Category Archives: Product Information

Tips and Tricks for Maintaining Your Softband 5

If you or a loved one uses the Softband 5 with a Ponto™ device, here are some handy tips and tricks to make sure you get the most out of your softband experience!

1. Keep It Clean

  • Regularly inspect and clean the connector plate to keep it free of dust and particles. You can use a soft, dry cloth or lukewarm water with mild detergent for the Softband 5 connector plate.

  • Regularly inspect and clean the sound processor coupling as well. You can use a soft, dry cloth or a dry, soft-bristled toothbrush to keep the coupling free of dust and particles.

2. Minimize Handling

  • Keep the sound processor attached to the softband and only remove it when necessary, such as for battery changes.

3. Replace Worn Connector Pads

  • Check the connector pads regularly and replace them if they appear worn or damaged. The wearing time may vary depending on exercise, environment, and hair and skin characteristics. Make sure to remove the old connector pad completely before attaching a new one.

4. Check Fit and Functionality

  • Parents or caregivers should always verify that the softband is correctly attached and positioned, and that the sound processor is functioning properly before use. The softband should fit snugly around the head, allowing enough space to slip two fingers between the band and the head.

5. Monitor Elasticity

  • Replace the softband if it has lost its elasticity to ensure a secure and comfortable fit.

6. Properly Attach Your Processor

  • When attaching your processor to your Softband 5 connector plate, gently rock the processor back and forth to secure it onto the connector. Avoid pushing or pulling the processor straight on or off.

If you have any questions or need further assistance with your Softband 5, please don’t hesitate to contact your audiology professional or Oticon Medical Auditory Technical Support Services!

Bone Anchored Hearing Systems: When Hearing Aids Aren’t Enough

A Message for Veterans with Hearing Loss

Many veterans experience hearing loss due to physical trauma endured while on duty. Many of these losses may be treatable with traditional hearing aids. However, some forms of hearing loss—typically involving damage to the outer ear, ear canal, or other physical components—may not be. Yet many vets are unaware that they have options beyond regular hearing aids, such as bone anchored hearing systems (BAHS).

If you served your country, you may qualify to receive coverage from the government for a BAHS. Read on to learn more about this advanced treatment and whether it might be the solution you need.

Types of Hearing Loss Commonly Experienced by Veterans

More than 1.3 million US veterans receive disability compensation for hearing loss. Considering how frequently military personnel are exposed to extremely loud sounds for extended periods, including explosions, weapons fire, military air-and-seacrafts, and more, it is no surprise that so many experience noise-induced hearing damage, aka sensorineural hearing loss. This form of hearing loss is most often treated with traditional, air conduction hearing aids—the removable devices worn either in the ear or behind the ear.

However, hearing losses related to physical injuries typically require an alternative treatment that utilizes bone conduction to improve hearing ability. Known as conductive hearing losses, these may result from the loss of the pinna (outer ear), damage or loss of the ear canal, or similar injuries. Those with single-sided deafness—whether due to sensorineural or conductive hearing loss—may also experience better results from bone conduction.

Bone Anchored Hearing Systems Aid Certain Service-Related Hearing Losses

As mentioned above, bone anchored hearing treatment utilizes bone conduction to improve hearing ability. While regular hearing aids go in or on the ear to receive, amplify, and clarify sound, BAHS are worn on small, implanted posts called abutments near the ear. Bone conduction may be a viable option if your cochlea (inner ear) is still intact and functional.

A processor that receives sound is snapped onto the abutment a few weeks following implantation. This device transmits sound via unnoticeable vibrations through your skull bone, bypassing the damaged or missing portions of your ear, directly into the cochlea. The sound is then sent to your brain for normal processing as comprehensible speech, music, or other sounds.

Next Steps for Vets Interested in Bone Conduction

If you think your hearing loss might be treatable with a BAHS, your first step should be to contact your local Veterans Administration and schedule an appointment with an audiology professional. Depending on your past service, you might qualify for free or reduced-cost hearing healthcare, including diagnosis and treatment. You may also qualify for monthly disability compensation payments, tax-free. Please note that if you don’t live near a VA hearing clinic or the wait is extensive, you might be able to utilize VA Community Care to see a local hearing healthcare provider.

To find out which benefits you qualify for, please contact your local VA medical center representative.

Oticon Medical Ponto System for Veterans

Oticon Medical offers bone anchored hearing solutions that are used by wearers all over the world to help them overcome hearing loss at home, work, and in social situations. For more information on our minimally invasive Ponto™ surgery for implantation of an abutment and our most current technology, the Ponto 5 family of hearing processors, please visit our website.

