Category Archives: Community

Determination and perseverance lead to better hearing for Elizabeth Collins

Elizabeth Collins

After a slow progression of hearing loss in her right ear, Elizabeth Collins became permanently deaf on her right side from a mastoidectomy surgery at the age of 14. She has lived with single-sided deafness (SSD) for most of her life, struggling to hear in school and at work.

“I had a fear of not wanting to raise my hand in school because I didn’t want to make a mistake. Growing up with single-sided deafness and not having the access or advocacy that we have now meant dealing with a lot of stigmas around being hearing impaired. I had to overcome a lot of insecurity, adversity, and bullying as I grew up,” Elizabeth explained.

The first hearing aids she used were BiCROS hearing aids, but the solution wasn’t enough for her hearing loss. It wasn’t until Elizabeth was 38 years old, when she decided to go back to college, that she began researching new hearing loss solutions for SSD. While completing her associates degree at Tidewater Community college she noticed a picture of someone wearing something behind their ear — a bone-anchored hearing system (BAHS). Audiologists hadn’t presented BAHS as an option, so Elizabeth did her own research, and found BAHS could be the right solution.

Obstacles and persistence

Elizabeth encountered her first obstacle while trying to get approval for BAHS surgery —insurance. After her insurer rejected the surgery multiple times,  she reached out to a BAHS advocate who educated her on insurance codes. After two years of fighting, she was finally approved and moved forward with her abutment surgery in 2012.

A year later, Elizabeth encountered another issue when she tried to upgrade her device because she was struggling with the type of BAHS she was using. The device wasn’t helping her in school and customer service was not supportive of her needs. She researched other brands of BAHS and found the Facebook group BAHA World Hearing where she first learned about Oticon Medical’s Ponto bone-anchored hearing system. Elizabeth was given a Ponto loaner to try. She shared her reaction for the first time in a heart-tugging video (see below).

Elizabeth Collins tries a Ponto bone-anchored hearing system for the first time

Elizabeth made the decision to switch to a Ponto BAHS and got ready for her next battle — a revision operation to have an Oticon Medical abutment implanted. Two years after she graduated college and began her career as a Contract Specialist at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and despite confronting more insurance rejections for her re-implantation surgery, Elizabeth finally received her Oticon Medical abutment in October 2018.

Life with her Ponto 3 SuperPower

Elizabeth Collins with her Ponto 3 SuperPower

Since receiving her new abutment and Ponto 3 SuperPower, Elizabeth has been experiencing a new world of hearing. When in meetings for work she can hear sounds more clearly and doesn’t miss what her co-workers are saying, whereas before she would struggle to make sense of conversations. Last year she graduated magna cum laude from Strayer University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and is now pursuing a Master’s Degree.

“Now I get to discuss and elaborate on topics. I do presentations and trainings where before, never in my life would I have wanted to go up in front of people and present. I’m excelling at my job and advancing to leadership roles. The most important difference I’ve noticed is that my speech has improved, my family has started to respect me, and I feel more confident,” she said.

In the end Elizabeth feels the switch was worth it. “Oticon Medical has captured my heart and I’m not going back. When people see my Ponto and ask me what I’m wearing, I let them know that this is my ear.”

To learn more about the Ponto 3 SuperPower and connect with our team, click below:

Learn More

 

 

Ear Community goes to Washington with Ponto SuperPowers

Advocacy Day 2019

On February 26, Ear Community was invited to be a part of the 2019 Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.  This annual event invites advocates on behalf of dental, oral, and craniofacial research to speak directly with federal policymakers about how insurance coverage and research funding would improve the lives of those living with these conditions.

Organizer Melissa Tumblin founded Ear Community and has a daughter, Ally, with Microtia and Atresia who wears a bone-anchored hearing system (BAHS). Melissa was able to arrange the meetings with House and Senate representatives because she sits on the Patient Advocacy Council for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR).

