Tag Archives: Ponto 4

Nancy Smith Oberman on upgrading to Ponto 4

Part 1 of 2

Nancy Smith Oberman had her concerns about upgrading to a bilateral Ponto™ 4 bone anchored hearing system from her Ponto 3 SuperPowers. After all, her SuperPower devices worked great, plus with her profound level of hearing loss, she was doubtful that a non-SP device could help her hear as well as she needed. The following traces her journey from curious but cautious to official Ponto 4 convert.*

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To upgrade or not to upgrade? That was my question

So, unfortunately, I have to add a hearing aid back into the mix. Not sure what’s going on — my hearing hasn’t changed much from my last audiogram even though it’s a little worse, but not enough (at least so my audiologist says) to make a big difference. I’m surmising my brain is getting older and I’m getting crankier, and just a little more tired of working so damn hard to hear people who refuse to speak up. Wonder how everything will work when Ponto 4 Super-Powers (when they  come out) are added. Gotta love technology!
I want to trial the Ponto 4 and am trying to get the Ponto 4 demo now. I’m kind of afraid that my hearing loss is too great for non-SuperPower devices, but my audiologist knows I’ll only be satisfied once I am certain one way or another.

First step: trialing Ponto 4

I’m scheduled to get bilateral Ponto 4s programmed for trial Wednesday. In the meantime, I love teaching people! I’m working with the company that set up our phone system to come up with a solution to resolve my difficulty with phone usage. I had quite the conversation explaining the bone anchored hearing system and the Bluetooth® direct connection capabilities of the new Ponto 4. The person I spoke to was fascinated, to say the least! I consider it a win-win: I’ve educated more people about hearing loss and the technology to aid those of us who have it, plus I resolved my phone issue.

My Ponto 4 trial experience

I picked up two Ponto 4s Wednesday for trial. First off, I am amazed at how well they pick up speech, even for someone who has as great a loss as mine (I’m programmed to the ceiling with my Ponto 3 SuperPower devices). There is definitely a noticeable difference between the two sound platforms, with the (Oticon Opn™) open platform seriously a marked improvement.
Surprisingly, since these are programmed to the ceiling, I’ve had no feedback to speak of. Besides clearer, crisper speech, I hear as well as I do with the SuperPower, which I currently wear along with a regular hearing aid. I’ve played a little with wearing them without my hearing aid, and found that I still have the clear speech, but can’t hear much of anything else (e.g., background noise), which gives me a feeling that my ears are stopped up. Didn’t go a long time, since I was at work teaching, and was a tad nervous I would struggle hearing my students. But the few conversations I had with my coworkers outside the classroom were normal. I didn’t struggle to hear them even with students milling about or being loud while on the mats.
Hopefully, I’ll be braver next week and teach the whole day with just the bilateral Ponto 4 and without my hearing aid. Got to give them enough time to really test their performance.

Pleasantly surprised by Ponto 4

The Ponto 4s are so small and lightweight that it feels as if they aren’t even attached. I do miss the ability to mute from the processor itself but using the Oticon ON™ app is no different than using the app with my hearing aid. The direct Bluetooth is absolutely wonderful, except I can only use it in private. As with the streamer, everyone else around me can hear sounds traveling through the processors. At least my coworkers are used to me being in my office with my door closed.
I will be trialing the Ponto 4s for at least a month, so I can test them in all aspects of my life and hearing situations. So far, even though there was no initial “ah-ha” moment like I experienced with the Ponto 3 SuperPower, I am certainly impressed! I sure thought they wouldn’t work for me. I teach adults hands-on activities as well as in classrooms, and it’s quite busy and loud. Surprisingly, Ponto 4 seems to have a marked ability to mute that noise when I’m engaged in conversation.

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Will Nancy decide to take the plunge and upgrade to Ponto 4? Find out in our next post!

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Click the button if you want to learn more about our Ponto bone anchored hearing systems or arrange a trial.

*NOTE: Originally shared via a series of Facebook posts with permission.

Tory discovers the joys of wireless streaming and more with Ponto 4

“No other hearing aid or osseo-integrated device company can match the processing available in the Ponto 4.”

Tory Burns, a Clinical Representative with Oticon Medical, had an acoustic neuroma removed when he was 15, leaving him with single-sided deafness (SSD). He describes what led him to finally treat his hearing loss with the Ponto bone anchored hearing system (BAHS) and his thoughts on the Ponto 4 after upgrading from the Ponto 3 SP.

Search for the right SSD treatment leads to a career with Oticon Medical

I completely lost the hearing in my left ear by the time I was 18. My good ear is normal. I cannot tell which direction sounds are coming from and I have significant difficulty hearing in background noise. I have had to pre-plan before going out and assertively choose the seating that most appropriately fit my hearing loss (since my SSD is on the left, I would try to avoid having people sit or walk on my left side). I tried several CROS-type solutions, and all were too noisy for me to wear for any length of time.

