Author Archives: Liz Flores

Starting the school year right – classroom support for Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System users

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year….back to school! It’s during this time that we begin to see questions surrounding FM systems such as…

“Does anyone have experience with the different FM systems especially in the classroomsetting?”

“I was wondering if anyone had instructions for their kid’s school made for them and the streamer/FM.”

Knowing how to educate not only children but teachers about hearing loss and the importance of using an FM system in the classroom is vital to helping start the school year right.

The importance of an FM System

Many who deal with hearing loss work to overcome three key obstacles: noise, distance, and reverberation. FM helps cut through noise and distance by delivering sound directly to the ear. Reverberation, one of the most common obstacles, usually happens in large spaces such as classrooms, lecture halls, places of worship and theaters. Again, when sound travels directly to the ear, it does not pick up reverberation in the room. Ponto sound processors can be used with FM systems so that the teacher’s voice can be transmitted directly to the sound processor.

“When you combine an FM system with a bone anchored hearing device and your child is being taught how to be a “visual” learner and be aware to always be looking, watching and reading lips, then together….all of these things help optimize your child’s maximum potential to hear his/her very best.” – Melissa Tumblin, Founder of Ear Community.

Connecting your FM System to your Ponto Sound Processor

For FM you need three parts:

  1. Sound Processor
  2. Transmitter
  3. Receiver

Once those three pieces are in place, you then have to make sure the receiver is compatible with your sound processor and your transmitter. All of the working parts must go together.

The Amigo Family does a great job at demonstrating the variability in FM. The “Amigo R2 BA” was created specifically for the Ponto Pro family. It’s important to note that the “Amigo R2” doesn’t work with the Ponto Pro family, the product name must have “BA” included, which stands for bone anchored.

The Amigo T5, T10, T20, T21, T30 and T31 transmitters are all compatible with the Ponto Pro family. The Amigo Arc and Amigo R5 with induction loop will work with the Ponto with the telecoil in place.

Ear level FM Receivers compatible with Ponto processors include:

  • Oticon Amigo R2 BA
  • Phonak MLxS BAHA
  • Phonak MLxi BAHA

The Oticon Medical Streamer

The Ponto 3 and the Ponto Plus sound processors wirelessly connect to an FM system using the Oticon Medical Streamer. Users can listen to lectures and lessons at school without plugging any additional device into their sound processor. The Streamer has a built-in Europlug socket that enables an FM receiver to be attached.

Educating others on using an FM System

Educating teachers and children on the importance of using FM system in the classroom is vital to creating a positive learning experience. Below is a great video by St. John’s Medical Center that shows the difference an FM system can make for a child with hearing loss and the potential consequences of unmanaged hearing loss in the classroom.

Produced by St. John’s Medical Center’s Pediatric Audiology Project in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

We know you still might have questions. To help, we have a number of videos that walk through FM and connecting to other devices with the Oticon Medical Streamer. There are also numerous resources for parents in this Facebook group, including sample letters parents have used to explain their child’s bone anchored hearing device to teachers.

If you are interested in learning more about the Ponto device for your child, click below to be connected to a representative from our team.

Learn More

A ‘super’ day for Kavya Sharma thanks to Ear Community and Oticon Medical donation

Kavya Sharma is almost two years old and lives in New Delhi, India. She had a difficult start in life, being born with bilateral Microtia and Atresia as well as Hemifacial Microsomia and a hole in her heart. These conditions brought her to the hospital often for feeding tubes and oxygen therapy. Today, Kavya has recovered from many of her health related issues, except one – her ability to hear.

In the Spring of 2017, her mother Savita Sharma, reached out to Ear Community looking for help. With bilateral Microtia and Atresia, Kavya struggled with speech development and couldn’t hear her parents. They worried about her ability to make friends and how she would be able to learn and attend school. After consulting with a specialist in New Delhi, it was suggested that a bone conduction device could be the answer.

On June 5, 2017, Kavya received two brand new Ponto 3 SuperPowers from Oticon Medical that were donated through the Ear Community. With the help and donated time of Dr. Niraj Kumar at the AIMS hospital in Safdarjung, Delhi, India Kavya was fitted and now has the auditory tools she needs to move forward.

“This precious little girl has already struggled to get to where she is, and we are thrilled to be able to help her on her journey.” – Melissa Tumblin, Founder of Ear Community.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Are you interested in learning more about the Ponto 3 SuperPower for yourself or your child? Click below to be connected to a representative from our team.Learn more

A chance to dance for a Ponto Softband user

We’re thrilled to share an inspiring dance video and shine a light on the impact the Ponto softband has had on one dancer in particular.

Five-year-old Emma Bowie was born with left ear Microtia. Three years ago, after discussing hearing care options with her audiologist she was fitted with a Ponto Plus on a softband. Her mother, Kathy Bowie, says that she had been behind in speech development, but now has made big improvements.