Melissa and Ally were accompanied by eight other Ear Community families, including one medical doctor, to Washington, D.C. representing the states of Washington, Colorado, Tennessee, Maryland, and Virginia.

Lobbying on behalf of families living with hearing loss and related conditions

On Monday, February 25, Melissa met with directors from the National Institute of Health representing the NIDCR, American Association for Dental Research (AADR), and International Association for Dental Research (IADR) to discuss collaborative efforts regarding children and adults affected by craniofacial challenges due to Microtia and Atresia and Goldenhar Syndrome.

The next day, the Ear Community families met with the following representatives and staff members on Capitol Hill:

  • Staff members for Senator Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) office
  • Legislative staff members for Congressman Joe Neguse’s (D-CO), Senator Cory Gardner’s (R-CO), and Michael Bennet’s (D-CO) offices.
  • Legislative staff members for Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and office staff for Congressman John Sarbanes’ (D-MD) and Senator Ben Cardin’s (D-MD).
  • Legislative staff and the press secretary for Congressman Denny Heck’s (D-WA) office and an Appropriations representative for the NIH staff for Senator Patty Murray’s (D-WA) office.
  • Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), and legislative staff members for Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and Congressman Ben Cline (R-VA). Sen. Kaine was celebrating his birthday and signed a little girl with Microtia and Atresia named Mazie’s cast. Both Sen. Kaine and Rep. Spanberger tweeted about the Ear Community visit.

Sen. Mark Werner and Ear Community FamiliesRep. Spanberger with members of Ear Community

Melissa also scheduled phone meetings with Congressman David McKinley (R-WV) and Congressman Michael Thompson (D-CA), as they both serve as co-chairs of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus. Rep. McKinley is a cochlear implant user, and his grandson wears a bone-anchored hearing aid.

Each family left behind a detailed packet of information with the story of the Ear Community organization, an explanation about the need to wear bone-anchored hearing systems, and a sample of anaudiogram along with other helpful facts and figures. Each family explained to legislators and their staff that a bone-anchored device is their only option, because they don’t have the same hearing challenges that qualify others to wear cochlear implants or benefit from traditional hearing aids. Therefore, wearers need lawmakers to work toward mandating bone-conduction hearing device coverage by insurers nationwide. Otherwise, insurance companies are effectively discriminating against thousands of children and adults with hearing loss by not covering these medical devices.

A Stranger Things star gives back

Gaten Matarazzo poses with Ear Community kids for Advocacy Day 2019.

The Ear Community families also received an exciting treat: thanks to the NIDCR and AADR, they were given the opportunity to meet actor Gaten Matarazzo from the hit TV show Stranger Things! He was part of the Advocacy Day non-profit organization lobbying to bring awareness to Cleidocranial dysplasia (CCD), a rare genetic mutation affecting the growth and development of teeth and bones.

Melissa expressed her appreciation to Oticon Medical for lending her two Ponto 3 SuperPower BAHS on soft bands. During her visits, representatives tried on the Pontos and listened to her talk during their meetings, so they could experience for themselves what it’s like to hear through bone-anchored devices.

#

Ear Community hosts a series of picnics where Microtia and Atresia families can learn more about Oticon Medical’s Ponto 3 SuperPower. Please click through this link for the 2019 picnic schedule.

Ready to try your first Ponto BAHS or upgrade to our latest Ponto 3 model? Click below to get in touch with an audiologist in your area who can help you choose the best option for your hearing needs.

Help Finding A Local Audiologist

SuperNOVA receives super hearing from her Ponto 3 SuperPowers

Nova Cox

Pfeiffer Syndrome is a craniofacial disorder that affects one in every 100,000 people and impacts the way bones grow. Nine-year-old Nova Cox was born with Pfeiffer Syndrome, and in her case her head, neck, and arms have been affected resulting in hearing loss in both ears.

