We know that conversation and discussion through the lens of experience is the most powerful tool in making the right decision for the best hearing care. Recently, we’ve been working on a program with our advocates to empower these discussions in local communities with meetups around the United States.
These events are an opportunity to learn about the latest hearing technology, how to navigate the process of selecting a hearing device, trial the Ponto 3 SuperPower and meet other people within the community. Our hope is that these events can help create that community connection to help people connect and make the best, most informed decisions when it comes to healthy hearing.
Here’s a look into one of the first events hosted by Angela Sabal, creator of the “BAHA World Hearing” Facebook support group, and Maureen Winter, Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager for Oticon Medical that took place yesterday in Richmond, VA.
Stay tuned as we continue to roll out more events throughout the year. If you are interested in hosting an event in your area, we’d love to chat! You can email Liz at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.
Interested in learning more about the Ponto 3 SuperPower? Click “Learn More” to be connected to a representative.
We hear time and time again from parents of Ponto users that doing research into all the hearing options available is the best way to make the most informed decision. For Heidi Jeffs, research into different hearing groups is what led her to not only find the best hearing solution for her five-year-old daughter Rosalee but become an advocate in the hearing loss community.
Rosalee was born with microtia and atresia on her left side and fit with a bone anchored hearing device on a soft band given to her by her audiologist.
“We met with our audiologist and wanted her to have a device. We didn’t know any different or know of other options.”
Shortly after, Heidi learned about Ear Community, a non-profit organization that offers a supportive community for individuals born with microtia and atresia, and other varying degrees of hearing loss.
The community, which was started by Melissa Tumblin whose daughter Ally was born with microtia and atresia, provides support through their online Facebook group as well as annual picnics around the country.
Through her involvement with Ear Community, Heidi began meeting other parents and bone anchored hearing system (BAHS) users and found that feedback was a common issue.
“We were having a lot of feedback issues. Some moms were commiserating about it and then there was one mom whose daughter had bilateral Pontos and she was like ‘what are you guys talking about?’ The woman said her daughter could lay on a pillow with her Pontos on and it wouldn’t squeal. So I started looking into the Ponto devices.”
The Ear Community picnics were where Heidi became familiar with Oticon Medical and her daughter was able to try on a Ponto device for the first time.
“It didn’t sound echoey. It was just clear. I was flat out convinced. Then the more and more that I learned about the company I was even more impressed. It really felt like Oticon Medical stood by their motto ‘People First’.”
When it was time for Rosalee to upgrade, she tested the Ponto 3 on a softband and said yes to switching to the Ponto. Heidi notes that before, it was difficult to get Rosalee to wear her device, but since switching she hasn’t complained once about the softband being uncomfortable or sore, making the transition very easy and enjoyable.
“Between the quality of products and the integrity of the company, it is so far above the others out there.”
Since beginning this hearing care journey with her daughter, Heidi has served on the board of Ear Community for three years and is now a full-time staff member. Additionally, she served on the board for the Idaho Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and was chosen as a parent representative for Idaho to attend the EHDI conference – an early hearing detection and intervention event. To all parents looking to learn about hearing options for themselves or their child with hearing loss, she recommends trying all your options, on your child and yourself, to help you make the best decision for your family.
Are you interested in learning about the Ponto 3 SuperPower and how it can provide early support for children and adults with hearing loss? Click below to be connected to a representative from our team.
Hazel Shelton was born with bilateral Microtia and moderate mixed hearing loss. She was unaided until she was 18 months and adopted by the Shelton family. After trying a number of hearing devices and experiencing issues with feedback, her mother Jillian decided to conduct her own research and become an advocate for her daughter.
“I watched a video of a daughter laying in her mother’s arms wearing the Ponto and there was no feedback. I started to look in the Facebook groups and hands down, Ponto won.”
Jillian traveled to California to attend the Earicles Los Angeles Microtia Atresia conference to take her research further. After meeting with a number of doctors and experts, she returned home and “kindly demanded” an upgrade for her daughter.
Hazel has now been using her Ponto 3 SuperPower on a softband for two weeks. In the video below, Jillian demonstrates just how big of a difference her Ponto is making in her life.
“My daughter’s sentences have exploded. Not just one or two words but sentences and she’s only had them on for two weeks! The feedback is not there – when she gives me a hug, sits in her car seat, or wears her hair down. She grabs the Ponto first thing in the morning and wears it until she falls asleep at night. Hands down, Ponto is the way to go.”
If you’d like to learn more about how the Ponto 3 SuperPower can provide early support for children and adults with hearing loss, click below to be connected to a representative from our team.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 first met Shannon and her son Davin after she posted a video of him wearing his Ponto Pluses on abutments for the first time.
It was so loud and I loved it! – Davin
At the Oticon Medical Patient Advocacy Workshop Davin was able to try our upcoming product, the Ponto 3 SuperPower. His mom said, “He didn’t want to give it back,” and in the video below, Davin shares his experience with his dad:
Shannon also shared the experience she and Davin had attending the Oticon Medical Patient Advocacy Workshop:
Over 8 1/2 years ago Davin was born, a day that was supposed to be one of the happiest days of my life…wasn’t, it was the scariest….as some of you know, we had such a traumatic delivery and as a result, he was born unconscious. After he finally started to cry they brought him to us. We were told he didn’t have ears or ear canals, he was deaf and would NEVER hear, he would be a “deaf mute” and NEVER talk, he had a cleft palate….oh then a few hours after he was born we were told “I’m sorry but Davin’s skull was fractured during delivery and he needs surgery to lift his skull off of his brain because it is pressing on his brain and hemorrhaging”. Who would’ve thought that the scariest day of my life would bring me such joy over the years.
