Category Archives: Community

Discover the difference: The importance of trying different bone anchored hearing devices and why these families chose Ponto

This past October, we sat down with parents of children who use the Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System and asked them about three important aspects of the bone anchored hearing experience – the power of choice, discovering the difference, and powerful sound.

Try and discover the difference 

In the video below learn how important it is to demo different devices and how these parents discovered the difference with Ponto by doing so.

 

Interested in the Ponto 3 SuperPower as a possible hearing solution for your child? Click below to learn more.

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Powerful choice: Why these parents chose the Ponto 3 SuperPower for their children

This past October, we sat down with parents of children who use the Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System and asked them about three important aspects of the bone anchored hearing experience – the power of choice, discovering the difference, and powerful sound.

Choice – you have options

There are options when it comes to bone anchored hearing, and these families have learned about their choices through online support groups such as this one and this one, research and advocacy. 

In the videos below, two families share their experiences of looking for the right hearing solution and choosing Ponto. We hope their stories empower you to find the solution that’s right for your child.

Interested in the Ponto 3 SuperPower as a possible hearing solution for your child? Click below to learn more.

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The Ponto 3 SuperPower is a hopeful solution to hearing loss for James Wolff

James Wolff is 71-years-old and has experienced hearing loss for years. In the past, he wore bilateral hearing aids, however, because of drainage in his left ear, he often had to remove the hearing aid which left him with poor hearing on his left side. His daughter, Kimberlee Griffey who has worked at Oticon Medical for 7 years, recounts bringing her bone anchored hearing equipment to Christmas every year for her father to try.

“I’d bring a demo, a softband, and a Streamer to Christmas,  just wanting to test him, but he would say he didn’t need it. Then last Christmas he finally said ‘I think I’m ready for the procedure’.” – Kimberlee Griffey

James had surgery to get his abutment placed in June 2017 with Dr. James Benecke at Missouri Baptist Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Benecke has been working with bone anchored hearing systems (BAHS) for 14 years. He says that for many patients with conductive or mixed hearing loss who cannot have their hearing corrected surgically and cannot use hearing aids because of ear canal and drainage issues, a BAHS is a great option.

When considering a BAHS for his patients, Dr. Benecke investigates and explains all available options. He recommends that his patients talk with other patients who wear different devices, checks insurance options and has patients trial the BAHS on a softband. If an audiometric evaluation is unclear as to whether a person might be a good candidate for the Ponto, he works with Oticon Medical representatives to help with identifying potential candidates when an evaluation might be unclear.

“I always give patients their options and have them chat with people who have tried different systems. Overall, my patient population does better with bone anchored hearing systems as opposed to a CROS hearing aid.” – Dr. Benecke

For James’s procedure, Dr. Benecke performed the Minimally Invasive Ponto Surgery (MIPS). MIPS is a procedure that takes 10-15 minutes and is normally carried out under local anesthetic. He mentions that when someone says the word surgery, most patients have pre-conceived thoughts about what is involved.

“No one wants to have surgery, but if there is an opportunity to improve an aspect of someone’s health by doing a procedure that someone is well informed about and has good outcomes, then people need to know about it so they can make the best-informed decision.” – Dr. Benecke

“When people first think of surgery they think long recovery time—a long time in the operating room. I tell people that with the MIPS procedure it’s less than an hour, outpatient procedure. My dad had no pain whatsoever. It was life-changing for him. My advice is not to wait because you don’t know what you’re missing.” – Kimberlee Griffey

This past September, James was activated with his Ponto 3 SuperPower and the results have been life-changing.

“Before he described sounds as muffled.  Now it is loud and clear.  His volume of speech has significantly decreased because now he can monitor his own speech, where he was not able to do this before. He drives a lot and he’s able to put the microphone on his grandkids and he can hear them in the back seat. He also loves using his Streamer to connect to his phone, TV, and laptop. It has opened a whole new world and I am so very grateful that he is able to get the best of life in his golden years.” – Kimberlee Griffey

As awareness continues to grow around bone anchored hearing and the MIPS procedure, Dr. Benecke says he will continue to advocate for bone anchored hearing because ‘the results speak for themselves’.

“The first thing my dad said after he was fit with his Ponto was ‘why didn’t you tell me about this earlier?’” – Kimberlee Griffey

 

Interested in learning more about the Ponto 3 SuperPower? Click below and we can help connect with you with an audiologist in your area.
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Nathan’s journey to his Ponto 3 SuperPower

Nathan Anderson is 7-years-old. He was born with Treacher Collins syndrome and bilateral conductive hearing loss. His hearing journey began when he was 6 months old with a bone anchored hearing system (BAHS) on a softband.

While his mother, Liz Anderson, was happy her son had the device, they were never happy with the feedback that occurred when someone or something would come in contact with it. Through online communities such as the “BAHA Kids Club World Hearing”, Liz began to learn about other bone anchored hearing options and came across Oticon Medical and the Ponto.

When it came time to decide whether or not he would continue with his device on a softband, Nathan who prior to his BAHS surgeries had had 7 other medical procedures, was unsure about the decision. He spoke with a friend who had gone from a softband to an abutment and received reassurance that the surgery was an easy process.

“When it came time for deciding on whether or not to have surgery for implantation, Nathan made the decision himself. One day at the dinner table, he let us know he was ready.”

In the video below, Nathan’s Ponto 3 SuperPowers are activated!

 

“When I saw videos of adults trying the new Ponto 3 SuperPower, it helped me make the decision that that was the direction we wanted to go. The clarity that people spoke of and children in middle school spoke about trying different BAHS devices but ultimately chose Ponto – that cemented our decision.”