Because hearing loss is common with Pfeiffer Syndrome, her parents Elizabeth (Liz) and Jason connected with other families, utilized Facebook groups for bone conduction wearers, researched online, and consulted their audiologist before Nova was fit with a bone-anchored hearing system (BAHS) on a softband.  

That’s a new sound

After wearing a bone-anchored hearing device on a softband for 7.5 years, Nova began advocating for abutment surgery. After doing research with her family, they consulted an audiologist and were able to try on different types of BAHS before her surgery.

“Nova made the decision to have the implant surgery and was able to ask her questions and be a part of the decision-making process. When she learned more about it she advocated for it and we moved forward when she was ready. When she tried on the Ponto, she didn’t want to take it off,” Liz explained.

Nova chose the Ponto bone-anchored hearing system because she experienced less feedback and better sound quality after trying different devices. She had bilateral abutment surgery and was fit with two Ponto 3 SuperPowers. On the day her Pontos were programmed it was raining and her mom recalls she asked, “Does the rain always sound like this?”. Nova’s parents knew they had made the right decision and for the first few weeks of having her Pontos on abutments they liked to play a game called That’s a new sound, where Nova shared new sounds she was experiencing.

Life with Ponto

It’s been a year since Nova’s bilateral abutment surgery. Today, she is a fierce and mighty force of nature advocating for herself, her health, and her life as an active kid.

She says she loves her Ponto BAHS and enjoys using the Oticon Medical Streamer in class and when she’s in the hospital so she can watch movies to pass the time. And like lots of kids her age she likes Legos, Star Wars and Pokemon and spends her free time playing music, soccer, Taekwondo, and watching movies with friends.

Nova hiking

Nova practicing Taekwondo

Empowered to tell her story

Inspired to share her story especially with young children, Nova created the video below as she was preparing to give a talk in Washington, DC advocating for high-quality accessible healthcare for children.

SuperNOVA: A Tiny Film

Advice to others

Nova and her family have learned a lot in just nine years. A few important pieces of advice that they want to share with other families is to try multiple hearing devices in order to find the right solution and make decisions when the time is right for you or your child. As for Nova, she has the best advice — “Judge Less, Love More”.

To learn more about the Ponto 3 SuperPower and be connected with our team click below:

Learn More

 

Ponto 3 Superpower donation in honor of beloved hearing advocate provides recipient with the joy of hearing

Last month we partnered with Ear Community, a charitable nonprofit devoted to helping children and adults born with Microtia and Atresia, to donate a Ponto 3 Superpower hearing device in honor of Denise “Dee” Marie Inman. Dee, who had bilateral hearing loss stemming from the side effects of cancer treatments, was herself a recipient of a donated Ponto Power sound processor back in 2016 after her insurance provider denied coverage. As a member of Ear Community, Dee remained a staunch advocate for other individuals with hearing loss until she sadly lost her battle with cancer in 2018. Shortly thereafter, we contacted her husband Ken Inman and arranged to have a Ponto device donated in Dee’s honor.

A legacy of better hearing

Dee Inman and Eisen Witcher.

Ear Community helped identify the perfect recipient: Eisen Witcher, Ocean Rescue Chief Director for Brevard County Ocean Rescue Division, which ensures safe swimming and beach protection to residents and tourists. Witcher was born with grade 3 Microtia and Atresia of his left ear, yet like Dee was denied coverage for a bone conduction hearing device by his insurer. Fortunately, having been encouraged by his audiologist to apply for a donated device through Ear Community, he was chosen as the perfect recipient of Dee’s gift. Besides hearing loss and a mutual devotion to helping others in their communities, Witcher and Dee have something else in common — he also battled cancer and is now a three-year survivor.

In January 2019, Witcher was fitted with his new Ponto Superpower device at Space Coast Audiology Hearing and Balance. Witcher expressed his joy and appreciation, saying, “So this is new… I love it!” He also shared that his young son loves the stuffed monkey we gave him that wears its own Ponto device just like daddy.

A fitting memorial

Dee Inman and Ken Inman.

