Tag Archives: MIPS

Why You Should Consider Implantation if You Use a Softband – Part 1

We are pleased to be able to offer options for people with hearing loss to benefit from our Ponto™ processors at all ages and with differing health conditions. Our processor can be worn on a hard headband, attached to a hat, or on a softband – the latter of which is particular popular with our juvenile wearers. However, the Ponto was developed as part of a complete bone anchored hearing system, meaning wearers will experience peak performance when it is attached via an abutment directly to their skull. And while children under five aren’t candidates for the implant surgery due to their developing skulls, we encourage all adults and parents of kids over five whose physical conditions don’t preclude the surgery to seriously consider implantation. Here’s why.

The MIPS procedure

The surgical method Oticon Medical uses is called MIPS (minimally invasive Ponto surgery). This procedure involves having a small titanium implant carefully inserted into the bone behind your ear. The operation can be performed under local anesthetic, and in most cases, it takes no more than a day or two to recover. Many older children and most adults can undergo MIPS successfully, unless they have a condition that affects skin or bone thickness. A consultation with a surgeon can help you determine whether you or your child is a qualified candidate.

It’s typical for people to have concerns about surgery of any kind, including the comparatively minor MIPS procedure. For example, you might have concerns about your post-surgical appearance. The good news is that MIPS was designed to create the smallest incision possible. The surgeon makes a circular incision that matches the abutment exactly using instruments specifically designed for the procedure. This leaves the skin around the incision intact, with no skin tissue or hair follicles removed from around the abutment – hence no bald spots. MIPS also removes the need for suturing, which eliminates scarring and fosters quicker healing.

Another concern might be the surgery itself – especially the use of general anesthesia, which always carries some level of risk. MIPS only takes about 15 minutes and is normally carried out under local anesthetic. And as for recovery, since the process preserves soft tissue the blood supply, micro-circulation, and nerves are left as intact as possible, thereby shortening the healing period. Most patients can return to work or school within a couple of days.

Why choose bone anchored surgery over softband?

Affixing the Ponto processor to a softband provides young children with early access to speech and sounds so they can explore and interact with the hearing world with greater ease. It also gives them a great foundation for speech development. It is a suitable solution for children with conductive or mixed hearing loss, or single-sided deafness. It can also be used by adults with these conditions who cannot benefit from conventional hearing aids or who have temporary ear problems, such as blockages or infections.

Because the adjustable softband is simply worn around the head, some wearers prefer it to having to go through any form of surgery. And it certainly works — when you attach the Ponto sound processor, it sends sound waves through the bone to the inner ear, giving the wearer access to our renowned, high quality Ponto sound. Wearing a Ponto on a softband is a valuable method of hearing rehabilitation for children too young for implantation and for adults receiving a preoperative assessment.

However, studies confirm that implantation of a bone anchored hearing device – also known as a percutaneous solution – provides the ultimate hearing improvement over wearing a processor on a softband. Hearing sensitivity through the skin with a softband, as compared to a skin-penetrating abutment, provides between eight and 20 decibels (dB) reduction in the frequency range from one to four kHz. In plain English, wearers hear better when their processor is worn on an abutment than when it is worn on a softband.

One concern is that when vibrations have to pass through the skin without an abutment, the static pressure between the softband and the skin must be high to provide the best transmission possible. The ideal requirement often causes discomfort and can result in problems in the skin and subcutaneous tissues between the processor and the bone, especially if used long-term. It can also trigger tension headaches.

Other challenges include attenuation and feedback. Attenuation refers to a reduction in sound amplification, which can affect speech understanding. Feedback, or the return of a portion of an outbound signal to the same device creating a distorted effect, occurs when sound radiates from the processor back to the microphone.

Other complaints about softbands include cosmetic appeal, and slippage that causes the processor to move out of its ideal placement. If these and the aforementioned discomforts persist, the user is less likely to wear their processor all day long, reducing the efficacy of the device. After all, you can only fully benefit from the better hearing provided by the processor if it is worn steadily – and this is particularly important for children who are still acquiring language.

In our next post on this subject, we’ll share two user experiences about upgrading from wearing processors on softbands to having MIPS and hearing with an implant.

Jay Wietecha is a Proud Ponto Advocate

Jay hopes his journey to better hearing will inspire others

Jay Wietecha lost the hearing in his right ear at the end of July 2018 due to a 1.8cm acoustic neuroma that was surgically removed. Despite his surgeons’ best efforts to leave the hearing nerve intact, it still went out and he was left with single-sided deafness (SSD). He spoke to a treatment coordinator post-op who also happened to have SSD following removal of an acoustic neuroma, and was a Ponto user. She advised him that it was Jay’s best option and worth looking into. In October of 2018, Jay went through the minimally invasive Ponto surgery (MIPS) and had his first Ponto activated in November. In the following clip, he shares words of encouragement about the MIPS experience.

He was also better able to engage in conversations at busy restaurants and while driving in a car and enjoying background music. Without the Ponto, these situations were more challenging and less pleasurable. 

“I can comfortably say that the Ponto has made coping and living with SSD much easier and I enjoy a higher quality of life when using it,” Jay said.

Jay found he got the best results at home watching TV with background noise elsewhere in the house, and at work where he practices dentistry in noisy operatories with music playing in the background. He found he was better able to engage with patients and staff and didn’t have to work as hard to hear. He also became more aware of what was going on around him. Here’s what Jay wants you to know about the ease of holding conversations with a Ponto bone anchored hearing system.

