Monthly Archives: April 2018

Michael gets a Ponto 3 SuperPower with the help of Ear Community and Oticon Medical

Meet one-year-old Michael Mitrovich, who was born with a cleft palate, a small right ear and because of IUGR, did not grow at a normal rate during pregnancy. His parents, Azziza and Matthew, were overwhelmed and disheartened by Michael’s diagnosis and complications but were on a mission to do everything they could to give him the help he needed.

After having trouble with insurance, Azziza reached out to Ear Community for help. With the help of Michael’s audiologist, Dr. Deedra Alford from Childrensent, a Pediatric ENT practice of Atlanta, Michael received his Ponto 3 SuperPower in just a few weeks!

On April 14, 2018 Michael received a newly donated Ponto 3 SuperPower on a softband from Oticon Medical that was donated through the Ear Community organization.

“His face lit up, and his parents could tell how much wonder he had at the new sounds he could hear.”

“For such a little boy, he has had to fight some big battles, and we are so excited for the opportunity to help him on his journey. A very warm thank you to Dr. Alford, who not only donated her time to program and fit Michael’s device, but also requested an additional third year of services for his Ponto 3 SuperPower so that his family can rest assured that his Ponto is covered and will work to help him hear his best for a long time.” – Melissa Tumblin, Founder of Ear Community.

Are you interested in learning more about the Oticon Medical Ponto for yourself or your child? We’d be happy to connect with you an audiologist in your area: click below and let us know!

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Joe Berry captures it all through wildlife photography with the help of his Ponto 3 SuperPower

Joe Berry has always had a passion for the outdoors, nature and wildlife. He is a certified Georgia Master Naturalist and said that one of the greatest differences he’s noticed with his Ponto 3 SuperPower is the directional hearing, which helps make his photography so successful.

An introduction to hearing aids, then discovering the Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System
Joe has mild to moderately severe sensorineural hearing loss in his left ear, as well as severe to profound hearing loss in his right ear. He received his first hearing aid in 2011 for his right ear, but the loss in ventilation began causing chronic ear infections. “Even while placing myself in strategic locations to keep speakers on my ‘good side’ I was still struggling at both work and home,” he says.

When speaking to his audiologist and exploring bi-cross hearing aids he worried that the sound would be unnatural since this was his experience with his original hearing aid and that he would lose what little directional hearing he had. “At my work, it’s not uncommon to be at sites that have forklifts and other equipment with audible alarms that I need to be able to locate to keep myself safe from injury. I also love my time outdoors and needed my directional hearing to preserve that enjoyment,” he explains.

As Joe began researching other options he came across the term “BAHS” or Bone Anchored Hearing System. He brought the information to his audiologist who said he might be a candidate.

“When I’m deciding if I want to try a product and which brand to go with I look for forums with stories of real-life experiences. I found forums with so many testimonials of how much better Bone Anchored Hearing Systems were and so many positive testimonials on the Ponto and how life-changing they were. I shared the information with my wife and we decided to go forward with Ponto,” he says.

They located Ear Consultants of Georgia who confirmed he was a candidate and surgery followed.

Receiving the Ponto 3 SuperPower
Joe received his first Ponto, a Ponto Pro, in 2012 and describes it as life-changing. “It was so much more natural sounding than my hearing aid. I used my Ponto almost all of my waking hours because it made life easier. I would even forget that I had it on,” he says.

After about five years, Joe discovered that his hearing loss had increased and he would need a more powerful model. After applying for a new Ponto twice, he finally received his Ponto 3 SuperPower (P3SP) in February of 2018.

A new world through photography
Joe is a certified Georgia Master Naturalist whose photos have been used by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Elachee Nature Science Center.

“Most of the wildlife that I photograph is very shy and if you have to wait until you see them to know their location they will likewise see your movement of the camera and be gone before you can get the focus. With my Ponto I can tell the direction of those animals that are vocal or ‘leaf crunchers’ and have my camera in position before we are within sight of each other. This keeps my movement and detection of my presence to a minimum and preserves more opportunities to get the image,” he explains.

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Life after Ponto
Waiting to receive his P3SP was a difficult time for Joe and his family. “My wife was my greatest cheerleader during the long appeal. I was slipping back into the reclusive behavior with times of depression that I had experienced before the first Ponto. My wife said that if we had to pay the full amount she wanted me to have it, that it made all the difference in how much conversation that I had with her and other family members,” he said. Since receiving his Ponto 3 SuperPower this year, Joe’s word recognition is now at 92 %. He likens the feeling of not having his Ponto to being in a dark storm and having his Ponto 3 SuperPower to blue skies.

Ready to learn more about the latest Ponto 3 SuperPower? Click below to be connected to our team:

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2018 Ear Community Microtia and Atresia Summer Family Picnics

Summer is around the corner which means Ear Community’s annual summer family picnics are almost here! Each year, Ear Community hosts picnics around the world helping bring microtia and atresia families together. Medical professionals such as microtia and atresia repair surgeons, anaplastologists, ENTs, audiologists, and therapists along with hearing device and medical device companies all come together to help educate attendees on all their options including hearing loss.

We’re excited to once again join Ear Community as sponsors and participants of this year’s events. So mark your calendars, because this year’s picnics will take place in Sacramento, California/ El Paso, Texas/ Cincinnati, Ohio/ Nashville, Tennessee/ Charleston, South Carolina/ and Hamilton, Ontario – Canada!

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Below are exact locations and RSVP information. See you there!

California Ear Community Picnic
Sacramento, California
Date:  Saturday, June 23rd, 2018
Time:  11AM to 3PM
RSVP to Heidi at:  EarCommunityCaliforniaPicnic@gmail.com

Texas Ear Community Picnic
El Paso, Texas
Date:  Saturday, July 21st, 2018
Time:  11AM to 3PM
RSVP to Heidi at:  EarCommunityELPasoPicnic@gmail.com

Tennessee Ear Community Picnic
Nashville, Tennessee
Date:  Saturday, July 21st, 2018
Time:  1PM to 5PM
RSVP to Melissa at:  TennesseeEarCommunityPicnic@gmail.com
*  This picnic is in collaboration with the VUMC Microita and Atresia surgeon conference.

Ohio Ear Community Picnic
Cincinnati, Ohio
Date:  Saturday, July 28th, 2018
Time:  11AM to 3PM
RSVP to Heidi at:  OhioEarCommunityPicnic@gmail.com

Ontario Ear Community Picnic
Hamilton, Ontario – Canada
Date:  Saturday, July 28th, 2018
Time:  11AM to 3PM
RSVP to Heidi at:  EarCommunityCanadaPicnic@gmail.com

South Carolina Ear Community Picnic
Charleston, South Carolina
Date:  Saturday, August 11th, 2018
Time:  11AM to 3PM
RSVP to Heidi at:  EarCommunityCharlestonPicnic@gmail.com