Because of Davin, over the last 8 1/2 years I have met some of the most amazing people that I never would have ever had the privilege of meeting. This past weekend was one of those times. We were invited to the Oticon Medical Patient Advocacy Workshop. What an experience. I learned a whole lot, was finally able to meet some of my friends and part of my support system in person, along with making new friends who get it. Davin had the opportunity to try out the newest device that’s not even available yet. He was able to meet and hang out with other people, of all ages, who wear the same hearing devices as him, making new friends. The smile on his face and joy he expressed was one of the best experiences I have ever had. It was such an amazing experience for him…and me. I cried many tears, laughed a lot and had such a great time.
All of this was possible because of the company the makes Davin’s hearing aids. Oticon Medical truly cares!! They are top notch in customer service and are like family. So thankful to have met so many from Oticon and to put faces to names. I am truly blessed and so thankful for this opportunity. Thank you Oticon Medical! You have fans, friends, and family for life here! Love my Ponto Family!
This week, we were in San Diego at the AAO-HNSF conference to connect with hearing care professionals from around the world. Our booth at the conference gave professionals the opportunity to perform mock, hands-on Minimally Invasive Ponto Surgery (MIPS) procedures.
The MIPS surgery takes a total of 10-15 minutes and is normally carried out under local anesthetic. A circular incision is made that matches the abutment exactly. The surgeon uses specially designed instruments for MIPS. This leaves the skin around the incision intact with no skin tissue or hair follicles removed from around the abutment.
Here’s a short video that we shot on the conference floor. Note that the person doing the demo isn’t a professional, so she was learning in real-time just how minimally-invasive getting an abutment for a Ponto can be!
Want to learn more about getting your own Ponto? We can connect you with a local Audiologist, just click the button below and let us know!
As we transition from summer to fall, we share the last of our user generated Ponto videos. Our last video comes from Sarah, a 9th grader who describes how her Ponto has made a difference in her education.
“My Pontos are a part of me, and help me be the best student I can be”
Watch the full story below and #ChooseSound #ChoosePonto.
If you would like to know more about the Ponto system and speak to an audiologist, click the button below and we will connect you.
Happy back to school season! This time of year, we see many questions about FM systems in the classroom. Recently, a Ponto user and advocate sent this question our way. So, we wanted to take the opportunity to share an answer from one of our top audiologists.
Here’s the question:
“Does anyone have any experience with FM systems? My son is in the first grade, and he has bilateral BAHAs. The school ordered the Amigo for him over the summer, at that time he had the slightly older model Ponto (the Pro I believe). He had surgery to place abutments over the summer and to our surprise we received two new hearing aids with the surgery. I also got a Streamer. The Amigo isn’t wireless and doesn’t seem to be as compatible with the Ponto Plus as the Streamer.
Does anyone have experience with the different FM systems especially in the classroom setting? I have been told in the past that when FM is on, the hearing aid only picks up sound transmitted to microphone and blocks all other surrounding sound and I have been told that isn’t true. Neither of these people used the FM themselves. Can anyone who has a BAHA share?”
Enter one of Oticon Medical’s top Audiologists, Laura Phelps. Here’s Laura’s answer:
The Amigo is an FM system and is wireless. It’s likely that the Amigo FM receiver that would be used with the Ponto Pro (the older device) is the Amigo R2BA, which has 3 pins of same length, and plugs into the DAI port on the Ponto processor. This is probably what was ordered by the school over the summer. With the new Ponto Plus processor and the Ponto Streamer, the receiver used would be the Amigo R2, which has a longer Europin-middle pin. It plugs into the Ponto Streamer, not the processor.
So there are two options:
A. They can use the Amigo R2BA receiver, which is likely what was ordered over the summer, with the older Ponto Pro processors at school and use the new Ponto Plus processor and Ponto Streamer at home.
B. The school can purchase one Amigo R2 receiver which would plug into the Ponto Streamer and just one receiver would transmit to both Ponto Plus processors.
Regarding the question about what the Ponto is picking up, surrounding noise versus what is being transmitted from the teacher’s microphone:
For scenario A (above), the audiologist typically programs “Program 2″ as FM+M, meaning that the R2BA receiver on the Ponto receives the signal from the teacher’s mic and the Ponto microphones pick up the surrounding sounds.
For scenario B above, the Ponto Streamer settings default to receiving both the FM and M.
For either scenario A or B, the relative inputs from the FM Signal and the Mic signal can be adjusted if you want to change the “mix”. This is helpful if student reports that he or she is getting too much surrounding noise relative to the teacher’s voice, or vice versa.
I would recommend that the school Audiologists contact one of the Clinical Specialists through customer service for guidance, and the child’s Clinical Audiologist might need to get involved as well. It is often the case that the school Audiologist defers to the Clinical Audiologist to make programming changes since they are the ones that fit the instrument.
So, there it is! We hope this answer helps as your student heads back to school. Do you have other questions regarding FM systems? Please let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter. We’re always here to help!