Ken said, “I am very honored about this donation in Dee’s name. I know this is something she would have really wanted. Thank you again for this honor. She left quite a legacy and will never be forgotten.”

We would like to thank Melissa Tumblin of the Ear Community organization for assisting in providing this donation in Dee’s memory. While we continue to mourn her loss, we are pleased that her legacy will live on through her good works and this life-changing gift to Eisen Witcher.

Click to visit Ear Community and learn more about their mission on behalf of individuals born with Microtia and Atresia.

Dee and Melissa Tumblin.

Eisen receives Ponto Superpower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’d like to learn more about the latest Ponto device, the Ponto 3 SuperPower, click below to reach an audiologist.

Learn More

 

 

Artist, Priscila Soares, uses imagery to advocate for the hearing loss community and adds new artwork to the Oticon Medical U.S. office

Priscila Soares creates works of art that tell the stories of real people behind hearing loss. After losing her hearing on both sides when she was young and advocating for her son, she began creating art that empowers and advocates for the hearing loss community.

Advocacy through art
Priscila is a hard of hearing artist and mother of three living in California whose hearing loss journey began when she was 17 years old. After undergoing surgery to remove a Cholesteatoma, a destructive skin growth that develops in the middle ear, problems with the surgery rendered her deaf in her right ear. At 24 years old, her left ear showed the same Cholesteatoma condition. She underwent surgery again which was successful, however, they discovered the bones had already been corroded resulting in hearing loss on her left side.

It wasn’t until her second son, Jason, was born with a moderate to severe hearing loss that Priscila began meeting other people within the hearing loss community at his preschool for deaf and hard of hearing children. It was within this environment that she met others with Bone Anchored Hearing Systems.

“I wanted to get the best quality of sound I could. It was hard to participate in group conversations. I couldn’t keep up with what everyone was saying, and I was trying to put together the missing words in between,” she explains. Priscila was bilaterally implanted with the Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System four years ago.

“Ally Is Looking Out for Microtia”

Hearing loss portrayed through art
As Priscila became more involved in the hearing loss community, she was inspired by the people she encountered and the knowledge she was learning and sharing. This led her to combine her two passions, hearing loss and art. Primarily using acrylic paints, dry pastels, and homemade clay she began to document her own journey – My Luckyears.

“It was two years ago that I decided to take my art seriously and my Ponto was a part of that. As I’ve felt more confident in my hearing, I’ve had the courage to pursue things I didn’t think were possible.”

This year, in recognition of National Microtia Awareness Day, Priscila created an art piece called “Ally is Looking Out for Microtia” – inspired by Ear Community Founder Melissa Tumblin’s daughter, Ally.

“The piece ‘Ally is Looking out for Microtia’ is part of a series of pieces I’ve been creating based on real children with hearing loss. I first created the piece because I wanted to honor all children with microtia and atresia. I added the butterfly to land on the Ponto, for good luck.

Different from my more personal paintings and sculptures, these sculptures are not about me and my personal journey, rather I just become the catalyst of what connects the child’s journey to the rest of the world. I like to portray children because those are the foundational years of a person’s life and I want them to feel empowered!” she says.

A new addition to the Oticon Medical U.S. office
Priscila’s work revolves around acceptance and helping those with hearing loss overcome hardships which is why we are proud to now have “Ally is Looking Out for Microtia” displayed at our U.S. headquarters.

“My most powerful way of sharing what I have learned for those starting their journey is through art. I hope this piece at the Oticon Medical U.S. office will be a reminder and an inspiration to look out for each other, advocate, and not be afraid to be who you truly are.”

If you are interested in learning more about the latest addition to the Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System – the Ponto 3 SuperPower – for yourself or your child click below:
Learn More

CardioThoracic nurse, Iris Leak, shares how her Ponto 3 SuperPower makes a difference at work and at home

Working as a CardioThoracic nurse for 27 years, Iris had become accustomed to noisy environments. However, after the removal of a glomus tumor and cholesteatoma, she found herself with conductive hearing loss and challenged to perform her work duties. She began searching for a solution and found the Ponto 3 SuperPower.