I worked for Oticon, Inc. for four years, choosing this particular company because of its unique innovations and forward-looking technology. I then moved over to Oticon Medical because it was an opportunity to work with people struggling with the same hearing loss that I had. I did not get a Ponto until six months later. I did not specifically intend to do this but since I saw how easy the surgery was, it quickly became a no-brainer — I had to try it. I was a new dad at the time and wanted to make sure I was giving myself every opportunity to be a part of my daughter’s life.

I definitely feel I have an insider’s perspective. I can relate to and empathize with difficulties that a person with SSD has that may not be obvious, even to them. I can also offer some assurance that having a Ponto generally won’t interfere with any of their activities no matter how physically demanding.

Ponto 4 and the joys of wireless streaming

I wore my previous Ponto devices situationally. When I was in noise, I would have to turn it up all the way. Sometimes, I only heard a jumble of sounds, and while still helpful, I wanted more.

Now I wake up every day and put my Ponto 4 on (never did that before, ever). It is like I am not even wearing anything! The sound quality is three-dimensional and speech “pops” out of the noise. I can hear speech in all directions on my left side. It is remarkable — after the start-up tone, you can hear the sounds all jumbled and amplified, but within a second or two, everything gets organized and cleaned up.

Also, I have never successfully streamed with any previous generation of Ponto. I could only hear audio if I plugged up my good ear, which in my opinion, defeats the purpose. With the Ponto 4, I’ve streamed sportscasts and phone calls while out in the yard working, walking down a busy road, and even in my car.

The sound streaming from my phone is excellent — clearer than from any other sound processor I have worn. I streamed for two hours one day while working outside with power tools and didn’t miss a word from the golf broadcast I was listening to.

Older technology made sounds seem two-dimensional — like a wall of sound coming at me all at once. The soundscape around me is three-dimensional with Ponto 4. Voices in many listening situations seem to have their own place in space.

Clear speech with Ponto 4 even in noise

Voices are clear, even in noise. I have plenty of headroom if I want it louder, and I would highly recommend Ponto 4 to SSD patients who are considering which Ponto to get. The device does not need as much volume to compensate for hearing because the speech information is what the device is emphasizing.

Ponto 4 is also smaller, which is a big part of my willingness to wear it more often. It supports my lifestyle, which includes running. I run a lot and wear my Ponto 4 for awareness on the street and trails. Because the Ponto 4 is very water-resistant, I don’t hesitate to wear it while I am active and on land. I’m also a dad with two kids so all of my other “recreation” opportunities are not mine. Nevertheless, I benefit from wearing my Ponto everywhere.

When I was not wearing a Ponto, I would have to really think and analyze my situation before, during, and after to ensure the best outcomes. It felt like a lot of work day in and day out.  When I wear my Ponto 4, I don’t have to lean in to the conversation with my good ear or choose which seat to sit in so that everyone is on my “good side”. It used to be that if two people were talking to me with one on my left side and one on the right, I would have to turn slightly to my good (right) side to hear both equally. I never have to do that with my Ponto 4. In all, I have much more natural interactions with people on a daily basis. I feel better when I wear my device than when I don’t because it is less stressful when it is on.

It took getting the Ponto to really find out how much I had been compensating for my hearing loss. I realized how much work I was putting in daily and how much I was avoiding because of my hearing difficulties. I also realized how much I was missing that I wasn’t aware of during the 20+ years I did nothing. The new OPN™ technology is a game-changer. No other hearing aid or osseo-integrated device company can match the processing available in the Ponto 4.

My advice to anyone considering the Ponto 4? Try it out for yourself — what do you have to lose?

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Click the button if you want to learn more about our Ponto bone anchored hearing systems or arrange a trial.

More confident and able to focus on the sounds of life with Ponto 4

The Ponto 4 connects my love for technology with my need of quality hearing. The features I enjoy most include clarity, surround-sound, and sense of direction, and wireless connection to Bluetooth. Ponto 4 allows me to feel more confident about wearing an aid and to focus on the sounds of everyday life.” — Camilla Gilbert

Jada, Connie, and Camilla

Camilla Gilbert lives in Cincinnati, Ohio along with her daughter, Jada. She was born with bilateral Microtia and Atresia, a congenital condition that affects how ears develop and frequently includes severe or complete hearing loss in the affected ear(s). She was fitted with a bone anchored hearing system (BAHS) as a child but used to wear her processors covered up with a headband. Then she learned more about her condition and discovered the importance of community and advocacy on behalf of others with Microtia, Atresia, and other hearing challenges.

Today, she is an active advocate for individuals with hearing loss and passionate about educating others on how to function efficiently in the hearing world. She serves on the committee for Ear Community’s Microtia and Atresia Support Group and is a past president of the Southwest Ohio chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America.

Camilla has worn Oticon Medical Ponto BAHS bilaterally for many years. So, when the opportunity arose to try out the latest technology, Ponto 4, she jumped at the chance.

The following are her thoughts and experiences after wearing Ponto 4 for an extended period, which she is sharing in hopes of informing others who might want to try Ponto 4 either as a user new to wearing BAHS entirely or as an upgrade from their current BAHS.

