Tag Archives: hearing loss

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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Joe Berry captures it all through wildlife photography with the help of his Ponto 3 SuperPower

Joe Berry has always had a passion for the outdoors, nature and wildlife. He is a certified Georgia Master Naturalist and said that one of the greatest differences he’s noticed with his Ponto 3 SuperPower is the directional hearing, which helps make his photography so successful.

An introduction to hearing aids, then discovering the Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System
Joe has mild to moderately severe sensorineural hearing loss in his left ear, as well as severe to profound hearing loss in his right ear. He received his first hearing aid in 2011 for his right ear, but the loss in ventilation began causing chronic ear infections. “Even while placing myself in strategic locations to keep speakers on my ‘good side’ I was still struggling at both work and home,” he says.

When speaking to his audiologist and exploring bi-cross hearing aids he worried that the sound would be unnatural since this was his experience with his original hearing aid and that he would lose what little directional hearing he had. “At my work, it’s not uncommon to be at sites that have forklifts and other equipment with audible alarms that I need to be able to locate to keep myself safe from injury. I also love my time outdoors and needed my directional hearing to preserve that enjoyment,” he explains.

As Joe began researching other options he came across the term “BAHS” or Bone Anchored Hearing System. He brought the information to his audiologist who said he might be a candidate.

“When I’m deciding if I want to try a product and which brand to go with I look for forums with stories of real-life experiences. I found forums with so many testimonials of how much better Bone Anchored Hearing Systems were and so many positive testimonials on the Ponto and how life-changing they were. I shared the information with my wife and we decided to go forward with Ponto,” he says.

They located Ear Consultants of Georgia who confirmed he was a candidate and surgery followed.

Receiving the Ponto 3 SuperPower
Joe received his first Ponto, a Ponto Pro, in 2012 and describes it as life-changing. “It was so much more natural sounding than my hearing aid. I used my Ponto almost all of my waking hours because it made life easier. I would even forget that I had it on,” he says.

After about five years, Joe discovered that his hearing loss had increased and he would need a more powerful model. After applying for a new Ponto twice, he finally received his Ponto 3 SuperPower (P3SP) in February of 2018.

A new world through photography
Joe is a certified Georgia Master Naturalist whose photos have been used by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Elachee Nature Science Center.

“Most of the wildlife that I photograph is very shy and if you have to wait until you see them to know their location they will likewise see your movement of the camera and be gone before you can get the focus. With my Ponto I can tell the direction of those animals that are vocal or ‘leaf crunchers’ and have my camera in position before we are within sight of each other. This keeps my movement and detection of my presence to a minimum and preserves more opportunities to get the image,” he explains.

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Life after Ponto
Waiting to receive his P3SP was a difficult time for Joe and his family. “My wife was my greatest cheerleader during the long appeal. I was slipping back into the reclusive behavior with times of depression that I had experienced before the first Ponto. My wife said that if we had to pay the full amount she wanted me to have it, that it made all the difference in how much conversation that I had with her and other family members,” he said. Since receiving his Ponto 3 SuperPower this year, Joe’s word recognition is now at 92 %. He likens the feeling of not having his Ponto to being in a dark storm and having his Ponto 3 SuperPower to blue skies.

Ready to learn more about the latest Ponto 3 SuperPower? Click below to be connected to our team:

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After over 40 years with single sided deafness, Carl Bjerke finds the right hearing solution

In 1973, a snowmobile accident changed Carl Bjerke’s life. The accident, which resulted in head trauma, left Carl with permanent hearing loss on his left side. “My hearing was never checked and I just didn’t think much of it, and simply dealt with it,” he says.

His first hearing test
In 1980, Carl joined the U.S. Army as a mechanic but never told anyone about his hearing loss. “I had to constantly ask people ‘what did you say’ over and over again,” he says. It wasn’t until 1986 that Carl had his first hearing test and was officially diagnosed with single-sided deafness. He was given a crossover hearing aid, but quickly found it was too loud, especially for his position as a mechanic. “In just a few weeks, I found that it was overloading my good side, and I never wore it again,” he explains.

Trying a bone anchored hearing system
In 2008, Carl’s audiologist suggested he try a new technology—a Bone Anchored Hearing System (BAHS). They gave him a BAHS to try on a headband. As soon as he put the processor on, he noticed a huge difference in his hearing. “I could hear things on my left side that I couldn’t hear before,” he says. Once he returned the demo processor, he began his journey to have an abutment placed for his own Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System.

“I really researched the units that were out there and was very logical in reviewing all the facts. I looked at all the data and the Ponto 3 SuperPower was the best option for me,” he explains.

A new world emerges
In 2017, after concluding that insurance would cover the cost of his BAHS, Carl had the surgery.Three months later, Carl’s Ponto 3 SuperPower was programmed and activated. He recounts leaving his audiologist’s office that day and hearing his wife speak to him for the first time while she was standing on his left side. “I could understand her without saying ‘what or excuse me,” he says.

