Tag Archives: education

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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Ideas Worth Spreading: Best TED Talks on Sound

As you may have heard, “sound matters” is what we believe most.  It’s great to hear so many people feel the same. Today, we wanted to share some of the best  TED talks that focus on—you guessed it—sound.

TEDBelow you’ll see inspiring talks from three amazing individuals. Bernie Krause devoted almost a lifetime to recording sounds in the wild. He feels that the sounds around us can provide evidence of the health of the land and its habitat. Daniel Kish takes advantage of sound to see and is training others to do the same. And Meklit Hadero lets ordinary everyday sounds inspire her to create beautiful music.

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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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Resources for Parents and Teachers of Children with Hearing Loss

While hearing systems like the Ponto can help children with hearing loss have a better experience in school, there are additional steps to ensure they’re getting everything they need and that everyone is informed and on the same page. That’s why we’ve put together a “living” folder of resources for parents and teachers to make school as enjoyable and effective as possible.

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Hearing Loss in the Classroom

Educating teachers and children on the importance of using FM systems in the classroom came up many times at our Patient Advocacy Workshop. Here’s a great video by St. John’s Medical Center that does just that. This is a great tool that shows the difference a FM system can make for a child with hearing loss. Share it with your children and their teachers.

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College Student Cuts Through Years of Noise with Ponto Plus

Kevin Hotaling is a sophomore at Stonehill College who got his Ponto Plus on October 13, 2014. When we saw Kevin’s video, we just had to meet him. We knew you’d feel the same.

So, here’s Kevin to tell you a bit of his story:

I originally found out about Ponto through one of my mother’s coworkers. She didn’t have the Ponto, but she had a very similar bone anchored hearing aid procedure done, and she’s had results that were nothing short of stellar. I was nervous originally. Although surgery was nothing new to me, the idea of someone drilling into my skull was very unsettling. In addition to that, I hadn’t heard of any people my age who had ever gotten the procedure done. I had only ever heard of adults and small children owning the system, never a teenager. I was given the opportunity to test the device using a headband, and immediately, I noticed a massive difference in my hearing quality.

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Bethany Geldmaker Advocates for Awareness & Continued Coverage

Bethany Geldmaker has an incredible story. Paired with the impactful way that she advocates for the importance of bone anchored hearing systems and her mission to educate others on the process of getting coverage for their bone anchored hearing systems, she’s one of the most powerful voices in the community. Recently, Bethany has accelerated her efforts even more to bring awareness to the changes that The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have proposed that could eliminate coverage for bone anchored hearing devices in 2015.

Our collective rebuttal to the proposed changes must be education that helps people understand just how important it is to keep coverage for bone anchored hearing systems. That’s exactly what Bethany has been doing. She’s been doing this in three key ways:

  • Working to heighten public awareness
  • Encouraging others to educate themselves on solution options
  • Getting information and education in the hands of insurance providers

Here’s Bethany to explain how she works to accomplish these three goals.

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Earicles Los Angeles Microtia Atresia Conference

It was our pleasure to sponsor Earicles Los Angeles Microtia Atresia Conference, and we’re exited to share this video that really captured the experience.

Earicles Los Angeles Microtia Atresia Conference – A Celebration

Are you interested in attending a Microtia Atresia Conference? Here’s the 2014 line up.

Fill the Empty Void that Hearing Loss Creates: A Talk with Ponto User Bethany Geldmaker

We had the opportunity to talk to Bethany about her experience with the Ponto System. Here, she shares a real account of how she’s found that the Ponto fills a void that hearing loss created.

Do you have questions for Bethany or other Ponto users? Let us know in the comments section below, on Twitter or Facebook.

The Impact of Hearing Loss, Ponto Users Enjoy the Change

NBC News aired a spot on how hearing loss has such an impact on everyday life. We couldn’t agree more. So, we wanted to cover some of your struggles.

We asked, “What is or was the most difficult challenge in dealing with hearing loss? How has it changed since you’ve received your Ponto? Or, if you don’t have your Ponto yet, what changes are you most looking forward to?”

Special Education

Maurice Gerrits no longer has problems understanding others.
“The concept of a bone anchored hearing device was pointed out to me by my ENT in July 2011 as a possible solution for my conductive hearingloss. I was wearing an Oticon Vigo pro power hearingaid at that time, but it didn’t help me a lot.

My main problem was that I was unable to understand what people where saying a lot of the time. I also found it frustrating that I wasn’t able to localize sound.

After a test week with a headband and asking a lot of questions on the Baha user forum, I decided to get implanted. I chose the Oticon Medical system because of the freedom of choice and because the sound of the Ponto system was a lot better than the Baha BP100 from Cochlear. Also, the ease of use, overall durability and sturtyness of the attachment system made me go for the Ponto.

The implant procedure took place at the Radboud hospital in Nijmegen. The procedure, linear incision, went fast and without any problems. On activation day, I was absolutely amazed by the great sound quality. It was even better than with the headband.

I have no speech understanding problems anymore. Not even at a party or in other crowded environments.  When I go out jogging, I can hear everything around me perfectly. I am very happy with my Oticon Ponto Pro and can recommend it to anyone who has little to no benefit from conventional hearing aids.”

Carolyn Williamson, a special ed teacher, looks forward to hearing her students. 
“I have unilateral deafness after a labyrinthectomy in 2011 in an attempt to manage Meniere’s symptoms (it worked!). I just had my anchor implanted for the Ponto on May 23 – activation on August 16! I’m already planning my “Activation Celebration” party.

I am a special ed teacher, and the impact of my hearing loss isn’t just one big thing, it’s so many little things that, combined, add up to much more than the sum of the parts.

Colleagues who don’t know me think I’m stuck up because I don’t answer their greetings from behind me. I have to put every ounce of energy into hearing a student working on articulation (isn’t that kind of funny, me helping with articulation?). I absolutely hate faculty meetings because there is no good spot for me to hear everyone, and I don’t think they really believe I can’t sometimes. Announcements over the PA? I don’t even bother. I have headaches by the end of the school day, my eyes and brain are so tired from trying to pick up the slack. If my students are on the deaf side and I’m not looking at them, I miss the onset of seizures or asthma attacks. I now dislike talking on the phone. People don’t like watching TV with me because they’re getting headaches. With all of those negatives being said– I have no regrets because now I have a life again. I use the humorous approach to set others at ease and to guide them to an understanding of what I require if I am to communicate with them.

I had no guarantee of any hearing device when I opted for surgery, so getting the Ponto is frosting on the cake! I am so excited!”

Aaron Morris can’t wait to hear sounds he’s never heard before.
“I am looking forward to hearing sounds I’ve probably never heard before. And, I can’t wait to  enjoy surround sound like you’re supposed to. The best this will be being in a crowd of people and being able to hear the person in front of me talk better than the people ten feet away!” You can read more about Aaron’s story here.

Kristi Hurley won’t miss the frustrated looks. 
“The worst thing before my ponto pro why the frustrated looks from people when I’d say “Huh, what, can you repeat that?”

Now I don’t get that anymore…. now that I enjoy sound if only I could remember to take it off before bed, LOL!”

We know that you all have overcome struggles with your hearing loss. If you would like to share your experience, please let me know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.