“We noticed a big difference in her speech when she got her Ponto. She was trying to say more words. Just within the last year it has all come together for her and her speech has blossomed.” – Kathy Bowie

One of the biggest improvements in hearing for Emma happens not only at home, but in the dance studio. She is a part of the ‘A Chance to Dance’ program at Miss Donna’s School of Dancing in North Carolina, where children with disabilities can learn an array of dance from lyrical, to jazz, to tap.

Emma, who has always loved to dance, will be performing her first solo next season and always wears her Ponto bone anchored hearing system while she’s on stage.

“They make me hear better, and I go to school and I can learn and I can hear my teachers.” – Emma Bowie

‘A Chance to Dance’ and Emma were featured on TODAY in a heartwarming story about the studio in the video below.

If you’d like to learn more about how the Ponto can provide early support for children and adults with hearing loss, click here and we’ll help you find an Audiologist in your area.

‘We wanted the very best’ – a parent’s perspective on choosing the Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System

Zhou Yu (“Z”) was born with bilateral microtia and atresia. While living in China he was unaided until he was adopted almost 2 years ago by the Bullock family. His mother Erin began doing research regarding what the best hearing care options would be for Z, knowing he would have progress to make not only learning a new language but hearing for the first time.

“It was not a hard decision to make once we did all the research. The stories that adults and older children were telling were the stories we needed to here. When we demoed products, he even could tell the difference and he picked Ponto” – Erin

In the video below, Erin explains why her family chose Ponto and the difference it is making in her son Z’s life.

Interested in learning more about our newest Ponto – the Ponto 3 SuperPower? Click the button below to be connected to a representative from our team.

Learn More

Persistence pays off for a Ponto mom

Rachel and her son Maxwell have come a long way in the last year in finding the right hearing device to alleviate his hearing loss. Maxwell was born without an ear canal, and at nine months old his mother Rachel fought to find the right hearing solution for her son.

However, when Maxwell received his Ponto on a softband, a new struggle emerged.

Maxwell didn’t keep it on. It went straight to his mouth. I felt selfish for accepting this. I started to feel guilty. What if he never wore it?

Rachel was struggling with what many parents of young softband users struggle with—keeping the Ponto on their child’s head and out of their mouth.

Her solution? “Ponto time!” Every day Rachel would cheerfully tell Maxwell it was “Ponto time,” and for five minutes she’d work with him to keep his Ponto on.

Her persistence has paid off.

He just turned a year, and he LOVES his Ponto. He wears it all the time without messing with it. I don’t need to monitor him anymore. He plays independently with it on.

Rachel’s advice to other parents struggling to keep their children wearing their Pontos – don’t give up!

If your little one is struggling or goes through a regression phase, it will get better! They will soon understand what this beautiful device provides!

The new Ponto Softband is now available for purchase in our Webshop! I

If you’d like to learn more about how the Softband can provide early support for children with hearing loss, you can click here to speak to a representative.

The Journey to the Best Hearing in the Classroom

Many of our Ponto users who are children have experienced positive change, particularly in the classroom. If you’re considering aiding your child with a hearing device it’s important to understand how louder environments, like classrooms or playgrounds, can affect a hearing device.

Melissa Tumblin, founder of Ear Community, whose daughter Ally is a Ponto user shares some great insight on setting your child up for success in the classroom.

Ally Tumblin wearing her Ponto Plus on a Softband

Ally has a severe hearing loss in her right ear (65dB-70dB). She was tested at a 65dB hearing
loss yesterday. Ally was tested while wearing her BAHS (Ponto Plus) made by Oticon Medical in the booth and her hearing with the hearing device is brought back up to the normal hearing range (between 15dB to 20dB)….which has been the norm for us over the years with her testing and Ponto.

However, this time the audiologist chose to include noise interference in the sound booth – lots of background noise to see how well Ally could hear and covered her mouth when saying words and sentences to Ally, asking her to repeat them back to her. Well, even when aided, her hearing dropped to 56% (when it was in the normal hearing range without background noise) because of all of the noise. But then, the audiologist added Ally’s FM system back in and also removed the card from her mouth so Ally could see her lips when she spoke to her and her hearing response went back up to 96%! (which is great!)

So, the lesson learned here for those of you who are considering aiding your child (or yourself) with a hearing device is that hearing devices help amplify sound and help make things louder, so you can hear better. When extra noise is added to your daily activities, it can still be difficult to hear everything. However, when you combine an FM system (such as to help your child hear better in the school classroom), and your child is being taught how to be a “visual” learner and be aware to always be looking, watching and reading lips, then together….all of these things help optimize your child’s maximum potential to hear his/her very best.

I see such a difference with her and her Ponto, every day! Thank you Oticon Medical! Thank you for helping my daughter hear her best with her Ponto Plus!

Want to learn more about our newest addition to the Ponto family of processors? Click the button below to be connected to a representative from our team.

Learn More

 

2017 Ear Community Microtia and Atresia Summer Family Picnics

It’s that time of year again when the weather gets warmer and we start making our summer plans! We’re thrilled to once again be sponsors and participants in the Ear Community’s Microtia and Atresia Summer Family Picnics.

