Monthly Archives: March 2013

Live with Kris Siwek

Update

Here’s the recording of our hangout session with Kris. Keep an eye out for our next hangout, we’ll be announcing the topic and day/time soon!

Kris

Have you read Kris Siwek’s inspiring story? You can read it here. And, even better yet, we’ll be talking with Kris live tomorrow, March 22, at 1pm EST on Google+ Hangouts On Air.

You can join us live on Google+ here.

We’ll also embed the video into this blog post. So when you come here tomorrow at 1pm EST, you’ll see the video feed and our live chat with Kris.

The hangout will appear about 10 minutes before we get started at 1pm.

Do you have questions for Kris? Join us and ask your questions through the chat in the Google Hangout or on Twitter by @mentioning @OticonMedical.

Custom Cap for Ponto

Daniel, a 9 year old from California, loves wearing his baseball cap. So, when he received his Ponto, his mom was able to sew the softband attachment in to a baseball cap so the device could be snapped on. The photos show how she sewed it. The last one with the cord is him using the audio adaptor hooked into his ipod. We wanted to share this great idea!

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Have you customized your Ponto? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter, we’d love to share your personalized Ponto!

Resources: Support through User Groups, Organizations and More

It can be hard to find helpful information from people who fully understand the impact of dealing with hearing issues. Here’s a list of resources that we update on a regular basis. In addition to the resources below, you can also connect with others on our networks: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. And, if you’re looking to talk to someone specific to your condition, we can help connect you.

The benefits of bone anchored hearing systems vary greatly from person to person due to differences in hearing loss as well as listening preferences and lifestyle. A good way to gain insight into what life might be like with Ponto or another type of system is to talk to other users. Below are some useful links for getting connected to user organizations.

AllDeaf Forum

Bone anchored hearing systems:
BAHA Users Support Forum

Facebook – BAHA User Groups:
BAHA – Bone Anchored Hearing Aids
BAHA users Welcome!
BAHA-Bone-Anchored Hearing Aid
BAHA Support Group (Southern Africa)

Acoustic neuroma & single-sided deafness (SSD):
Acoustic Neuroma Association
US organization for people with acoustic neuroma and other benign tumors of the cranial nerves

British Acoustic Neuroma Association (Bana UK)
A support charity for those with Acoustic Neuroma

Acoustic Neuroma Association of Canada (ANAC)
The Acoustic Neuroma Association of Canada is a patient-headed, peer support group.

Facebook – Various SSD User Groups:
Deaf in One Ear? Yes.

Atresia, Microtia, Treacher Collins and Goldenhar Syndrome:

Ear Community
The Ear Community is a warm and supportive community for those who have any or all of the following: varying degrees of hearing loss, Microtia, Atresia, Treacher Collins or Goldenhar Syndrome.

Facebook – Various Microtia & Atresia User Groups:
Microtia Mingle UK
Microtia
Microtia
Teens/adults with microtia

Goldenhar
A support charity for families and individuals affected by Goldenhar syndrome and related issues.

Treacher Collins
A support charity for families and individuals affected by Treacher Collins Syndrome.

Yahoo online discussion support group
This community is intended as a forum for people with, and parents of children with Aural Atresia and/or Microtia.

This is an ever-growing list. Help make it better by adding your suggestions. Please let us know what we should add in the comments section below or tell us on Twitter of Facebook.

Oticon Medical Now A Certified Medical Durable Equipment (DME) Provider

We hope you’ve already heard, but in case you haven’t, this February we announced that Oticon Medical has obtained accreditation as a Medicare Durable Medical Equipment Supplier.

The accreditation process aims to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries have access to high quality items of durable medical equipment and is part of the federal agency’s larger vision to foster a health care system that ensures quality care for all persons on Medicare. To earn this accreditation, Oticon Medical met quality standards that addressed such factors as product quality, business integrity, accountability and performance management.

We want to take the opportunity to explain exactly what this means for you.

This means that Oticon Medical can now bill Medicare directly for bone anchored processors for those who qualify for Medicare coverage. This helps us in our goal to create new possibilities and more choice in bone anchored hearing solutions.

“As a Supplier, we are uniquely positioned to assist hearing health care providers in extending the potential for treatment and successful outcomes to more patients than ever before,” said Curt Gorman, Oticon Medical US President.

