Category Archives: Helpful Information

Becky Zingale shares how her daughter navigates Treacher Collins Syndrome and conductive hearing loss with her Ponto 3 through her blog

You might be familiar with the blog “The BAHA Mama”, a well-known resource for parents and families who have children with hearing loss and Treacher Collins Syndrome (TCS). The blog, which was created by Becky Zingale, follows her family’s journey of navigating TCS, hearing loss, speech therapy, sign language, and parenting.

Becky began writing around 10 years ago to document her travel experiences. Later, when she and her husband learned that their second daughter, Ariasha, had TCS, Becky focused her blog on sharing knowledge and personal stories with other parents.

“My husband is a marketing consultant and has empowered me to be a thought leader. I’m a great success story for what happens when you follow the advice of your marketing consultant (husband),” she says.

Ariasha, also known as “Little Lioness” and “PipSqueak”, was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome and microtia and atresia, just like her father Duane. She underwent cleft palate surgery in 2016 when she was sixteen months old, which is when they discovered her conductive hearing loss. Thinking Ariasha would follow in her father’s footsteps and wear the same bone anchored hearing device as him, she trialed his device first but experienced issues with feedback.

 
Through online Facebook groups focused on hearing loss like this one and this one, Becky discovered the Oticon Medical Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System. All the information they received convinced her that Ponto was the right choice for her daughter.

They trialed the Ponto and Ariasha now wears bilateral Ponto 3’s on a softband. During the first few weeks of her wearing her Ponto, Becky noticed just how much it was making a difference in her ability to communicate.

“She had her Ponto for two weeks and I tried dropping her off at childcare. I thought the noise might be overwhelming so I decided she shouldn’t wear the Ponto, and she was really upset. It turned out that she had become so used to being able to hear for those two weeks, that she preferred dealing with a loud environment than not knowing what was going on. She has also become more social since getting her Ponto. Beforehand, when people would come over, she wanted to go to bed. We thought she was really introverted. But with her Ponto, now she wants to interact with people since she can distinguish sound, hear different voices, and has an idea of what’s going around her.”

As Ariasha continues her hearing loss journey, Becky documents everything they learn and answers common questions from parents online through informative blog posts and personal stories. One such post discussed a common question posed by parents – how to show a child to place their BAHS (Bone Anchored Hearing System) in a safe place to avoid it getting lost or broken.

“Sometimes Ariasha decides to change her clothing randomly in the middle of the day and her Ponto will end up in a pile of clothes. So, we created “Ariasha’s BAHS Box”, a safe place to put her Ponto. The other day she went upstairs to play and then came downstairs wearing a new outfit. ‘Where is your BAHS?’ I asked. She responded, in a very sassy teenager-ish tone, ‘In my BAHS box’.”

Learning about Bone Anchored Hearing Systems and advocating for Ariasha has definitely become a family affair. Ariasha’s sister Chloe, also known as “Monkey” or “Big Sis” on the blog, helps to check whether her sister’s Ponto needs new batteries and event sports matching headbands with her.

To parents trying to figure things out, Becky’s advice is to find a community. She says the online community has been very helpful with discussing things like speech therapy and how to get your child to keep their BAHS on their head.

“Hope is what the name Asha means. It’s my hope to inspire and encourage mamas in their journey to raise healthy, thriving families in spite of whatever challenges life brings.”

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:

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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.

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

Transitioning from softband to abutment: A video diary of Calvin Underwood’s journey

When a child and parent feel ready to make the switch from wearing a Ponto on a softband to an abutment, there are a number of steps that can help prepare a family. To better illustrate the journey, Brittney Underwood is sharing her son Calvin’s story of preparing for his bilateral abutment surgery in June, where he will be receiving two Ponto 3 SuperPowers.

Video one: Why Calvin is transitioning to Ponto 3 SuperPowers on abutments

“Because he’s wearing his Pontos on a softband he’s not getting the access that he would have if it was direct bone contact” – Brittney

 

Video two: How Brittney is helping her son Calvin prepare for abutment surgery

“We’ve been explaining it to Calvin and showing him pictures of abutments.” – Brittney

 

Video three: Calvin’s recovery from his abutment surgery

“It went really well. He’s not having any pain, he’s just really tired.” – Brittney

 

Video four: Calvin’s recovery from his abutment surgery

“His abutments are healing amazingly.” – Brittney

 

Video five: Calvin receives his Ponto 3 SuperPowers on his abutments!

“He’s snapped on!” – Brittney

 

Video six: Improvements after Calvin’s abutment surgery

“Calvin has exploded in speech. We are loving this new processor and the abutment!” – Brittney 

Video seven: Improvements after Calvin’s abutment surgery

“We are seeing so many big things since he was snapped on! Here he is saying the alphabet with Alpha pig!” – Brittney

 

Are you interested in learning more about the Ponto 3 SuperPower for your child? Click below and a member of our team will be in touch.

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2018 Ear Community Microtia and Atresia Summer Family Picnics

Summer is around the corner which means Ear Community’s annual summer family picnics are almost here! Each year, Ear Community hosts picnics around the world helping bring microtia and atresia families together. Medical professionals such as microtia and atresia repair surgeons, anaplastologists, ENTs, audiologists, and therapists along with hearing device and medical device companies all come together to help educate attendees on all their options including hearing loss.

We’re excited to once again join Ear Community as sponsors and participants of this year’s events. So mark your calendars, because this year’s picnics will take place in Sacramento, California/ El Paso, Texas/ Cincinnati, Ohio/ Nashville, Tennessee/ Charleston, South Carolina/ and Hamilton, Ontario – Canada!

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Below are exact locations and RSVP information. See you there!

