Tag Archives: advocacy

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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“Her speech has taken off” – Why Staci Taylor chose the Oticon Medical Ponto for her daughter Lexi

Staci Taylor’s daughter, Alexia (Lexi), was born with microtia and atresia on her right side. As many do, Staci began the journey unsure of all of the options for Lexi’s hearing loss. Lexi was aided when she was five months old with a Bone Anchored Hearing System (BAHS) on a softband, and up until that point her family had never heard of the Ponto System.

Upon her daughter’s diagnosis of microtia and atresia, Staci joined several online support groups such as the BAHA Kids Club, where she was able to connect with other parents when the feedback from Lexi’s original BAHS became too overwhelming. Below are a few of the comments and suggestions other parents and bone anchored hearing users shared.

However, because Staci had already received a BAHS through her insurance, she was concerned another BAHS would not be covered. After a long battle with her insurance company, it was through the donor program of the BAHA Kids Club that Staci’s daughter was able to try a Ponto Plus on a softband. “She has had the device for about three months and we have little to no feedback. Her speech has taken off! Before the Ponto, she was only saying a handful of words here and there. Now she is stringing 2-3 words together!” Staci says.

Along with an increase in speech, Staci mentioned that she can whisper a question to Lexi on her right side and she responds without missing a beat. “After her first screening with her Ponto in the sound booth, she did better than she ever has before,” Staci explains.

When asked what her hearing journey with her daughter has taught her so far she said, “Ask about all your options and don’t settle. I pushed several times and finally was able to get our doctor to call an Oticon Medical representative in for our appointment. Now the whole staff at our hospital is Oticon Medical trained. Don’t give up. 

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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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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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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Four things I couldn’t hear before my Ponto 3 SuperPower

Since receiving my Ponto 3 SuperPower, walking through life is far more different than I ever could have imagined. It’s often overwhelming to think about all of the different sounds that I can now interpret with ease because of my device.

Below are four of the most noticeable differences in sound that I’ve observed through wearing my Ponto 3 SuperPower.

My own voice:

It may seem silly, but anyone who has worn a Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System will tell you that the moment they snapped it on, the way they heard their own voices was drastically different. For some, it’s not always the most pleasant surprise. I’ve never been a huge fan of how I sound in recordings that are played back to me, and this sort of sound is how I would describe my voice when listening to it with my Ponto on. Though it may seem jarring at first, it’s really amazing to understand finally how the rest of the world hears you when you speak!

Parts of songs that went unnoticed:

I am a member of a chapel choir at my college, and I tend to sit towards the back of the group with the rest of the men. I’ve always known that our group contained several instrumentalists, but I was never able to fully hear them until now! I have also noticed that I am able to pick apart different aspects of music that I was not able to before. I don’t believe that this is because of an increase in volume, but rather because of an increase in clarity.

Voices in a conference setting:

At school, more often than not, I find myself communicating with me peers in a group setting – a cafeteria, a bustling classroom, a loud dormitory. Before my Ponto, I always had difficulty differentiating voices that were happening all at once. My Ponto helps me not only to separate those voices, but also makes them clearer and more easily understood.

Sounds in nature:

The first time I went on a hike with my Ponto, I was in tears. Turns out, nature is noisy! I have always loved the great outdoors, but the vibrant and amazing sounds were lost to me. With nature, and with everything else, I’ve come to realize that there is so much happening around me that I didn’t know about before I snapped on my Ponto 3 Superpower.

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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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.

‘We wanted the very best’ – a parent’s perspective on choosing the Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System

Zhou Yu (“Z”) was born with bilateral microtia and atresia. While living in China he was unaided until he was adopted almost 2 years ago by the Bullock family. His mother Erin began doing research regarding what the best hearing care options would be for Z, knowing he would have progress to make not only learning a new language but hearing for the first time.

