Tag Archives: Bone anchored hearing systems

The Ponto Loaner Program: Bridging the gap, because sound matters

Early access to sound is the key to linguistic development

Children require a lot of things to acquire speech as they grow. Chief among these? Exposure to sound – specifically spoken language, as early access to sound promotes optimal speech and language learning. The best way to ensure they receive this access is by providing hard of hearing youngsters with premium hearing care as soon as possible.

The role of sound in childhood development

From infancy through early childhood, we pick up language through daily exposure to spoken words, eventually reaching the stage where we begin to speak and repeat those words. Research indicates that children need to hear and understand how words are used contextually — and hear themselves repeat those words — to achieve comprehension and the ability to use language clearly and accurately.[1]

Although sound enters through the ears, hearing occurs in the brain — particularly language processing. Physically, the growth of a child’s auditory brain center requires regular sound stimulation, without which they might never fully develop the ability to process and comprehend language. Kids whose hearing loss goes untreated will typically experience linguistic developmental delays and struggle to make themselves understood verbally throughout their lives.[2]

Difficulty hearing contributes to educational and social challenges

Unless they attend a school for the deaf and hard of hearing, children with unaided hearing loss will likely experience significant difficulties learning.[3] Mainstream schools require kids to listen to lessons in the classroom, directions during playground and sports activities, and engage verbally with teachers and classmates throughout the day. Those who cannot hear often fall behind their peers, especially if they are held back a grade. Combined with frustrations stemming from straining to hear and communicate daily, academic delays can lead to youngsters withdrawing, avoiding in-school socializing and extracurricular activities. Feelings of isolation and being overwhelmed academically could contribute to negative lifelong issues like loneliness, depression, and low self-esteem.[4]

Aiding children who have conductive hearing loss

While traditional hearing aids can help many children, some kids require greater assistance – a bone anchored hearing system (BAHS) – because they are missing all or some of the organs required for natural hearing (i.e., conductive hearing loss). This presents parents with an additional challenge, as children typically must reach the age of five before they can receive an implant, plus many parents need insurance coverage to afford them. Since we develop many of our fundamental language skills before five, this creates a treatment gap that could permanently affect linguistic development.

Fortunately, BAHS can be used to help children even before implantation. Babies and toddlers can wear the devices with a softband, which is basically a head band that holds the BAHS processor against their skull without surgery. While skin contact doesn’t provide the same level of amplification as when the processor is affixed to an abutment, a child will still receive significant developmental benefits, such as early acquisition of the building blocks of language and the ability to participate more easily in the world around them.

However, the question of affording the processors remains, as insurers often take some time to approve coverage of these necessary devices.

What to do while waiting for insurance coverage

You might find yourself frustrated while waiting for your insurer to approve your child’s BAHS, especially after being told all the benefits of early-as-possible treatment. Fortunately, Oticon Medical offers an option while you’re awaiting insurance approval, so you can get your child the hearing device they need now: the Ponto™ Loaner Program. This program is designed to help your child receive the premium hearing care they need to thrive without delay.

The program provides Ponto sound processors and softbands for children from birth to five years of age who require direct amplification to hear speech and sounds. Your child will benefit by being given the ability to hear sounds during their critical early years, enabling them to participate actively in the world around them while you’re awaiting third-party reimbursement approval.

For details on how to enroll in the loaner program, please speak to your audiologist or feel free to contact us.

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Gabrielle Simone is a Clinical Territory Manager in New England with Oticon Medical. She has worked in private practice and hospital settings and has a specialization in clinical application for hearing aids and cochlear implants.  For the past 6 years, Gabrielle has worked as a Training and Education Specialist for the Northeast and Western New York region, for Widex and Oticon. In this role, she provided technical, clinical, and product support to audiologists and hearing instrument specialists (HIS). She also served as an adjunct professor at Northeastern University in the AuD program. An alumna of Emerson College, she earned her M.S. in Audiology from the University of Connecticut and her Doctor of Audiology from the University of Florida. In her current position with Oticon Medical, she provides clinical, technical and sales support to physicians, audiologists, and hospital personnel.

