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Nancy Smith Oberman on upgrading to Ponto 4

Part 2 of 2

As we shared in Part 1 of Nancy Smith Oberman’s upgrade story, she had her concerns about moving to a bilateral Ponto 4 bone anchored hearing system from her Ponto 3 SuperPowers. The following post traces her journey from deciding to upgrade through her life with Ponto 4, which she originally shared via a series of Facebook posts.*

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Decision made – Nancy chooses Ponto 4

Steel Gray Ponto 4

I authorized my audiologist to order my right, steel-gray Ponto 4, and will order the left in January. I’m still absolutely amazed by how well the Ponto 4s work for me. I’m very lucky that I’ve been able to trial them in just about every situation I experience on a daily basis. I was not very positive they would work for me, but as I tell people all the time — louder does not equal good hearing.

I think the thing I’m most impressed with is the fact that I can hear behind me, at least when someone is speaking to me. I don’t necessarily have to face the speaker, which has been a blessing. I’m also quite surprised I don’t get feedback, because I’m pretty sure they are set at the ceiling. Sometimes I will turn them up a tad — my left cochlea is not as good as the right, which is why I’ve always boosted the Pontos with a traditional hearing aid, which gives me the needed extra amplification on the left.

I love that I can control my settings with my Apple® watch! With Ponto 4, I’m experiencing sound that seems even more natural and with less vibration, if that makes sense.

I’m just as happy as I can be… as are my staff!  I find that only I can hear what I’m listening to now and so am enjoying taking my phone calls via Bluetooth® anywhere. Who would have thought?

Follow-up after getting Ponto 4 confirms better hearing

Audiogram

Just left my audiologist’s office to pick up one new Ponto (second will be procured in January). As I’m getting ready this morning, he shoots me an email reminding me to bring my SuperPowers to the appointment. He wants to test me with both, to compare. Actually, I was looking forward to doing just that; cannot deny I’ve had a twinge or two over the last month, thinking I may very well have convinced myself the Ponto 4 was better because it was newer and had that direct connect Bluetooth.

We go into the sound booth and start with the Ponto 4s. After the tone thing, he does the speech recognition, where I have to repeat sentences that are spoken with increasing background noise and voices. I thought I did okay, so great! Next, we move to the SuperPowers. No change in program; exactly what I’d used for the last two-and-a-half years. What did I think? Yep, the SuperPowers were going to work better than the 4s, which were much quieter… sigh.

When we finished, my audiologist was grinning. “Well,” I asked, “was I wrong in thinking I heard better with the 4s… kinda bummed?”

“Nope,” he said. “You actually understood speech better with the 4s!” With 1-3 being normal speech recognition (1 being better than 3), I hit at 1.6 with the Ponto 4s. With the Ponto3 SuperPowers, I hit at 2.8. Yay, I was correct — I really do hear better with the 4s!

Advice to Ponto wearers considering an upgrade

My advice to others considering whether to upgrade to a Ponto 4 from their SuperPower device is that you have got to give a trial more than five minutes, or even five hours or an entire day! I sat in a noisy restaurant with friends the other day and didn’t miss any of the conversation even with all the clanking of dishes, crying children, other conversations, etc. While you might not experience a big “a-ha” moment of noticeable hearing improvement, don’t be discouraged. The changes are so subtle (which I think is awesome, actually) that it may take your brain a day or two to catch up to the marked improvement. This is as close to normal hearing as I can remember all those years ago, before the onset of my hearing loss.

I think Oticon Medical has hit this out of the park!

Find a clinic

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.

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.

Determination and perseverance lead to better hearing for Elizabeth Collins

Elizabeth Collins

After a slow progression of hearing loss in her right ear, Elizabeth Collins became permanently deaf on her right side from a mastoidectomy surgery at the age of 14. She has lived with single-sided deafness (SSD) for most of her life, struggling to hear in school and at work.

“I had a fear of not wanting to raise my hand in school because I didn’t want to make a mistake. Growing up with single-sided deafness and not having the access or advocacy that we have now meant dealing with a lot of stigmas around being hearing impaired. I had to overcome a lot of insecurity, adversity, and bullying as I grew up,” Elizabeth explained.

The first hearing aids she used were BiCROS hearing aids, but the solution wasn’t enough for her hearing loss. It wasn’t until Elizabeth was 38 years old, when she decided to go back to college, that she began researching new hearing loss solutions for SSD. While completing her associates degree at Tidewater Community college she noticed a picture of someone wearing something behind their ear — a bone-anchored hearing system (BAHS). Audiologists hadn’t presented BAHS as an option, so Elizabeth did her own research, and found BAHS could be the right solution.

Obstacles and persistence

Elizabeth encountered her first obstacle while trying to get approval for BAHS surgery —insurance. After her insurer rejected the surgery multiple times,  she reached out to a BAHS advocate who educated her on insurance codes. After two years of fighting, she was finally approved and moved forward with her abutment surgery in 2012.

A year later, Elizabeth encountered another issue when she tried to upgrade her device because she was struggling with the type of BAHS she was using. The device wasn’t helping her in school and customer service was not supportive of her needs. She researched other brands of BAHS and found the Facebook group BAHA World Hearing where she first learned about Oticon Medical’s Ponto bone-anchored hearing system. Elizabeth was given a Ponto loaner to try. She shared her reaction for the first time in a heart-tugging video (see below).

Elizabeth Collins tries a Ponto bone-anchored hearing system for the first time

Elizabeth made the decision to switch to a Ponto BAHS and got ready for her next battle — a revision operation to have an Oticon Medical abutment implanted. Two years after she graduated college and began her career as a Contract Specialist at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and despite confronting more insurance rejections for her re-implantation surgery, Elizabeth finally received her Oticon Medical abutment in October 2018.

Life with her Ponto 3 SuperPower

Elizabeth Collins with her Ponto 3 SuperPower

Since receiving her new abutment and Ponto 3 SuperPower, Elizabeth has been experiencing a new world of hearing. When in meetings for work she can hear sounds more clearly and doesn’t miss what her co-workers are saying, whereas before she would struggle to make sense of conversations. Last year she graduated magna cum laude from Strayer University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and is now pursuing a Master’s Degree.

“Now I get to discuss and elaborate on topics. I do presentations and trainings where before, never in my life would I have wanted to go up in front of people and present. I’m excelling at my job and advancing to leadership roles. The most important difference I’ve noticed is that my speech has improved, my family has started to respect me, and I feel more confident,” she said.

In the end Elizabeth feels the switch was worth it. “Oticon Medical has captured my heart and I’m not going back. When people see my Ponto and ask me what I’m wearing, I let them know that this is my ear.”

Find a clinic

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

 

 

Michael Shepherd Shares Ponto Pro Experience

Michael Shepherd shares his experience with his Oticon Ponto Pro.

“It has actually let me come out of my shell. In a group of people, I struggled so much. I pretty much went off by myself. This has let me overcome that. I’m so happy that I’ve had this done. I would not change anything.”

Thank you to Medical Hearing Aids for sharing.