Upgrading Your Bone Anchored Hearing System: Why and How

Like most technology, there’s a lot of conversation around the value of making the leap from one product to another—whether it’s moving to the most recently released product within the same brand, or making a larger change by switching from one manufacturer to another. Your hearing, and quality of life, is at stake.

That’s something we take extremely seriously. So, we wanted to give you a more intimate view into why to consider a bone anchored hearing system upgrade and how to go about getting a new bone anchored hearing system.

What’s an upgrade?

First things first, what is considered an upgrade? There are two different types of upgrades: An upgrade from one Ponto model to another—i.e. switching from the Ponto Pro to the Ponto Plus. And, the second, a change from one device provider to another.

An independent study tested the Ponto against similar bone anchored sound processors, and findings show that two out of three prefer the Ponto.

An independent study tested the Ponto against similar bone anchored sound processors, and findings show that two out of three prefer the Ponto.

While this is terminology that we use, we checked in with community members to see if this makes sense from a bone anchored hearing-user perspective too.

“I usually call both upgrades. And if it’s to a different brand, I say something like, ‘for this upgrade, I switched to…’” – Katie Maslar

“I went from the BP110 Power, to the Ponto Plus Power…that was an upgrade, lol! But, in all seriousness…my insurance calls it an upgrade.” – Nancy Smith Oberman

“If it’s from an older model (like a Divino or Ponto Pro) to a newer model Ponto Plus, it would be an upgrade. If it is from a BAHA 4 to a Ponto Plus, I would call it a switch (even though I think it’s also an upgrade).” – Sonja

While there are many reasons to upgrade, we break down three of the benefits we hear the most from Ponto users below.

Three Reasons to Do It Today

  1. The latest Oticon Medical technology offers a more profound solution.

Bone anchored hearing systems are not one size fits all. In many cases, especially for those with profound hearing loss, a lot can be gained by adding more power. That’s what Nancy Smith Oberman realized when she upgraded, or made the switch, to the Oticon Medical Ponto Plus.

“Oticon Medical had what I needed, others didn’t,” Nancy said. I got a BP110 Power in 2013, but I still couldn’t hear. I had constant feedback. I experienced a fog horn sound that drove me crazy. So, I took it back to my Audiologist and he sent it out for repair. I got it back and it did the exact same thing. I became friends with Angela Sabal on Facebook, and she was talking a lot about the Ponto and Oticon Medical. I was the first one my Audiologist fit with a Ponto just months later.”

  1. Sound quality leads to personal growth.

Because the latest technology provides more power than previous versions it’s a whole new experience when people try it for the first time—even to those who have had bone anchored hearing systems.

Sonja was first convinced by her 10-year-old son, Jack’s reaction and now by the growth she sees in him since upgrading from bilateral Ponto Pros to bilateral Ponto Pluses. “When he first put them on with the soft band he immediately said that they were louder, but over time he’s said it’s clearer too,” Sonja explained. “When we upgraded it was series of ‘wow, this is awesome!’”

Earlier this year, Jack also decided it was time to move from wearing his Pontos on a soft band to having abutments placed, which improved his hearing even more. “When he snapped his Ponto Pluses onto his abutments, his face lit up, it was almost like the first day he put them on. And I can tell he can hear so much better. Sometimes we still use a Ponto Pro with a Phonak Smartlink in karate class. The clarity of the Ponto Plus is so much better than the Ponto Pro. The karate class is really noisy. There’s a lot of yelling and a lot of people moving around and punching the bags. The Ponto Plus does an excellent job of filtering out all of that.”

The best part of Jack’s upgrade? Sonja has seen some incredible changes in Jack. “It was like he grew up overnight. I wouldn’t trade Jack’s growth for anything in the world.”

  1. Experience more wireless opportunities with the FM and The Oticon Medical Streamer.

Wireless opportunities with FM systems and The Oticon Medical Streamer are also a benefit of upgrading. FM systems are used in schools, theaters, churches, and other public places to stream audio directly to hearing devices like the Ponto. The Oticon Medical Streamer connects the sound processor to devices like computers, TVs, cell phones, or a remote microphone for one-on-one conversations in noisy environments.

One of the things best things that Jack, Sonja’s son, got from his upgrade was that he was able to use the FM with the Roger system, which his school district upgraded to this year.

“If you’re fighting to hear all day long, it’s exhausting. The struggle for him is definitely way less now. The combination of the Pluses and the FM system means that Jack is significantly less fatigued—his teacher took notice immediately. Other devices with a mini mic do not offer the same thing,” Sonja explained. “The Ponto Plus with the Roger system, it’s astounding how incredible the sound is. It’s amazing. It sounds crisp and clear. It has more color to the sound. Jack was having some issues in class sitting still and paying attention. Since he got his Pluses at the first of the year, it’s like he grew up in an instant.”

Nancy, who upgraded to the Ponto Plus at the beginning of this year, feels the same way about the Oticon Medical Streamer. “I’m not a crier, but when I put that thing on I almost started crying. I could hear. It was clear. There was no feedback, buzzing. Then, she turned on the Streamer, she hooked it up with my phone. I haven’t looked back since.”

The Upgrade Process

We know that the process of getting a new bone anchored hearing system can be complex. In addition to getting to know what device is best for you, there are usually questions about what insurance will cover. Here are a few simple steps to get you started, if you’re considering an upgrade.

    1. Seeing Hearing is Believing: Hear about what the upgrade can do for you. Talk to a Ponto user who’s experienced an upgrade. We’re more than happy to connect you with someone who has a similar type of hearing loss, so you can learn more through their first-hand experience.
    2. Talk to an Audiologist: We can connect you with an Oticon Medical Audiologist to make sure that you’re selecting a device that’s fit for your specific needs.
    3. Insurance: We can help you check with your insurance company to see if you qualify for upgrade coverage. Typically, bone anchored hearing system users qualify for an upgrade every 2 years.
    4. Make the Move: After you’ve heard about what you have to gain and understand your insurance coverage, it’s time to make the move. We can connect you with a local Audiologist.

Speak to an Expert About Upgrading

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