Curt explains that for the past few years, Medicare, or CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), has focused on reducing waste and fraud. As a result, they have stepped up the accreditation process in order to be able to sell durable medical equipment to Medicare patients directly. This change applies to replacement processors, batteries and things that the patient may need to purchase after they have already received the surgery and been fit with the device.

“For our company, now that we are certified as a Medicare Durable Medical Equipment Supplier, patients who have Medicare can purchase equipment directly from us, and we will bill Medicare,” Curt explained. “For example, a patient may need a new processor. That patient can purchase the processor through us, we will bill Medicare, and then the patient can take the processor to an audiologist to fit it.”

How does this work for patients?

Curt takes us through the process: “The patient would get a prescription from her doctor as the processor is a prescriptive device. Then the patient would call us, so that we can get some information from the patient to process the order. Once we get the prescription and the paperwork completed, we send the processor to the patient, obtain confirmation from the patient that she indeed received it, and then we bill Medicare. Once the patient receives the processor, they are responsible for getting it programmed from their audiologist, and for any fitting fees for the programming.”

Typically, patients return to the clinic where they were originally implanted. However, there are some clinics across the country that are very large and cater to patients from all over the country. Some patients who were originally fit at specialized clinics may live quite a distance away. In these cases, patients can use the clinic finder on our website to find a location to have the processor fit.

How do you know when you need a new processor?

“Approximately 30 percent of people who use bone-anchored hearing systems because of conductive hearing loss; the other 70 percent have single-sided deafness (SSD). We know that as with many patients with hearing loss, with SSD the hearing in the better ear may change over time, i.e., worsen as the patient gets older. When the hearing changes, a more powerful processor may be in order,” Curt said.

Also, technology has advanced very rapidly, and there are new products with new features. Medicare will cover a new processor once every five years or until the processor is no longer useful. For patients whose hearing has changed, or that have a processor that is over five years old they can explore upgrading here.

Would you like more information about insurance coverage? You can find all of the information you need on our insurance support page here. And, you can always find a clinic near you here.

If you have Medicare coverage and are looking to replace your current bone conduction processor, please contact us at 1-888-277-8014 or email us at info@oticonmedicalusa.com. You can also find us on Facebook and ask your questions on Twitter too.

Personalizing Your Ponto: Tips from A Pro

You may know Tebora Mckinney if you like our Facebook Page. Tebora caught our attention with her beautiful personalized Ponto designs. Now, she’s sharing pro tips for you to play with the look of your Ponto. Here are Tebora’s tips– she’s a real pro as she re-decorates her Ponto as often as every other day to coordinate with her nursing uniform and formal attire.

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The first step in personalizing your Ponto is finding the right supplies. Tebora suggests Hobby Lobby and Michael’s. She points out that any arts and crafts stores will have the supplies you’ll need. So, what are you looking for? You’re looking for things that you can stick onto your device and come off without it affecting it in any way. Tebora finds that many of the items at the craft store have an easy to stick on backing that does not leave residue.

To prep your device for customization, Tebora offers three simple steps:
1. Take your battery out.
2. Lay your device on something soft as to not press it against a hard surface– try a pillow.
3. Avoid touching the back of the device.

“You don’t need to use much force. Just peal off the backing and lightly stick your accessory or sticker onto your device,” Tebora said.

Personalizing your device just takes a few moments. In a matter of minutes you can transform the look of your Ponto and turn it into your best accessory. Tebora finds that often times, people don’t even realize her Ponto is a hearing device. She’s been told, “That’s a beautiful hair piece.” She’s even taken her personalization to the next level by altering her hats to fit around the device. 

Tebora suggests that sports fans capitalize on decorations for favorite teams. “Football, basketball– whichever sport, fans can buy design stickers. You could even decorate with a favorite player’s number.” But, just be aware of what kind of stickers you’re buying. Some can leave residue, which can be removed with a bit of rubbing alcohol (but we all know how pesky sticker residue can be).

“Get creative and start today! St. Patrick’s Day and Easter are coming up, use special occasions and holidays as themes. Look at what going on with style trends and make your Ponto one of your best accessories.”

Have a question for Tebora? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter. Need inspiration? Check out our personalized Ponto board on Pinterest.

Do you want to make sure that you’re taking great care of your Ponto? Click here for the full Ponto Care Guide. This guide includes the information that you need to know to keep the implant and abutment area healthy. It also includes 7 good habits to develop.