Right after Thanksgiving last year, Oticon Medical formally launched a new community for Ponto wearers and caregivers to Ponto wearers in the United States, Oticon Medical Friends. Our goal was to create a safe, private space for wearers and caregivers to share their experiences with their Ponto bone anchored hearing systems, ask each other for advice and tips, and learn from one another’s experiences with hearing loss and treatment. Additionally, the community provides more direct access to Oticon Medical employees for assistance with questions related to technology, insurance, and best practices as well as the opportunity to share ideas for product and service advancements.
Features designed to empower Ponto users and caregivers
Oticon Medical Friends provides helpful features for new and experienced Ponto wearers and caregivers, including:
Easily viewable information on your Ponto device(s), including warranty information. This information is stored securely in your Profile, so only you can see it.
Groups dedicated to different subjects relevant to you. You can easily browse and find the groups that reflect your everyday interests and experiences.
A resource library with downloadable material to make life even easier with your device. All materials are made exclusively for Oticon Medical Friends members.
Direct messaging. Talk directly and privately with other Oticon Medical Friends community members as well as Oticon Medical employees.
A first look at new products and accessories. Find out first what we are working on and offer suggestions for what you’d like us to develop.
Coming soon: Exclusive offers and contests for members.
Groups and more in Oticon Medical Friends
Within the community are different groups designed for new wearers, experienced Ponto users, and caregivers. We encourage you to join as many as you’d like! The following are your current options:
New Ponto Users
Experienced Ponto Users
Tips and Tricks
Kids with Ponto
Coming soon: Advocacy
We also have a growing Library of content to help maximize your experience and enjoyment of life with a Ponto BAHS and an area where we encourage you to make Suggestions, which we will use to continue expanding and developing Oticon Medical Friends. We are just getting started, so the sooner you join, the more influence you can have on making this community the best resource it can be!
How do I join Oticon Medical Friends?
If you are currently using a Ponto or you are a parent or caregiver of a Ponto wearer, Oticon Medical Friends is for you! To join, simply click this link to Oticon Medical Friends, and when directed enter the serial number for your or your loved one’s device. Whether you are a new member of the Oticon Medical extended family or a seasoned advocate, Oticon Medical Friends is the place for you.
In our previous blog post, we discussed BrainHearing™ — the term we at Oticon Medical use when referring to how the vital elements of hearing (processing and comprehension) occur in the brain. We also reviewed the evidence showing how our Ponto™ system supports sound processing that enables wearers to learn faster, remember more, and experience less listening effort. In this post we’re going to delve deeper into how our bone-anchored hearing system (BAHS) helps wearers, especially children, learn faster and why that is important to their development.
The study and its results summed up
To review, Professor Andrea Pittman studied 17 preteen children, 16 of whom have conductive hearing loss and one with single-sided deafness (SSD) The children wore two Ponto Power at a time: one optimally fitted on a softband and one on an abutment. The children had to learn six new words and Dr. Pittman counted the number of repetitions it took to do so. The children performed the learning task twice (with different words), where only one sound processor was activated at a time in a randomized, single-blind manner (i.e., the subjects didn’t know which sound processor was active).
While the kids required approximately 166 trials to learn the words when wearing their Pontos affixed by softbands, they only needed 60 trials when wearing the devices attached to abutments — a 2.5 times increase in learning speed.
Faster learning supports better education and social development
When it comes to education and social development, language acquisition plays a significant role. To learn how to speak, read, and write on pace with their hearing peers, hard-of-hearing children need the best available assistance to improve their hearing ability as early in their lives as possible.
Babies and toddlers initially acquire language by hearing their parents speak. Their linguistic comprehension increases exponentially as they grow and interact more with other adults and peers especially once they start school. During the critical school age years, kids who cannot hear clearly often struggle to increase their vocabulary because it is hard to process and understand spoken language.
Consider this: even children with perfect hearing have difficulty paying attention in school. They often are expected to absorb lessons while straining to hear over background chatter, sitting far away from the teacher, and poor classroom acoustics. Now imagine trying to learn despite all this and having a significant hearing loss. It’s no surprise hard-of-hearing children often return home from school feeling frustrated, exhausted, and overwhelmed.
Difficulty to learn at the same rate as others can also lead to youngsters falling behind or even in being held back a grade. For kids who may already feel isolated by their hearing loss, this further separation from same-age peers can significantly impede their social development.
With all this in mind, it’s no surprise that many of these children develop a negative attitude toward school. Many doubt their own learning capabilities and struggle to fit in socially. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Helping kids with hearing loss succeed
By utilizing a Ponto as early in life as possible, your child can experience the regular stimulation of incoming sound needed to help the brain as much as possible. When worn implanted on an abutment, this powerful BAHS may help keep children learning at a rate closer to that of their natural hearing peers.
Are you ready to try a Ponto for the first time or upgrade to our latest model? Click below to get in touch with an audiologist in your area who can help you choose the best option for you or your child’s hearing needs.
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Click the button if you want to learn more about our Ponto bone anchored hearing systems or arrange a trial.
Pittman, A. L. (2019) Bone conduction amplification in children: Stimulation via a percutaneous abutment vs. a transcutaneous softband. Ear Hear.
Lunner, T., Rudner, M., Rosenbom, T., Ågren, J., and Ng, E.H.N. (2016) Using Speech Recall in Hearing Aid Fitting and Outcome Evaluation Under Ecological Test Conditions. Ear Hear 37 Suppl 1: 145S-154S.
 Bianchi, F., Wendt, D., Wassard, C., Maas, P., Lunner, T., Rosenbom, T., and Holmberg, M. (2019) Benefit of higher maximum force output on listening effort in bone-anchored hearing system users: a pupillometry study. Ear Hear.
Committee on the Evaluation of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Disability Program for Children with Speech Disorders and Language Disorders; Board on the Health of Select Populations; Board on Children, Youth, and Families; Institute of Medicine; Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Rosenbaum S, Simon P, editors. Speech and Language Disorders in Children: Implications for the Social Security Administration’s Supplemental Security Income Program. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2016 Apr 6. 2, Childhood Speech and Language Disorders in the General U.S. Population. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK356270/
 Colquitt JL, Jones J, Harris P, et al. Bone-Anchored Hearing Aids (BAHAs) for People who are Bilaterally Deaf: A Systematic Review and Economic Evaluation. Southampton (UK): NIHR Journals Library; 2011 Jul. (Health Technology Assessment, No. 15.26.) 1, Aim and background. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK99649/
 Cooke, Gary, & Stammer, John. (1985). Grade retention and social promotion. CHILDHOOD EDUCATION, 61 (4), 302-308. EJ 315 804
On October 31, 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.
As many of you know and have experienced, Bone Anchored Hearing Systems (BAHS) are an important and life-changing tool to fight against hearing loss that cannot be duplicated by traditional hearing aids. More than 100,000 people are currently benefitting from a BAHS.