Category Archives: Community

Advocacy leads Kim Russell to find the right hearing solution for her single-sided deafness

Kim Russell

At 10 years old, Kim Russell was diagnosed with a chronic ear infection that could not be helped with antibiotics. She underwent a mastoidectomy to remove the infection, resulting in permanent hearing loss in her left ear. Her mother, having had the same issue when she was younger, also lost her hearing and therefore single-sided deafness (SSD) was a normal part of life in her family.

“School, work and social situations were hard, and the options were not as robust as they are now,” Kim said.

Kim became accustomed to living life with one good ear and didn’t receive intervention or aid until she was 25. Her job had hearing aid coverage and she looked into what options were available for her hearing loss. She discovered BiCROS hearing aids and wore them for 30 years. Although the hearing aids helped, no solution is perfect. Crowds were still difficult and loud places like bowling alleys and restaurants made it impossible to hear people speaking and know where sound was coming from. Her audiologist had never mentioned any other options, so she believed BiCROS was the only type of hearing loss solution available to her.

A chance encounter with a bone anchored hearing system

Kim stumbled upon a bone-anchored hearing system (BAHS) on Facebook when a friend happened to post a video at the right time. “One day on Facebook, a friend of mine who is a nurse posted a video on her Facebook page and normally it wouldn’t be anything I would pay attention to. It was something about a surgeon performing a surgery for the first time in West Michigan. They were doing a MIPS procedure (Minimally Invasive Ponto Surgery). He’s the only MIPS surgeon in this part of Michigan and they mentioned single-sided deafness. I did some research and realized this was for people like me!”

Kim searched for the name of the doctor’s office online and learned it was located in the building next door to her dentist. She scheduled an appointment, and learned she was a great candidate for the Ponto System. After trialing a Ponto BAHS on a softband for a week she had the MIPS surgery in July of 2018 and received a Ponto 3 SuperPower. “It was easier than a dental procedure. I was in, out, dressed and drinking coffee in about 58 minutes,” she said.

A new world of sound emerges with the Ponto 3 SuperPower

After Kim’s MIPS procedure and Ponto 3 SuperPower activation a new world of friends, advocacy, and interaction opened up to her.

“For the first time since getting my Ponto, I went for a walk with a friend. I’ve always kept people on my good ear (right side) so we put her on my left to see what would happen. I about jumped out of my skin. Her voice was clear and crisp, even with the radio blaring in the background.

The sound quality from trying the Ponto on a softband vs. an abutment is so much better, so crisp. I call it ‘organic’,” she explained.

As Kim has learned more about Ponto and become more involved in the hearing loss community, she has learned just how important advocacy is. “How did I go so long being hearing impaired and not knowing there were other options? This BAHA World Hearing Facebook group was where I received most of my education. It’s important for people to look into all of their options, and do their research.”

Kim’s advocacy and education came full circle last year after she attended Oticon Medical’s yearly advocacy conference. She met fellow Ponto users and collaborated with Oticon Medical staff.

“Before, I had never told anyone I wore any kind of hearing aid. This time, as soon as I got my abutment I shared it on Facebook because it’s important to get the word out. Knowing what was available made a difference in my life. Every now and then I notice the crispness of something I haven’t heard before. I hope advocacy and sharing my story can do the same for someone else.”

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Using Social Media to Support Hearing Health Advocacy_2

Part 2 of 5

In Part 1 of this series launched last week, I provided suggestions on what to consider before establishing your online presence. This week, in Part 2, I’m going to guide you through how to define the goals you hope to reach by taking your advocacy online.

Be S.M.A.R.T.

Continuing with single-sided deafness (SSD) advocacy as an example cause, let’s say you start with a goal of, “To raise awareness of single-sided deafness”. That’s a fine start, but you should further define what you hope to achieve online in order to track your progress and results. Most social media professionals utilize the S.M.A.R.T. method to establish clear and attainable goals. Let’s look at how this works by using this method to refine our sample goal:

  • Specific. The more precisely defined, the better. If you’re defining an online presence, here are some examples to help you set specific goals:
    • Who — do you want to reach by taking your advocacy online?
    • What — do you intend to accomplish for your cause?
    • When — what milestones do you want to reach on your way to the goal?
    • Where — do you want your online reach to extend (local, countrywide, global)?
    • Why — are you choosing to expand your advocacy to include online efforts?
    • How — are you going to use social media to achieve your goal?

This leads to a clearer, more precisely defined goal, e.g., “To raise public awareness in the U.S. of the issues affecting those living with single-sided deafness in order to increase donations this year.”

 

  • Measurable. How do you know if you’ve increased donations? Set a measurement, such as, “Double the number of donations received over last year.”
  • Attainable. Look closely at that number and make sure it’s achievable. It’s usually wise to start smaller and then build over time. In this case, perhaps something more attainable would be, “Increase donations by 10 percent over last year.”
  • Relevant. Consider whether social media provides an opportunity you wouldn’t have otherwise. If so, then ask yourself, “How?” Adjust your goal to focus on what you plan to achieve using tools uniquely available online, such as, “Increase donations by 10 percent this year by driving Friends/Fans/Followers to GoFundMe campaign.”
  • Time-based. Goals bound by specific timeframes are easier to track and attain. Rather than a vague “this year”, try, “Increase donations by 1-2 percent each month in 2019 by driving online audiences to GoFundMe campaign, with year-end goal of increasing overall donations by 10 percent.”