“It was not a hard decision to make once we did all the research. The stories that adults and older children were telling were the stories we needed to here. When we demoed products, he even could tell the difference and he picked Ponto” – Erin

In the video below, Erin explains why her family chose Ponto and the difference it is making in her son Z’s life.

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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Persistence pays off for a Ponto mom

Rachel and her son Maxwell have come a long way in the last year in finding the right hearing device to alleviate his hearing loss. Maxwell was born without an ear canal, and at nine months old his mother Rachel fought to find the right hearing solution for her son.

However, when Maxwell received his Ponto on a softband, a new struggle emerged.

Maxwell didn’t keep it on. It went straight to his mouth. I felt selfish for accepting this. I started to feel guilty. What if he never wore it?

Rachel was struggling with what many parents of young softband users struggle with—keeping the Ponto on their child’s head and out of their mouth.

Her solution? “Ponto time!” Every day Rachel would cheerfully tell Maxwell it was “Ponto time,” and for five minutes she’d work with him to keep his Ponto on.

Her persistence has paid off.

He just turned a year, and he LOVES his Ponto. He wears it all the time without messing with it. I don’t need to monitor him anymore. He plays independently with it on.

Rachel’s advice to other parents struggling to keep their children wearing their Pontos – don’t give up!

If your little one is struggling or goes through a regression phase, it will get better! They will soon understand what this beautiful device provides!

The new Ponto Softband is now available for purchase in our Webshop! I

If you’d like to learn more about how the Softband can provide early support for children with hearing loss, you can click here to speak to a representative.

The Journey to the Best Hearing in the Classroom

Many of our Ponto users who are children have experienced positive change, particularly in the classroom. If you’re considering aiding your child with a hearing device it’s important to understand how louder environments, like classrooms or playgrounds, can affect a hearing device.

Melissa Tumblin, founder of Ear Community, whose daughter Ally is a Ponto user shares some great insight on setting your child up for success in the classroom.

Ally Tumblin wearing her Ponto Plus on a Softband

Ally has a severe hearing loss in her right ear (65dB-70dB). She was tested at a 65dB hearing
loss yesterday. Ally was tested while wearing her BAHS (Ponto Plus) made by Oticon Medical in the booth and her hearing with the hearing device is brought back up to the normal hearing range (between 15dB to 20dB)….which has been the norm for us over the years with her testing and Ponto.

However, this time the audiologist chose to include noise interference in the sound booth – lots of background noise to see how well Ally could hear and covered her mouth when saying words and sentences to Ally, asking her to repeat them back to her. Well, even when aided, her hearing dropped to 56% (when it was in the normal hearing range without background noise) because of all of the noise. But then, the audiologist added Ally’s FM system back in and also removed the card from her mouth so Ally could see her lips when she spoke to her and her hearing response went back up to 96%! (which is great!)

So, the lesson learned here for those of you who are considering aiding your child (or yourself) with a hearing device is that hearing devices help amplify sound and help make things louder, so you can hear better. When extra noise is added to your daily activities, it can still be difficult to hear everything. However, when you combine an FM system (such as to help your child hear better in the school classroom), and your child is being taught how to be a “visual” learner and be aware to always be looking, watching and reading lips, then together….all of these things help optimize your child’s maximum potential to hear his/her very best.

I see such a difference with her and her Ponto, every day! Thank you Oticon Medical! Thank you for helping my daughter hear her best with her Ponto Plus!

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

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Meet Ponto User Brandon Floyd

Brandon Floyd shares her Ponto story today in our new user video. She explains how her Ponto increased clarity and helped with interaction, especially when talking to customers at work.

“I was lucky enough to be able to try the Ponto for a week and I am in love! I am a cashier at a grocery store and it is imperative that I be able to hear what my customers are saying. With the Ponto I could answer their questions with enthusiasm.” 

Watch the full story below and #ChooseSound #ChoosePonto.

If you would like to know more about the Ponto system and speak to an audiologist, click the button below and we will connect you.


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