Jay also played the drums for the first time since losing his hearing because he’d wanted to wait until he had the Ponto processor to see if it would sound the same as it has since he started playing a little over 30 years ago. The result? “It sounded perfect! I actually thought I might have to stop playing altogether when I lost my hearing, so of course I was filled with emotion over how great things sounded and I can continue playing,” said Jay.

Jay was excited to have the opportunity to try out Ponto 4 when he attended Oticon Medical’s annual New Advocates Meeting earlier this year. He was impressed by the smaller size and all its features.

Overall, Jay feels that wearing a Ponto increased the quality of his life and helped him move beyond the tragedy of losing half of his hearing. “There have actually been times when I feel as normal as I did before I lost my hearing,” he said.

Ready to try something new? Learn how to upgrade to a Ponto processor today!

Transitioning from softband to abutment: A video diary of Calvin Underwood’s journey

When a child and parent feel ready to make the switch from wearing a Ponto on a softband to an abutment, there are a number of steps that can help prepare a family. To better illustrate the journey, Brittney Underwood is sharing her son Calvin’s story of preparing for his bilateral abutment surgery in June, where he will be receiving two Ponto 3 SuperPowers.

Video one: Why Calvin is transitioning to Ponto 3 SuperPowers on abutments

“Because he’s wearing his Pontos on a softband he’s not getting the access that he would have if it was direct bone contact” – Brittney

 

Video two: How Brittney is helping her son Calvin prepare for abutment surgery

“We’ve been explaining it to Calvin and showing him pictures of abutments.” – Brittney

 

Video three: Calvin’s recovery from his abutment surgery

“It went really well. He’s not having any pain, he’s just really tired.” – Brittney

 

Video four: Calvin’s recovery from his abutment surgery

“His abutments are healing amazingly.” – Brittney

 

Video five: Calvin receives his Ponto 3 SuperPowers on his abutments!

“He’s snapped on!” – Brittney

 

Video six: Improvements after Calvin’s abutment surgery

“Calvin has exploded in speech. We are loving this new processor and the abutment!” – Brittney 

Video seven: Improvements after Calvin’s abutment surgery

“We are seeing so many big things since he was snapped on! Here he is saying the alphabet with Alpha pig!” – Brittney

 

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

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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Showing the Simplicity of MIPS at the AAO-HNSF Conference (video)

This week, we were in San Diego at the AAO-HNSF conference to connect with hearing care professionals from around the world. Our booth at the conference gave professionals the opportunity to perform mock, hands-on Minimally Invasive Ponto Surgery (MIPS) procedures.

The MIPS surgery takes a total of 10-15 minutes and is normally carried out under local anesthetic. A circular incision is made that matches the abutment exactly. The surgeon uses specially designed instruments for MIPS. This leaves the skin around the incision intact with no skin tissue or hair follicles removed from around the abutment.

Here’s a short video that we shot on the conference floor. Note that the person doing the demo isn’t a professional, so she was learning in real-time just how minimally-invasive getting an abutment for a Ponto can be!

Want to learn more about getting your own Ponto? We can connect you with a local Audiologist, just click the button below and let us know!


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“Whoa!” is Davin’s Response to His Ponto Pluses

We met Shannon Gordon when she posted a video of her son, Davin, trying his Pontos on abutments for the first time. Shannon shared Davin’s story with us, and now we’d like to share with you too.

“Davin was born bilateral microtia and atresia. He has had bilateral canaloplasty, and Medpor. Davin received his first bone anchored hearing system (BAHS) at 7 weeks old. Two years ago we upgraded to bilateral Ponto Pluses. What an amazing transformation! On February 5, 2016, he had the surgery at U of M hospital. This video is of him receiving his Pontos on the abutments for the first time, 3 months after surgery. He loves them! Thank you Oticon for an amazing product and allowing my son to have the best hearing option out there!”

The video below captured his reaction to wearing his Ponto Pluses on abutments for the first time—3 months after his surgery.

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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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Meet Dr. Lawrence Lustig, Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery at the Columbia University College of Physicians

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.

Dr. Lawrence Lustig, MD,  is one of the nation’s leading experts in hearing loss

Dr. Lawrence Lustig, Otolaryngologist-in-chief at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center

Dr. Lustig is the chair of the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and otolaryngologist-in-chief at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. Today, Dr. Lustig’s mission at New York City at Columbia University Medical Center & New York Presbyterian Hospital is to build a practice of the very best otolaryngology clinicians and research scientists.

He treats the full spectrum of ear disorders in adults and children, as well as skull base disease. His specialties include skull base surgery, Bone Anchored Hearing Systems (BAHS), cochlear implants, the genetics of hearing loss, cochlear gene therapy, surgery for chronic otitis media, balance disorders, and hair cell physiology.

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Teen Shares Her Minimally Invasive Ponto Surgery (MIPS) Surgery Story with the World

UPDATE: The Minimally Invasive Ponto Surgery (MIPS) procedure has now received FDA clearance and will soon be available in the United States.

Ponto surgery with tissue preservation has been done for a few years now. Also, many physicians use a “punch” incision with this technique. What this new MIPS surgery and surgical items provide are the first tools designed specifically to support and advance these great techniques with the aim at making it easier and more safe for patients to get the best possible results.

An excited 15-year-old, Karina Theoret, shared her story about getting an abutment for her bone anchored hearing system (BAHS) with a new surgical procedure, Minimally Invasive Ponto Surgery (MIPS). When she stepped into the operating room at the Montreal Children’s Hospital last week, she was more excited than nervous. Karina has been deaf in her right ear since she was born. Soon, she’ll be able to hear with a bone anchored hearing system.

MIPS Surgery Because Karina is the first person in North America to undergo surgery with this new technique, her story was captured and shared by CTV News Montreal, and you can view it below.

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