Still with me? Great! In my next post, I’ll discuss how to choose the best social media channels for your advocacy outreach.

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Hildy Silverman is the Manager of Digital Online Marketing for Oticon Medical US. She has nearly 30 years of experience in corporate training, traditional and online marketing, and professional/technical communications for a wide array of industries, most recently at a global hearing aid manufacturer.

Using Social Media to Support Hearing Health Advocacy_1

Part 1 of 5

Everyone here at Oticon Medical is so impressed by the advocacy efforts we see online in support of the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Whether the focus is on raising awareness of related health conditions or the benefits of bone-anchored hearing systems, social media has made sharing information and events easy, immediate, and far-reaching. But how do you develop an effective social media presence and then track whether it is helping you attain your goals as an advocate?

Over the next few weeks, I’d like to provide you with tips to help you define (or refine) an effective social media strategy in support of your generous efforts. Let’s begin at the beginning — establishing your online presence.

Set yourself up for success

Before you do anything else, think about what you can offer an online audience with your advocacy.  For example, do you have personal experience with a specific health condition?

Let’s say your cause is single-sided deafness (SSD) — perhaps you have it yourself or have a child who does. Maybe you are an audiologist or lobby on behalf of those with SSD. Whatever personal and/or professional experience you have to offer, evaluate how to best express your knowledge and expertise in your social media profile so visitors to your online property will feel confident that you know what you’re talking about.

Will going online enhance your “live” efforts?

In parallel, consider why you want to take your efforts online. Developing and maintaining an effective online presence will take significant time and effort, so you want to make it worth your while. Ask yourself what you hope to accomplish that you can’t achieve through your real-world efforts alone.

Continuing to use SSD as our example cause, here are some things you want to consider:

  • Will you significantly increase your ability to reach your target audience (e.g., affected communities, other advocates) by moving some of your efforts online?
  • Will social media shares and promotion increase the general public’s awareness of the impact of SSD and understanding of those living with it?
  • Might online platforms help you raise more money for SSD research or donations in support of people who don’t have insurance coverage and can’t afford a BAHS?
  • Will promoting events like marches, meet-ups, and similar activities online improve your ability to organize them, and increase attendance beyond what you’ve experienced using traditional mailings, flyers, and word-of-mouth alone?

If the answer to one or more of these is “yes” then it’s time to move forward with establishing your online presence. In the next post in this series, I’ll guide you through how to establish “S.M.A.R.T.” goals for your social media campaigns.

Questions? Please ask yours in the comments!

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Hildy Silverman is the Manager of Digital Online Marketing for Oticon Medical US. She has nearly 30 years of experience in corporate training, traditional and online marketing, and professional/technical communications for a wide array of industries, most recently at a global hearing aid manufacturer.

The Ponto 3 SuperPower spurs a 180 degree change for Amelia

Allison and Amelia

Allison Richardson’s three-year-old daughter, Amelia, was born with Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder and has severe-profound unilateral hearing loss. At the time of Amelia’s diagnosis, family members and doctors advised her not to worry. But with three of Amelia’s older brothers diagnosed with Apraxia, a speech sound disorder, Allison knew the importance speech and hearing was to development.

While pregnant in 2009 with one of her sons, Allison began joining groups on Facebook for parents. She found these to be supportive networks where she could turn to for help and develop friendships. Once Amelia was born, she set out to find a Facebook group for parents of children with hearing loss, which is where she found the “BAHA Kids Club” Facebook group.

After learning about bone-anchored hearing systems (BAHS) and doing her own research, Allison brought Amelia to her ENT’s office to inquire about a BAHS. After learning the pros and cons of different devices, the personal stories of parents online, and about feedback and Oticon Medical’s great customer service, they advocated for a year-and-a-half to secure a device for Amelia.

180 degree difference with Ponto

Life for Amelia changed after being fit with the Oticon Medical Ponto 3 SuperPower. “She went from being an unfocused child speaking no more than five words to a focused student and dancer who now talks more than anyone at home. Her five older brothers say that Amelia has a bionic ear,” Allison said.

Amelia currently attends preschool and sits in a classroom with special needs and non-special needs students. The mix, Allison noted, provides special needs kids with mentors, and teaches non-special needs kids acceptance.

Amelia Richardson

Advice for parents

Allison’s advice is simple when it comes to making a medical decision for your child: “Go with your gut and don’t compare kids”.

She continued, “Do what you think is best for your child, not what other people say is best, because you know your child.”

The journey to better hearing and finding the right hearing device for your child’s individual hearing loss can be long and sometimes feel like a never-ending waiting game. Continue to advocate for yourself and your child, reach out to online support groups, try all your options, and as Allison reminded us, “Don’t give up.”

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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.”

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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.

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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 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.

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Click the button if you want to learn more about our Ponto bone anchored hearing systems or arrange a trial.

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.

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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”.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.”

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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.

Find a clinic

Click the button if you want to learn more about our Ponto bone anchored hearing systems or arrange a trial.