Today, Carl works as a quality and safety manager with Diagnostic Group LLC in Minneapolis and no longer has to go to a meeting early to find a good seat so he can hear everyone. “I was doing an audit in Florida and I could carry on a conversation with everyone. Everyone’s voices were clearer,” he says. Using his Oticon Medical Streamer he is able to connect to his phone and when listening to music he says he gets ‘the full range of music’.

To those struggling with single-sided deafness (SSD), Carl says, “There is help for people with SSD. Get your hearing checked, you might also benefit from a Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System.”

To learn more about the latest Ponto 3 SuperPower click below:

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The Ponto 3 SuperPower is a hopeful solution to hearing loss for James Wolff

James Wolff is 71-years-old and has experienced hearing loss for years. In the past, he wore bilateral hearing aids, however, because of drainage in his left ear, he often had to remove the hearing aid which left him with poor hearing on his left side. His daughter, Kimberlee Griffey who has worked at Oticon Medical for 7 years, recounts bringing her bone anchored hearing equipment to Christmas every year for her father to try.

“I’d bring a demo, a softband, and a Streamer to Christmas,  just wanting to test him, but he would say he didn’t need it. Then last Christmas he finally said ‘I think I’m ready for the procedure’.” – Kimberlee Griffey

James had surgery to get his abutment placed in June 2017 with Dr. James Benecke at Missouri Baptist Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Benecke has been working with bone anchored hearing systems (BAHS) for 14 years. He says that for many patients with conductive or mixed hearing loss who cannot have their hearing corrected surgically and cannot use hearing aids because of ear canal and drainage issues, a BAHS is a great option.

When considering a BAHS for his patients, Dr. Benecke investigates and explains all available options. He recommends that his patients talk with other patients who wear different devices, checks insurance options and has patients trial the BAHS on a softband. If an audiometric evaluation is unclear as to whether a person might be a good candidate for the Ponto, he works with Oticon Medical representatives to help with identifying potential candidates when an evaluation might be unclear.

“I always give patients their options and have them chat with people who have tried different systems. Overall, my patient population does better with bone anchored hearing systems as opposed to a CROS hearing aid.” – Dr. Benecke

For James’s procedure, Dr. Benecke performed the Minimally Invasive Ponto Surgery (MIPS). MIPS is a procedure that takes 10-15 minutes and is normally carried out under local anesthetic. He mentions that when someone says the word surgery, most patients have pre-conceived thoughts about what is involved.

“No one wants to have surgery, but if there is an opportunity to improve an aspect of someone’s health by doing a procedure that someone is well informed about and has good outcomes, then people need to know about it so they can make the best-informed decision.” – Dr. Benecke

“When people first think of surgery they think long recovery time—a long time in the operating room. I tell people that with the MIPS procedure it’s less than an hour, outpatient procedure. My dad had no pain whatsoever. It was life-changing for him. My advice is not to wait because you don’t know what you’re missing.” – Kimberlee Griffey

This past September, James was activated with his Ponto 3 SuperPower and the results have been life-changing.

“Before he described sounds as muffled.  Now it is loud and clear.  His volume of speech has significantly decreased because now he can monitor his own speech, where he was not able to do this before. He drives a lot and he’s able to put the microphone on his grandkids and he can hear them in the back seat. He also loves using his Streamer to connect to his phone, TV, and laptop. It has opened a whole new world and I am so very grateful that he is able to get the best of life in his golden years.” – Kimberlee Griffey

As awareness continues to grow around bone anchored hearing and the MIPS procedure, Dr. Benecke says he will continue to advocate for bone anchored hearing because ‘the results speak for themselves’.

“The first thing my dad said after he was fit with his Ponto was ‘why didn’t you tell me about this earlier?’” – Kimberlee Griffey

 

Interested in learning more about the Ponto 3 SuperPower? Click below and we can help connect with you with an audiologist in your area.
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Nathan’s journey to his Ponto 3 SuperPower

Nathan Anderson is 7-years-old. He was born with Treacher Collins syndrome and bilateral conductive hearing loss. His hearing journey began when he was 6 months old with a bone anchored hearing system (BAHS) on a softband.

While his mother, Liz Anderson, was happy her son had the device, they were never happy with the feedback that occurred when someone or something would come in contact with it. Through online communities such as the “BAHA Kids Club World Hearing”, Liz began to learn about other bone anchored hearing options and came across Oticon Medical and the Ponto.

When it came time to decide whether or not he would continue with his device on a softband, Nathan who prior to his BAHS surgeries had had 7 other medical procedures, was unsure about the decision. He spoke with a friend who had gone from a softband to an abutment and received reassurance that the surgery was an easy process.

“When it came time for deciding on whether or not to have surgery for implantation, Nathan made the decision himself. One day at the dinner table, he let us know he was ready.”

In the video below, Nathan’s Ponto 3 SuperPowers are activated!

