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
The 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.
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.
We wanted to recap a few of our favorite moments of 2014– just in case you missed any of these incredible stories.
In 2014, Your Voices Were Heard— On October 31, 2014, after a several-month-long battle, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) ruled that Bone Anchored Hearing Systems and auditory osseointegrated implants (AOIs) will remain a covered benefit for Medicare enrollees with qualifying indications.
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.
Last weekend was one of our favorites of the year. We gathered over 20 patient families from all around the United States at our U.S. headquarters in Somerset, New Jersey. While we spent plenty of time talking, laughing, sharing stories and tears, we came together to work—to work on building a better future for those who have yet to begin their journeys in getting Bone Anchored Hearing Systems.
On Saturday, we came together for a full day of design thinking workshops that asked two key questions:
How can we make the road easier for those who are starting their journey?
What’s are next things we’ll do as advocates, if the sky’s the limit?
The strength of the bond between siblings is hard to define. The love we feel for our brothers and sisters is unconditional, and in some cases, truly inspiring to others. Brother and sister Derek and Kelley Dwyer are an example of inseparable siblings who would do anything to help each other.
As you may already know if you spend time with us here on the blog or on Facebook or Twitter, our friends at Ear Community, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, help people born with Microtia and Atresia, which results in hearing loss. Through donations, they provide equipment and services to help those suffering from these limitations to gain a greater ability to hear and communicate with others.
Ear Community recently shared the story of Derek Dwyer and his sister Dr. Kelley Dwyer. Derek Dwyer is a 22-year-old computer engineering and graphic design major at Gwinnett Technical College. He’s a passionate fan of music and technology. The youngest of three siblings, Derek was born with Nager Syndrome and bilateral Microtia and Atresia. Microtia and Atresia have contributed to hearing loss for Derek, making it difficult to listen in lectures and communicate with others in school.
His sister, Dr. Kelley Dwyer recently graduated with her doctorate in Audiology and serves as a pediatric audiologist at Pediatric ENT of Atlanta. She has studied and worked tirelessly to help her brother, who serves as a source of motivation to her. “Derek has been my biggest inspiration in life…he defies the expectations of a special needs person and knows no boundaries to his capabilities.”
After discovering Ear Community and the opportunity for equipment that would assist her brother in his transition into college life, Dr. Dwyer applied. “Derek never asks for anything, so I am going to ask for him.”
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 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:
The Ponto Streamer opens the door for new communication possibilities and connections with people, information and entertainment for Ponto Plus users. Today, we wanted to share more information about the Ponto Streamer. Better yet, we also wanted to give you an opportunity to hear from those who know it best— the people who use it every day.
First, let’s dive into what the Ponto Streamer and ConnectLine products are.
ConnectLine is a system that helps you connect to a wide variety of communication and entertainment applications. Simply put, it transforms your Ponto Plus into a personal wireless headset. The Ponto Streamer is your gateway to a range of different electronics. Audio can be transmitted through the Ponto Streamer wirelessly to your Ponto Plus. The Ponto Streamer is worn around the neck and has three buttons for the core applications: phone, TV and microphone.
We sat down with Amy Mackey to learn more about her story with hearing loss. After struggling with hearing loss in one ear her whole life, last July her worst fear came true– she also lost hearing in her good ear. After months of nearly total deafness, Amy received her Ponto Plus and Ponto Plus Streamer. Here’s how they’ve been working for her.