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My first impressions of Ponto 4

I became the first person in the United States to get Ponto 4 after agreeing to participate in a video with Oticon Medical in New York. The video shoot itself was awesome! It was interesting because my daughter and I never did anything like that before. We felt like celebrities for a day. I was very excited that the video would be used to help inspire potential Ponto 4 wearers. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting into when I agreed to participate, but I trusted Oticon Medical.

My first impression of the Ponto 4 was that it was much smaller than my previous BAHS. I also loved that I could hear more all around me and not just sound coming from in front. It has a smaller, sleeker design, so if someone were concerned about others seeing their processor, they wouldn’t have to be as compared to other devices. I also noticed I could hear clearly outside even in the middle of New York City, and found it supported my active lifestyle. For example, I could listen to music better and really focus on my workout when I went for a run.

The Ponto 4 was pretty cool during my NYC visit after the video shoot. I was really still getting used to hearing everything around me – it took a few hours. It sounded like 360° hearing, rather than sound coming at me only from the front. When I was heading home and inside the airport, I noticed how noisy and crazy it was, and yet I could tell where all the different sounds were coming from. I had the same experience outside in Times Square — I could pinpoint where all the sound was coming from.

A month in and still loving Ponto 4

Having worn my new Ponto 4 devices for a month now, I can say that they have made a difference in my daily life — definitely at work, because it’s easier to hear everything. I can tell where speech is coming from. It’s also easier to have Ponto 4 while working out because I don’t need to wear a streamer around my neck. I recently went to a wedding and a Father’s Day celebration, and I was able to hear every conversation all around me and understand what was said. This is much better than the way it used to be, when I had to actively focus to my left or right in order to hear speech coming from either side but couldn’t hear and process conversations from both sides at the same time.

Ponto 4 is definitely smaller than my previous Ponto Plus. The features that really continue to stand out for me are the wireless connectivity — being connected with the (Oticon ON™) app and my smart devices. It’s been really great using that connectivity. Also, the Open Sound Navigator™ enables me to hear sounds all around me.

The Ponto 4 are comfortable to wear. Because I have thick hair, I love that the new design doesn’t have a volume control on-board, because my hair used to get stuck in that all the time and pull. Also, the sticker with Mute used to rub off all the time, so I don’t miss that either.

Listening to music is clearer, more like listening through surround-sound headphones. Phone calls are also clear, even video calls (e.g., Facetime). Ponto 4 allows me to feel more confident about wearing aids and focus on the sounds of everyday life. I am looking forward to using the new Ponto 4 as a doctoral student at Northern Kentucky University in the fall of 2019!

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Want to learn more? Click here to read about Ponto 4.

Ready to get a new processor? Click to learn about the upgrade process, including how to receive assistance from our Reimbursement Support team.

Initial thoughts on the Ponto 4 – Oticon Medical has done it again!

Sandi Arcus is a Dispensing Audiologist in Nevada. Born with single-sided deafness (SSD), she as always had a passion for helping others who are hard of hearing. She started her career in Pennsylvania as an audiologist in a busy ENT office, then in private practice. She currently works at an audiology clinic in Henderson, NV. Sandi holds a Master of Science degree in Audiology from Bloomsburg University, is a Fellow with the American Academy of Audiology, and holds a Certificate of Clinical Competency from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.

As both an expert in hearing health and someone with first-hand experience in hearing loss, Sandi kindly offered to share her initial thoughts (and a couple of homemade videos) from her trial of Oticon Medical’s Ponto 4 bone anchored hearing system (BAHS).

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I did the initial setup myself, because I’m really picky and odd about my programming. My first impression was that the Ponto 4 sounded the closest to my normal hearing ear as any other hearing aid or BAHS has come close to. I was impressed but not surprised — if Oticon Medical releases a new processor, I know it won’t be good… it will be great!

Streaming phone calls and music with ease

I placed a call while streaming to the Ponto 4 and the person on the receiving end was impressed with the clarity. On my side, I was able to hear the speaker without issues. Streaming music was pretty impressive as well. It wasn’t tinny or hollow-sounding.

Ponto 4 passes the wind and noise test

I like to “beat up” my processor — push it to the limits — so I next planned to be a passenger in my car (Ponto side toward driver) with the windows down and music on. I don’t typically have the windows down when driving because I can’t hear (and it messes up my hair) so I knew this would really allow me to test the Ponto 4 out.

 

These videos don’t quite do it justice. I had the air conditioning blasting and the radio on pretty loud. My daughter and husband said they couldn’t hear each other or me, but I heard them.

Kudos Oticon Medical — you did it again!

I could never have heard either my husband or daughter in that noisy car without the Ponto 4. Knowing how OPN™ technology works helped me figure out the biggest difference: I still knew the noise was there. It wasn’t distorted. There wasn’t a sudden mic change that was audible. However, my brain knew that speech was what I needed to hear. Speech stood out naturally without strain and without compromise.

My one word for Ponto 4? Awesome!

Click here to learn more about the Ponto 4 from Oticon Medical.