[1]  Committee on the Science of Children Birth to Age 8: Deepening and Broadening the Foundation for Success; Board on Children, Youth, and Families; Institute of Medicine; National Research Council; Allen LR, Kelly BB, editors. Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2015 Jul 23. 4, Child Development and Early Learning. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK310550/

[2] Early Intervention and Language Development in Children Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing Mary Pat Moeller Pediatrics Sep 2000, 106 (3) e43; DOI: 10.1542/peds.106.3.e43

[3] Vogel, S. & Schwabe, L. (2016). Learning and memory under stress: implications for the classroom. npj Science of Learning 1, Article number: 16011

[4] Theunissen SC, Rieffe C, Netten AP, et al. Self-esteem in hearing-impaired children: the influence of communication, education, and audiological characteristics. PLoS One. 2014;9(4):e94521. Published 2014 Apr 10. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094521

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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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

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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The Mission of Providing Hopeful and Helpful Solutions for Hearing Loss

This post is part of a clinic feature series, where we highlight doctors and clinics who offer the Oticon Medical Bone Anchored Hearing System, the Ponto.

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Dr. James Benecke, Chief of Otolaryngology at Missouri Baptist Medical Center

James E. Benecke, MD, FACS is an otologist/neurotologist with Midwest Ear Specialists, part of the BJC Medical Group of Missouri.  He is Chief of Otolaryngology at Missouri Baptist Medical Center and Adjunct Professor of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery at St. Louis University School of Medicine.

As a specialist in the ear, Dr. Benecke is consistently recognized on “The Best Doctors in America” list.  He and his team offer a full array of diagnostic evaluations for hearing and vestibular (balance) disorders.  They provide medical and surgical care of pediatric and adult patients with ear diseases, dizziness & balance disorders, as well as issues with the temporal bone, skull base, and related structures.

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Meet Dr. Lawrence Lustig, Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery at the Columbia University College of Physicians

This post is part of a clinic feature series, where we highlight doctors and clinics who offer the Oticon Medical Bone Anchored Hearing System, the Ponto.

Dr. Lawrence Lustig, MD,  is one of the nation’s leading experts in hearing loss

Dr. Lawrence Lustig, Otolaryngologist-in-chief at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center

Dr. Lustig is the chair of the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and otolaryngologist-in-chief at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. Today, Dr. Lustig’s mission at New York City at Columbia University Medical Center & New York Presbyterian Hospital is to build a practice of the very best otolaryngology clinicians and research scientists.

He treats the full spectrum of ear disorders in adults and children, as well as skull base disease. His specialties include skull base surgery, Bone Anchored Hearing Systems (BAHS), cochlear implants, the genetics of hearing loss, cochlear gene therapy, surgery for chronic otitis media, balance disorders, and hair cell physiology.

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Companies that Consider Hearing in their Customer Experience

Today, we’d like to put a spotlight on a few companies that put an emphasis on improving experiences for their hearing impaired customers and employees. While we believe this should be the norm, these businesses offering technology and take into account considerations that many others are not.

Uber Offers Equality in Work Opportunities

uber-icon_0The first such company is Uber, the technology startup that has disrupted the taxi industry. Uber offers customers a Smartphone App to call for car rides. At the same time, it offers work opportunities for many who otherwise may never be able to work as a cab driver. With their App, a hearing impaired driver has  the  chance to choose the communication method they’d prefer which will keep them from missing the work that Uber brings. Steve Claridge, who’s hearing impaired himself, praised Uber’s efforts in a recent post here.

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Adam Shares His Journey with Hearing Loss and the Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System (BAHS)

We are so lucky to be able to share Erin Wiggle’s heart-felt story about her husband, Adam. Adam serves in the Navy and has an Oticon Medical Bone Anchored Hearing System (BAHS), the Ponto.

Erin shares  Adam’s account of his ordeal of chronic ear infections and multiple surgeries throughout the years that finally led to permanent hearing loss of his right ear. In her post, she leads us through Adam’s journey to getting his Ponto. Adam adjusts his life well with his Ponto. However, he reveals that one of his adjustments is dealing with the insensitivity of strangers. Adam said, “The constant questioning from strangers has left me a little bitter.”

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An Inside Look at Oticon Medical at Work

Today, we’re sharing an inside look at Oticon Medical at work. This is one of our sound studios in the Oticon Medical headquarters in Kongebakken, Denmark. It’s a silent room that can create any acoustical environment to test products with real patients.

This is just one of the many tests Pontos go through before they make their way to you.

Oticon Medical at Work

Are you interested in speaking to an Oticon Medical Audiologist to hear more about what Ponto technology can do for you? Click below, and let us know!





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