 

“When I saw videos of adults trying the new Ponto 3 SuperPower, it helped me make the decision that that was the direction we wanted to go. The clarity that people spoke of and children in middle school spoke about trying different BAHS devices but ultimately chose Ponto – that cemented our decision.”

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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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.

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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5 Tips for getting haircuts with a Bone Anchored Hearing System

Since the time I obtained my Ponto Plus and have posted about it on my social media platforms, I’ve received quite a few questions from new Ponto users about living with a Bone Anchored Hearing System (BAHS). One question that pops up often is how to get a haircut when you have a BAHS.

In my life before my Ponto I never really gave a second thought to visiting a barber shop or salon. But once I had an abutment protruding from the side of my head, I naturally became a little more hesitant when someone was holding a pair of scissors near it.

Here are a few tips I’d like to share based on my experiences and those of fellow BAHS users:

I get a size 1 clipper on the area around my abutment, and it’s never been an issue.

1. Remove your processor – The most important thing to remember is to remove your BAHS before hopping in the barber chair. This immediately helps avoid any potential damage from scissors or clippers.

2. Talk to your barber or stylist – If I’m not familiar with a barber, I always make sure I mention my abutment and explain what it is so they understand what they’re working with. Here’s what I tell them:

  • The piece is not at all fragile, as it is a part of my head
  • Don’t use clippers under the attachment
  • Don’t attempt to shave or brush over the abutment with clippers, trimmers, or brushes and combs

 

3. If you dye your hair – Sandi, who dyes her hair advises paying extra attention to cleaning the area around the abutment as any residual dye can cause an infection.

 

 

 

 

4. If you have long hair – Those with longer hair, like Aly, typically just need to make sure that their stylist is aware of the abutment, and to instruct them not to brush over the site.

 

 

 

 

5. Heal up first – If your abutment is new, you’ll want to hold off on getting your haircut until the site is fully healed to avoid complications. Better safe than sorry!

And that’s all it takes! A little awareness goes a long way and the results are great! 

What’s your experience been like at the salon? Share your story with me now on Twitter or Instagram!

Want to know more? Click the link below to learn more about the Ponto family of processors!

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About the author

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.

FM Systems in the Classroom

Happy back to school season! This time of year, we see many questions about FM systems in the classroom. Recently, a Ponto user and advocate sent this question our way. So, we wanted to take the opportunity to share an answer from one of our top audiologists.

Here’s the question: 

“Does anyone have any experience with FM systems? My son is in the first grade, and he has bilateral BAHAs. The school ordered the Amigo for him over the summer, at that time he had the slightly older model Ponto (the Pro I believe). He had surgery to place abutments over the summer and to our surprise we received two new hearing aids with the surgery. I also got a Streamer. The Amigo isn’t wireless and doesn’t seem to be as compatible with the Ponto Plus as the Streamer.

Does anyone have experience with the different FM systems especially in the classroom setting? I have been told in the past that when FM is on, the hearing aid only picks up sound transmitted to microphone and blocks all other surrounding sound and I have been told that isn’t true. Neither of these people used the FM themselves. Can anyone who has a BAHA share?”

Enter one of Oticon Medical’s top Audiologists, Laura Phelps. Here’s Laura’s answer:

Ponto Plus and Ponto Streamer banner 1The Amigo is an FM system and is wireless. It’s likely that the Amigo FM receiver that would be used with the Ponto Pro (the older device) is the Amigo R2BA, which has 3 pins of same length, and plugs into the DAI port on the Ponto processor. This is probably what was ordered by the school over the summer.  With the new Ponto Plus processor and the Ponto Streamer, the receiver used would be the Amigo R2, which has a longer Europin-middle pin. It plugs into the Ponto Streamer, not the processor.

So there are two options: 

A. They can use the Amigo R2BA receiver, which is likely what was ordered over the summer, with the older Ponto Pro processors at school and use the new Ponto Plus processor and Ponto Streamer at home.

B. The school can purchase one Amigo R2 receiver which would plug into the Ponto Streamer and just one receiver would transmit to both Ponto Plus processors.

Regarding the question about what the Ponto is picking up, surrounding noise versus what is being transmitted from the teacher’s microphone: 

For scenario A (above), the audiologist typically programs “Program 2″ as FM+M, meaning that the R2BA receiver on the Ponto receives the signal from the teacher’s mic and the Ponto microphones pick up the surrounding sounds.

For scenario B above, the Ponto Streamer settings default to receiving both the FM and M.

For either scenario A or B, the relative inputs from the FM Signal and the Mic signal can be adjusted if you want to change the “mix”. This is helpful if student reports that he or she is getting too much surrounding noise relative to the teacher’s voice, or vice versa.

I would recommend that the school Audiologists contact one of the Clinical Specialists through customer service for guidance, and the child’s Clinical Audiologist might need to get involved as well.  It is often the case that the school Audiologist defers to the Clinical Audiologist to make programming changes since they are the ones that fit the instrument.

So, there it is! We hope this answer helps as your student heads back to school. Do you have other questions regarding FM systems? Please let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter. We’re always here to help!