The effects of her hearing loss
Iris had been relying on her “good” left ear for some time, but as her hearing loss became more severe it also became increasingly difficult to hear and understand her co-workers and family.

“People at the hospital would have to throw things my way to get my attention because I couldn’t hear them anymore. It was getting more and more difficult to hear in my work environment,” she says.

In social situations, she struggled to keep up with conversations and found her hearing loss isolating her from family and friends. “I’m a talker naturally and I love being around people. But with my hearing loss, I found myself becoming more isolated because I couldn’t hear the conversations and couldn’t participate. I wasn’t myself.”

Finding the right solution
Iris started doing her research. She found support and resources through online Facebook groups like this one and worked with an audiologist who helped her understand her options. She demoed different bone anchored hearing devices and ultimately chose the Ponto.

In November of 2017, she had the Minimally Invasive Ponto Surgery (MIPS) and received her Ponto 3 SuperPower in January of 2018. To ensure her abutment was placed in the best position to accommodate her reading glasses and CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) mask she brought her glasses and mask to her surgeon to mark the abutment site. When she received her Ponto on the abutment for the first time she immediately put it to the test. “I went out to eat afterward, and I picked the noisiest place I knew—the mall. It was amazing! I love hearing and I feel like myself again.”

As Iris has grown more accustomed to her new world of hearing, she’s started using Ponto’s accessories like her Oticon Medical Streamer, which she describes as “game-changing”. “I hadn’t listened to music in years, but now it’s possible with my Ponto 3 SuperPower and Oticon Medical Streamer.”

Iris’s advice for those looking at a hearing loss solution is to remember nothing is perfect. Do your research to find the solution that is best for you.

If you’d like to learn more about the latest Ponto device – the Ponto 3 SuperPower, click below to be connected with an audiologist.
Learn More

Isabella’s Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System helps her on and off the volleyball court

Despite being born with a bilateral conductive hearing loss, Isabella doesn’t let anything, especially her hearing loss, slow her down. She has microtia on her left side and bilateral atresia. When her parents realized she had a hearing loss at birth, they worked quickly to ensure she received early intervention.

“When I was little and I hadn’t had my reconstruction surgery yet for my microtia, I used to tell people that I was in an alligator fight and that an alligator bit my ear off. I was instantly the coolest kid.” – Isabella Rodriguez.

Her mother, Lupita, began advocating and researching this new world of hearing loss which led her to join Georgia PINES (Parent Infant Network for Educational Services). Through her work as an early interventionist for Georgia PINES and Georgia Hands and Voices, she learned first-hand about the latest hearing technology and spoke with local audiologists. This is how she came across Oticon Medical’s Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System.

Starting high school off right
As Isabella entered high school, her parents knew she needed to upgrade to the newest technology to ensure she was set up for success. After trialing different brands, Isabella chose the Ponto and started her high school days with a Ponto Plus Power on a softband. “The Ponto was a lot clearer, had less feedback and had a sleek design, while the other options sounded robotic,” she explains.

And in a school of more than 3,000 kids, her Ponto made a difference. Whether she was taking part in group projects, communicating with classmates in the cafeteria, or socializing in the courtyard.

“In the classroom, the new lecture style of teaching where the teacher moves about the room would have normally been really difficult for me to hear, but my Oticon Medical Streamer helps. I wear my Streamer and the teachers use an FM system to send sound to my Streamer which sends sound to my Ponto.” – Isabella Rodriguez

Connecting with other Ponto users at local events
As Isabella now plans for college next year, she and her family have started researching abutment surgery. Surgery can come with a lot of questions and 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. After attending a bone anchored hearing meetup in Georgia, hosted by Ross Wiseman earlier this year, Isabella and Lupita were able to meet other Ponto users who wear their Pontos on abutments.