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.
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The Ponto 3 Power Makes a Powerful Difference in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America with a population of over 6 million people. According to the Carlyle Hearing Center, it is estimated that 10% of the Nicaraguan population has a severe to profound hearing loss, pointing to a count of 600,000 people.

Sherry Rauh is a former medical journalist. After becoming intrigued by implantable hearing technology, she went back to school and to earn her AuD from Nova Southeastern University in 2015. She is now a clinical audiologist with South Florida ENT Associates and the co-founder of Hear for Good, Inc., a nonprofit foundation dedicated to helping adults and children with hearing loss in South Florida and Nicaragua.

Hearing Aids for Nicaraguan Students (HANS)

Kamilla, age 7

In 2014, Dr. Rauh organized a joint project between Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Student Academy of Audiology and the Los Pipitos Institute in Managua, Nicaragua to provide hearing aids to children.

“I had been to Nicaragua the previous year and saw how they were identifying many children with hearing loss at a young age, but had limited resources for intervention.”

In 2015, the HANS Project received a grant from the Hear the World Foundation providing BTE hearing aids for the next 5 years. Dr. Rauh now travels to Nicaragua every year with a small group of audiology students from NSU, to fit new hearing aid devices and provide followup to previous patients, while Los Pipitos provides check-ups and speech therapy.

“It’s really important to me that whichever children we do fit with hearing aids we are able to provide them with sufficient follow-up care.”

Providing Bone Conduction Hearing Devices in Nicaragua

Anselyn, age 1

As Dr. Rauh’s organization has grown, her partners in Nicaragua began asking what could be done for children with microtia and atresia, who cannot use conventional hearing aids for their hearing loss. She reached out to Oticon Medical and her local representative, Brittany Whitlock, who provided two demo units which were fit with soft-bands. Oticon Medical then made an official donation of four Ponto 3 Power units for her trip her most recent trip this October.

“While we have the BTE hearing aids, there are children who can’t use those and to be able to extend assistance to those children meant a lot to our team, the team in Nicaragua, and the families.”

Frander, age 7 months

 

With the continued work of the Hear for Good foundation and Los Pipitos, children in Nicaragua with different hearing needs are not only being fit with hearing devices, but receiving the proper follow-up, and care throughout their lives. When asked why this work is important to her, Dr. Rauh said, “There are so many countries where there is very little, to no access to audiologists, so part of me feels like we have a responsibility to provide that assistance. But I also get a lot of personal joy making these trips and seeing the difference we are making.”

 

Naven thrives with the help of his Ponto 3 and Ear Community

Naven Ramirez, BMA age 5 of the Philippines, receives (2) newly donated Oticon Medical Ponto 3’s on October 6th, 2017

Naven R. Osic is a five-year-old boy from the Philippines who was born with bilateral Microtia and Atresia. After learning that her son was born missing both his ears, Naven’s mother Donna, worried about how he would adjust to life and what impact this hearing loss would have on him. As Naven got older and began attending a daycare school, he struggled to hear his teachers, keep up with lessons, and make friends.

Donna decided to take action and meet with an ENT at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) where she received heartbreaking news – without the appropriate hearing device, Naven’s speech, and hearing would continue to decline and he would continue to struggle socially and academically. Further testing showed that Naven had moderate to severe conductive hearing loss and would need bilateral bone conduction devices to help him hear.

Seeking assistance, Naven’s audiologists reached out to Ear Community and on October 6, 2017 he was fitted with two brand new Oticon Medical Ponto 3 hearing devices, donated through Ear Community. Naven now has the auditory tools he needs to thrive and hear his best. 

Naven now is very happy, he clearly hear(s) what we are saying. He can easily keep up (with) the lesson when he is at school – Donna

To read the full story, visit Ear Community and learn more.

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

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Learn how Heidi Jeffs chose the Ponto 3 for her daughter Rosalee and became an advocate in the hearing loss community

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.

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“I kindly demanded an upgrade” – How Jillian, Hazel’s mother, advocated for Hazel to get a Ponto 3 SuperPower

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.

She began speaking to other bone anchored hearing system users online and in a number of Facebook groups which is where she learned about the Ponto 3 SuperPower.

“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.

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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.

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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

My Ponto 3 SuperPower “Snap Day!”

Since the Ponto 3 SuperPower came out in January, I’ve been itching to get my own. After seeing so many faces of children and adults alike light up after popping their SuperPowers on for the first time, I knew I had to have mine. Recently, that day came for my own ‘snap day’ with my new Ponto 3 SuperPower!

When I got my first Ponto Plus in the summer of my sophomore year of college, the very first sounds that I heard were those of a doctor’s office in Boston. Though that experience was wonderful, I wanted to go the extra mile when I snapped on my Ponto 3 SuperPower for the first time.

A big part of my life in college is singing for the Stonehill College Chapel Choir. Its members are some of the most important people in my life, and I wanted very much to share this experience with them. I have been with them since my freshman year, and now that I am graduating, we are having a lot of ‘lasts’ together. I figured it was about time for another ‘first!” So, the first thing I wanted to hear with my new Ponto was their beautiful voices singing one of our favorite songs; and we got it on camera! Take a look:


To have felt such overwhelming excitement and joy from being able to hear so clearly was remarkable. Every day, I’m astounded by the number of lives that this device has the power to change for the better. I couldn’t be more thankful to the creators of this device; the people who gave my hearing back to me!

 

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

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About the author – Kevin Hotaling

After attending Oticon Medical’s patient advocacy event in 2016, I knew I wanted to take action on my advocacy in a new way. I am in awe of the work that Oticon Medical does, and even more so excited by the ways in which the work is done. I’ve always been very adept in social networking and media and knew I wanted to use my skill set in a professional, progressive and communal environment.