Every year, Ear Community hosts picnics all around the world helping bring Microtia and Atresia families together to share experiences and make new friends. Medical professionals such as Microtia and Atresia repair surgeons, anaplastologists, ENT’s, audiologists, and therapists along with hearing device companies all come together at the events to educate and inform attendees of their options. The picnics are free and provide lunch and family friendly activities.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This year’s picnics will take place in the following locations around the U.S.:

Maryland Ear Community Picnic
Annapolis, Maryland
Date:  Saturday June 10th, 2017
Time:  11AM to 3PM
RSVP to Heidi at:  AnnapolisEarCommunityPicnic@gmail.com

Texas Ear Community Picnic
Austin, Texas

Date:  Saturday, June 10th, 2017
Time:  11AM to 3PM
RSVP to Heidi at:  AustinEarCommunityPicnic@gmail.com

Colorado Ear Community Picnic
Broomfield, Colorado
Date:  Saturday June 24th, 2017
Time:  11AM to 3PM
RSVP to Melissa at:  ColoradoMicrotia@hotmail.com

New York Ear Community Picnic
Ardsley, New York
Date:  Saturday, July 22nd, 2017
Time:  11AM to 3PM
RSVP to Heidi at:  ArdsleyEarCommunityPicnic@gmail.com

Florida Ear Community Picnic
Fort Pierce, Florida
Date:  Saturday, July 22nd, 2017
Time:  11AM to 3PM
RSVP to Heidi at:  FortPierceEarCommunityPicnic@gmail.com

Tennessee Ear Community Picnic
Nashville, Tennessee
Date:  Saturday, July 22nd, 2017
Time:  1PM to 5PM
RSVP to Melissa at:  TennesseeEarCommunityPicnic@gmail.com

We look forward to seeing you there!

“We’re Just Trying To Do What’s Best for Him” – A Parent’s Perspective

Davin is 8 years old and was born with bilateral microtia and atresia. In the video below, Davin and his mother, Shannon Gordon, talk about his hearing journey with his Ponto’s and their experience with the new Ponto 3 SuperPower.

“Davin’s hearing is one of the most important things in our life and we’re just trying to do what’s best for him.” – Shannon

Interested in learning more about the Ponto 3 SuperPower? Click the button below to be connected to a representative from our team.

Learn More

The Gift of Hearing Travels to Africa

We’d like to introduce you to someone very special!

Meet Raheeg Abdelrahman, a four-year-old girl living in Sudan with her younger twin siblings, her mother, and her father, Eltahir.

Raheeg was born with bilateral Microtia and Atresia, and when her family couldn’t find a suitable hearing device in Sudan, they traveled to Egypt to meet with an audiologist who they hoped could help them find a solution. Unfortunately, the family was unable to find an affordable solution and were forced to return home without a device for Raheeg.

That’s when we heard about Raheeg and her family through our friends at the Ear Community and partnered with them to provide two Oticon Medical Ponto Plus hearing devices for her.

The devices were sent to Egypt where Raheeg was fitted with her devices with great results:

 “She can answer our call easily and surely this will help her to receive her lessons like other kids…it is difficult to get words to express my thanks but I say God bless you!

Please convey my deepest heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all of Oticon Medical staff for the help and support they provide to everybody in our Ear Community, and special thanks for Mr. Alan Raffauf, Tove Rosenbom, and Claus Frees Horneman…THANKS to YOU dear friends for giving me hope that my daughter can go to school, hearing sounds and practice her life like other kids.  Thank you for making my impossible dream become real!”

– Eltahir Abdelrahman

We’re honored to have had the opportunity to help provide the gift of hearing to another individual with hearing loss and are thankful for our friends at the Ear Community for sharing Raheeg’s story with us!

If you’d like to learn more about Raheeg and Microtia and Atresia, the Ear Community blog is a great resource!

The Power of Clarity – A Review of the Ponto 3 Power

As members of our community begin to try the new Ponto 3 family of processors, we’re in awe with the positive change it’s making in patients’ lives. One such change occurred for William and his mother, Hannah Wood.

Below Hannah gives her own review of the Ponto 3 Power:

William has had these (Ponto 3 Powers) on soft band for 6 days. He’s nearly 6.

When asked, he says they are better than the Ponto Plus as he hears the whole sentence and doesn’t lose words like he used to. I’ve noticed that he doesn’t ask ‘what did you say?’ anymore too and says it isn’t louder but is much clearer to hear.

From my perspective, I’ve noticed he’s much better at hearing me when I am behind him/suboptimal placement. Before, if we weren’t already engaged, it was hard to get his attention from such a position but not now.

The biggest indicator I have thought is the TV! Before without the TV box connected (via Streamer), I set a limit to a volume of 24 (he would have it in the 40’s if unchecked). Now, he naturally sets it around 18 which is where I have it.

Overall it is clear he hears much better and we’re both very happy.

Interested in trying the Ponto 3 family of abutment-level processors? The Ponto 3 SuperPower processors are in stock and now available! Just click the button below to learn more.


Learn More