“We were able to connect with Ross and two other women who had the Ponto abutment surgery at the meetup. They explained their experience with the surgery and how their hearing had improved,” Lupita explained.

Wearing a Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System in high school
Isabella currently plays competitive volleyball with her Ponto, which she says helps her hear coaches and teammates.

“I never play without my Ponto.” – Isabella Rodriguez

As she’s grown older, she has gained more confidence and become used to educating her teachers and fellow students on what it means to have a hearing loss. To other young people with hearing loss who may be struggling with self-confidence, she says, “Don’t be ashamed. Everyone is different and there is nothing wrong with you.”

 

If you’d like to learn more about the latest Ponto device – the Ponto 3 SuperPower, click below to be connected with an audiologist.
Learn More

 

The Ponto 3 SuperPower ignites a love for music for Talia

Three-year-old Talia Jarvis was born with unilateral microtia and atresia, and bilateral moderate-severe hearing loss. When the Jarvis family adopted Talia in March of 2017, they took her to an ENT right away to begin her hearing journey.

“I wasn’t familiar with all the different devices. Our audiologist said they were all pretty much the same. They didn’t provide the Ponto so we took home a different bone anchored hearing device to trial and it didn’t reach our expectations.” – Laurie Jarvis

Talia’s mother, Laurie, began doing her own research because of the severe feedback issues Talia was experiencing. She began speaking to other users online in Facebook groups like this one and this one that helped her find the Ponto 3 SuperPower and halt her current bone anchored hearing system order until Talia trialed the Ponto. “I told my doctor that if they didn’t let us trial the Ponto device we would be switching to someone else, ” she explains.

Since receiving her Ponto 3 SuperPower Talia’s world has expanded and is happy to wear her device all day. She is now learning language and her mother says she can hear the differences in sounds. 

“With the Ponto, she cried the first time I took it off at night. The next morning she pointed to it on the dresser and every day since then it’s the very first thing she asks for in the morning.

Before it was hard to get her to sit still to read a story. Now she will ask for book after book after book. She wants to learn new vocabulary and is constantly asking me what this and that is. That interest was not there before.” – Laurie Jarvis

One of the greatest differences her family has witnessed is seeing her discover a love for music. At home, Talia now enjoys listening to her sister play the piano, a sound that until recently was something she had not heard.

 

“My oldest daughter was playing the piano one morning and Talia was sitting in her highchair eating breakfast and she looked at me and she pointed to my daughter who was playing and she signed ‘piano; It was obvious that she was hearing something different.” – Laurie Jarvis

If you’d like to learn more about the latest Ponto device – Ponto 3 SuperPower, click below to be connected with an audiologist.

Learn More

Learn about bone anchored hearing and try the Ponto 3 SuperPower at these Fall meet-ups

We know that honest conversation about others’ experiences can be the most powerful tool in making the right decision for the best hearing care. This summer, we hosted meetups all around the U.S. where local advocates shared their Ponto journeys. Advocates like Dayla Hurley, shared how her son Brody’s life changed since receiving his bilateral  Ponto 3 SuperPower’s .

 

 

Brody’s first time truly hearing music and his reaction:

 

Brody’s first time saying “Mommy”:

 

Our meetups are continuing this Fall and advocates like Dayla will hold empowering discussions and conversation around bone anchored hearing.

We’re sad to see Summer go, but we’re excited to see you this Fall. Check out the list below to see if we’re coming to your city and don’t forget to RSVP!

Richmond, VA
September 14, 2018
Hosted by Bethany Geldmaker
RSVP here

Charlotte, NC
October 6, 2018
Hosted by Kathy Bowie
RSVP here

Raleigh, NC
October 20, 2018
Hosted by Nancy Oberman
RSVP here

Cincinnati, OH
November 3, 2018
Hosted by Camilla Gilbert and Brittney Underwood
RSVP here

If you are interested in hosting an event in your area, we’d love to chat! You can email Liz at lflo@oticonmedical.com or comment below.