California Ear Community Picnic
Sacramento, California
Date:  Saturday, June 23rd, 2018
Time:  11AM to 3PM
RSVP to Heidi at:  EarCommunityCaliforniaPicnic@gmail.com

Texas Ear Community Picnic
El Paso, Texas
Date:  Saturday, July 21st, 2018
Time:  11AM to 3PM
RSVP to Heidi at:  EarCommunityELPasoPicnic@gmail.com

Tennessee Ear Community Picnic
Nashville, Tennessee
Date:  Saturday, July 21st, 2018
Time:  1PM to 5PM
RSVP to Melissa at:  TennesseeEarCommunityPicnic@gmail.com
*  This picnic is in collaboration with the VUMC Microita and Atresia surgeon conference.

Ohio Ear Community Picnic
Cincinnati, Ohio
Date:  Saturday, July 28th, 2018
Time:  11AM to 3PM
RSVP to Heidi at:  OhioEarCommunityPicnic@gmail.com

Ontario Ear Community Picnic
Hamilton, Ontario – Canada
Date:  Saturday, July 28th, 2018
Time:  11AM to 3PM
RSVP to Heidi at:  EarCommunityCanadaPicnic@gmail.com

South Carolina Ear Community Picnic
Charleston, South Carolina
Date:  Saturday, August 11th, 2018
Time:  11AM to 3PM
RSVP to Heidi at:  EarCommunityCharlestonPicnic@gmail.com

 

Advice from 8 Ponto Parents

Finding the right hearing solution for your child’s individual hearing loss can be difficult. While research is an important aspect of finding the right solution, we also believe there is power in stories and listening to what others have to say about their experience.  Below we’ve brought together advice from eight parents who chose Ponto for their children.

Research, research, research

“I just want to make other people aware that there are other options. Check other resources to make sure you are making an informed decision right away. I quickly learned that no one is going to give me all the information I need.” – Caroline Mannato

“Research those (Facebook and other groups) boards. Don’t allow yourself to be saddled with one device because your audiologist doesn’t want to try something different. Fight for your children’s rights. Make sure you know you have options.” – Jillian Shelton

Social media groups can not only provide community but valuable information

“Look to social media support groups on Facebook, like this one and this one, to help research options and talk to adults and who are wearing the devices you are interested in. – Liz Anderson

“Ultimately, what helped was knowing there are people just like her out there.” – Theresa McCorkell

“The stories that adults and older children were telling were the stories we needed to hear.” – Erin Bullock

Trial other options

“Insist on trialing all options. It’s definitely worth the time it takes.” – Laurie Jarvis

“Try all your options, on your child and yourself, to help you make the most informed decision for your family.” – Heidi Jeffs

“If you have an audiologist who is not open to trying a different company, push or go elsewhere – just do your research.” – Liz Anderson

“Advocate, because our children need us.” – Shannon Gordon

Interested in learning more about these Ponto families? Click below to read more in-depth into their individual hearing journey in our new Patient eBook.

Get the eBook

 

Advocating for a better solution – Dominic’s journey to the Ponto 3 SuperPower

When Caroline Mannato’s son, Dominic, was born with unilateral microtia and atresia she worked with her audiologist to quickly have him aided with a bone anchored hearing system (BAHS). At six months old, he received his first BAHS, however, acoustical feedback was a constant issue.

“He has curly hair and the curls kept hitting the device and just from his hair, it would create feedback. It was constantly buzzing. I realized within the first few weeks this was not acceptable.” – Caroline Mannato

Caroline enrolled her son in an early intervention program to do monthly speech evaluations and through this program, she was able to connect with another mother whose daughter also had microtia and atresia.

“I invited her over for coffee and she brought her daughter’s Ponto device. I mentioned my feedback issues and she said they hadn’t experienced any. We compared my device to hers and I asked her ‘how do you turn it on’. She said it was on – it wasn’t vibrating or making any noise. I had mixed emotions thinking ‘why don’t I have this for my child’.” – Caroline Mannato

The Mannato family began researching and going to hearing events around the country trying to educate themselves on all available options. From Ear Community picnics to the Earicles Microtia Atresia Conference in California, and Vanderbilt Microtia and Atresia Clinic in Tennessee, Caroline specifically sought out adults who were BAHS users to speak to. She found that many adults had started with other BAHS’s and eventually switched to the Oticon Medical Ponto. It was these patient interactions and stories that confirmed for Caroline that Dominic needed the Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System.

Dominic received the Ponto 3 SuperPower and was the first person programmed with a Ponto device at UNC-Chapel Hill. The results since then have been night and day.

“When we take it off, he points at it and he wants it. Then you put it on him and he smiles. Leaving the house is less of a hassle too now. I don’t have to take it off and put it back on him to prevent feedback. When it’s on, it’s on.” – Caroline Mannato

To other parents who are also on the journey of finding the best hearing option for their child, Caroline’s advice is research, because you have options.

 

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

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Powerful sound: How the Ponto 3 SuperPower is making a difference for these Ponto families

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.

Powerful sound

The Ponto 3 SuperPower gives premium sound quality, as well as helps reduce the effort spent on listening. Loud sounds remain loud but not distorted, and softer sounds are audible.

When there are conversations and background noise, your brain has to work harder to make sense of the sounds it hears, which can leave you or your child feeling drained.The Ponto 3 SuperPower helps reduce the extra listening effort the brain expends to compensate for a hearing loss, freeing up mental energy for more important things in life.

In the video below, these families share their experiences with the Ponto 3 SuperPower and how the sound quality has made a difference in their children’s lives.

 

Interested in learning more about the Ponto 3 SuperPower as a possible hearing solution for your child? Click below to be connected to an audiologist.

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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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