Tag Archives: Oticon Medical Ponto System

You Asked, We Answered

In this week’s post, we’ve collected some of the direct inquiries received from wearers and parents/caregivers to wearers over the past year. We hope some of our responses answer questions you might also have about Oticon Medical and our Ponto™ bone anchored hearing devices. However, if you have a question about our products and services, please feel free to post it in the Comments and we’ll be happy to get you the answers you need!

Questions on Ponto bone anchored hearing devices

Q: Hi! I have hearing loss on the left side, but my right is slowly catching up. I am in the process of getting a Ponto 4 for my left side but am wondering about the right side in the future. Would the Ponto 4 work as a bilateral hearing aid device (as in: could I have a Ponto implant on either side of my head?)

A: You can absolutely use Ponto 4 as a bilateral fitting — we have several wearers who wear one on either side.

Q: What is the life of a bone anchored hearing system?

A: The Ponto “lifespan” differs depending on several factors — the model, the care taken of it by the user, etc., so we can’t really provide a set answer. However, I think it’s safe to say that the average time a user keeps their Ponto is 3-5 years before they decide to upgrade to a newer model.

Q: My son got his new device yesterday. My family is so worried about the looks of the band and him getting bullied at school.

A: If you are concerned about bullying, we suggest you and your son meet with his primary teacher and arrange for him to explain what his device is to the class. We have had other parents give little presentations on their Pontos, and when the other kids learn how cool the technology is, they are more likely to be impressed and less likely to tease. We would even be happy to send you materials to give out if you’d like to make it a slightly more “official” session. Feel free to think it over and let us know.

Q: Does hair dye hurt the implant?

A: Hair dye will not hurt the implant. However, you might want to give the abutment a wipe just to remove any possible discoloration.

Q: What is the fitting range of a Ponto 4 for conductive mixed hearing loss?

A: The fitting range is up to and including an average of 45 decibels (dB) hearing loss.

Questions on Ponto accessories and compatibility

Q: Can the Ponto 4 connect to Roger™ devices — Roger Pen or Roger MyLink? If not, what DM systems are compatible? Thanks!

A: The Ponto 4 is now compatible with FM systems and Roger devices through use of the Oticon EduMic™, which is compatible with regular air-conduction Oticon hearing aids and Ponto 4. Alternately, the Ponto 4 also comes with a ConnectClip™ accessory that allows for direct audio streaming from the teacher’s mic into the student’s Ponto bone anchored device. You can read more about it through this link: https://www.oticonmedical.com/us/bone-conduction/solutions/accessories.

Q: How do I go about getting more batteries for my child’s Pontos?

A: You have a few choices for batteries. You might be able to find hearing aid batteries that fit from a local pharmacy or grocery store if you know the size you need, and they are in stock. You can also get them from the clinic or audiology professional from whom you got the Pontos, or you can order them from us directly by calling Customer Service at 1-888-277-8014 (M-F 8:00am – 7:00pm EST) or by email at info@oticonmedicalusa.com.

Questions on insurance coverage and upgrades

Q: My insurance denied my request for coverage and I’m appealing. Can you sell Ponto 4 to me directly?

A: We’re sorry you’re struggling with the insurance company. Yes, we can sell our devices to you directly. If you need any assistance with your appeal, please let us know and our Reimbursement Support Team can help you out with that as well. Please feel free to contact them at reimbursement@oticonmedical.com or call 1-855-400-9761.

Q: I have the Ponto Plus Power and would like to know how I can get an upgrade? Would Medicare cover it?

A: Oticon Medical is an accredited Durable Medical Equipment (DME) provider for Medicare. If you qualify for the proper Medicare coverage, Oticon Medical can bill Medicare directly on your behalf. Please contact one of our Reimbursement Support Specialists for further details regarding Medicare and Ponto processor replacements.

Ready to get your first Ponto device? Click here to find a clinic near you!

Have an older model processor? Click here to upgrade your Ponto!

Have You Heard of Oticon Medical Friends?

Spread the word!

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:

  • Daily Life
  • New Ponto Users
  • Active Living
  • Experienced Ponto Users
  • Tips and Tricks
  • Kids with Ponto
  • Music
  • Coming soon: Advocacy
  • US Insurance

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.

 

Learning Faster: Why It Matters

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[1], remember more[2], and experience less listening effort[3]. 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[4].

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[5] 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[6]. 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.

Find a clinic

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

[1] Pittman, A. L. (2019) Bone conduction amplification in children: Stimulation via a percutaneous abutment vs. a transcutaneous softband. Ear Hear.
[2] 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.
[3] 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.
[4] 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/
[5] 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/
[6] Cooke, Gary, & Stammer, John. (1985). Grade retention and social promotion. CHILDHOOD EDUCATION, 61 (4), 302-308. EJ 315 804

Voices Heard – Bone Anchored Hearing Systems Remain Covered by CMS

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.

Oticon Medical Advocates

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.

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Kris Siwek Picked the Ponto System for Bone Anchored Hearing, Here’s Why

Kris Siwek suddenly lost her hearing after being diagnosed with a tumor at age 29. Here’s how she decided on the Oticon Medical Ponto system, and the results after becoming a long-term user.

“It’s a part of me, and it’s an extension of me. I put it on in the morning and don’t think about it again until I take it off at night, ” Kris explains in the video below.

Want to learn more about Kris’s story? You can read more here and watch our Google+ Hangout On Air with Kris here. Have a question? Let us know in the comments section below.