What I’m doing with my Ponto – a readworthy roundup of accomplishments

Our community is filled with individuals who have overcome tremendous obstacles, advocated for themselves and others, and ultimately found the right hearing solution in the Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System. Below we’ve highlighted just a few of our incredible community members in hopes that their stories will inspire and motivate, and continue to remind us of what human determination and persistence can achieve.

You can’t be what you can’t see – Marie Wilson 

Annika Sappington – heart warrior

Annika was born with bilateral microtia and atresia and last November was implanted with bilateral Ponto 3 SuperPowers. This month, she underwent open heart surgery to correct a heart anomaly and journeyed from Texas to Boston with her family for the operation. While Annika was in recovery, she wore one of her Ponto’s so she could hear her family, nurses and doctors entering the room.

“She refused to take her Ponto off for four days straight. 24/7 without turning it off. She wanted to be able to hear when the staff came in at night to check her vitals and give pain meds. I thought for sure the battery would run down with nonstop use and it hasn’t.” – Shannon Sappington, Annika’s mother

After a successful surgery, Annika traveled back to Texas, using her Streamer to enjoy her flight home where she is now recovering and jumping back into Summer activities.

“I love that on airplanes Annika can plug her streamer into the screen and it bluetooths to her Pontos—she can watch AND hear movies! Without that streamer, she wouldn’t be able to hear the movie since she has no ears for headphones. The streamer is her own personal headphone! It’s the little things that make a BIG difference!” Shannon Sappington

Emma Bowie – A chance to dance

Emma Bowie was born with left ear Microtia and has a Ponto Plus on a softband. 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. ‘A Chance to Dance’ and Emma were featured on TODAY in a heartwarming video about the studio.

This year she competed at Nationals in a dance duo where she won Gold, earned 2nd place in her category and placed 13th out of 36 duos. Next month, she will be traveling to Secaucus, NJ for the World Dance Championship, and we’re wishing her the best of luck!

Anthony Smith – A real “Hear-O”

You might recognize Anthony Smith by a different name – “Blue Ear”. Blue Ear is a fictional superhero created by Marvel in honor of Anthony, a 9-year old Ponto user who also happens to love comic books. Anthony and his family inspired Marvel Comics to create a new superhero with a listening device, which led to the design of a comic that was distributed as an educational tool for children in NYC public schools. The comic helped teach children about hearing loss and why bullying is intolerable.

This year, Anthony was honored by the Children’s Hearing Institute at the UN, and took home the Hearing “Hear-O” Award for his advocacy and being a real-life inspiration to children with hearing loss all around the world.

Sarah Sabal – engineering her future

Sarah Sabal was unaided until the age of 7.5 when she was adopted by the Sabal family. She now has bilateral Lewin Ears and wears bilateral Oticon Medical Ponto 3 SuperPowers on abutments. She was recently accepted into a competitive engineering pipeline internship program with a multinational power company based in the UK. She is a top student, with the opportunity to pursue a number of different opportunities. Her mother Angela mentioned their concern about wearing the engineering hard hat over her Ponto 3 Superpowers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

“My biggest worry was the engineering hard hat not fitting over her processors and having to reimplant her, but it was needless worry because the hard hat fits with zero feedback!!” – Angela Sabal

Isabella Rodriguez – advocating for herself on and off the court 

Isabella was born with microtia and atresia and began wearing a Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System in 2015. She is now in high school and plays competitive volleyball while wearing her Ponto, which she says helps her hear her coaches and teammates. In 2017, she participated in the State Wide Oratorical Contest for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing and took first place. She is now preparing for college next year, where she intends to play volleyball at the collegiate level.

 

“I’m proving people wrong. It’s not just me, anyone with a hearing loss can do it, you just need to keep pushing.” – Isabella Rodriguez

If you’d like to learn more about the Ponto 3 SuperPower for yourself or your child, click below.

Learn More