cochlear ‘Divino’ & ‘Intenso’ aids have digital aspects to their output and do a stunning job. Because you’re not having to pass sound across a damaged/disordered middle ear a lot of the problems with traditional ‘Behind-The-Ear’ devices are circumvented.

    The abutment now used in surgery is a mature design that is unlikely to become obsolete. In fact a new company called Oticon are just releasing a new BAHA device which is fully digitally programmable and uses the same abutment fitting.

    The good news for Patrick is that there’s loads of cool tech you can plug into the BAHA, including direct audio input from mixing desks, iPods etc.

    Best of luck and enjoy your new hearing!

  6. hi patrick, i’m john, i had an acoustic neuroma brain tumor removed .i’m deaf on 1 side.i’m having surgery august 3 for the baha implant,can you tell me how music sounds with it! does it sound somewhat natural?
    thank you,

  7. I won’t have my baha activated until August 25th so I really can’t answer your question.

    I can say that my experience with the test band was pretty amazing. I was able to hear my guitar for the first time in years – it literally brought me to tears.

    There is a new baha unit coming out now, the bp100 that is supposed to have even better sound quality. You can read about it here:

    Good luck with the surgery. If I can be of assistance in any way don’t hesitate to contact me.


  8. patrick.i lost hearing in my right ear and went to see a recommended doctor for the BAHA implant. He was great and explained everything then followed up with a demo to try it out. I want to hear from someone who has completed the surgery and once it is activated how does it actually sound? please let us know. i am a bit anxcious about it! But sounds exciting!! Thank you lauren

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