Beyond Hearing: Making Connections

While 98 percent of wearers note an increased quality of life with their Ponto™ device alone1, there are many different accessories that can make your Ponto experience even better! In this article, we’ll discuss some amazing devices that can connect directly with your Ponto processor as well as some other assistive listening technologies to further improve your life.

Ponto 5 Family Accessories

Made for iPhone

The Ponto 5 Family is Made for iPhone®. This means that these processors can connect directly with iPhone devices to stream music, videos, phone calls and more. Once your Ponto is paired to your phone, there’s no need to do anything else—any sound from your phone will automatically stream to your Ponto device.

Here are a few more features you should know about:

  • The Triple Click: Depending on the model of iPhone, a triple-click on either the Home button, or the right-side power button (if your phone doesn’t have a Home button) can be used to access volume control, program changes, and live listen.
  • Live Listen: This is a feature accessible through the settings on your phone, or it can be accessed through a quick triple-click of the Home button or side power button (depending on iPhone model). It serves as a remote microphone; in other words, sound enters your phone, no matter where it is, and that sound is streamed to your processor. This can be useful in noisy environments. Simply pass the phone to the individual you’d like to speak to and have them speak into the microphone on your phone. Their voice will stream directly to your Ponto bypassing any noise in the environment.

Companion App

Get the most out of the Ponto 4 and Ponto 5 family with the easy-to-use Oticon Companion app. Compatible with your smartphone, tablet, or Apple Watch®, you can enjoy more control, support, and independence anywhere. While these processors are Made for iPhone, even Android™ users can access this app and pair their devices to access the following features:

  • Just slide or tap your screen to easily adjust your volume, change programs, connect to accessories, and more—conveniently and discreetly.
  • You get simple in-app tips, news, and notifications for support when you need it. Even find your Ponto devices with “Find my hearing aids,” if you misplace them.
  • You can use SpeechBooster to reduce background noise in complex listening environments, which helps you focus during conversations.
  • Access RemoteCare to get personal care at your convenience, including remote counseling appointments and adjustments from your hearing care professional. Speak to your hearing care provider to see if they offer remote care services.

Other Ponto Accessories

The accessories below are available through Oticon Medical and can be paired directly with your Ponto device. These accessories are compatible with Ponto 4 and 5 family processors:

  • ConnectClip: This small microphone is designed to send sound directly to your Ponto processor. It works to overcome distance and noise in places like restaurants, lecture halls, or even when hiking. This device can also be used to connect your Ponto with Android phones to allow for streaming phone calls, music, and more.
  • EduMic: Works as a remote microphone, but also does much more! With the EduMic, children gain access to FM systems in schools. The device also allows for telecoil use in places like theaters and museums. With the EduMic’s AC Jack mode, you can connect to just about any audio device and stream sound to your Ponto processor.
  • TV Adapter 3.0: Designed to connect your Ponto to your TV to help you hear without disturbing those around you. The sound from the TV will be sent directly into your processor and you can adjust the volume however you’d like. The TV will still work normally for your family to enjoy alongside you.
  • Remote Control: Want to keep things simple? The remote control allows you to change volume and program settings on your Ponto with just the touch of a button. No need to connect to your phone or the Companion app.

You can learn more about all our connectivity options, the Companion app, and how to pair your processor with your phone by downloading the “Getting Started with Ponto” trial guide here.

 Other Assistive Technologies

Beyond wirelessly connected devices like the options outlined above, there are a diverse array of technologies that are specifically designed to cater to the needs of individuals who are hard of hearing or Deaf. These include things like captioned phones that provide real-time visual transcriptions of spoken conversations. Some of these phones also have expanded volume ranges for hard of hearing individuals.

Vibrating alarm clocks allow users to wake up through vibrations rather than traditional auditory alarms. Similarly, vibrating or lighted baby monitors alert parents to a baby’s cries.

Expanding further into the realm of safety, specialized fire alarms go beyond conventional auditory alerts by incorporating bright, attention-grabbing lights. These visual cues serve as a crucial lifeline for individuals who may not be able to rely on auditory signals during emergencies, reinforcing the importance of inclusivity in safety technology.

Doorbell systems have also been developed using similar technologies to provide lighted cues rather than sound when the doorbell is rung.

Moreover, assistive technology has extended its reach into the entertainment domain, with closed captioning becoming a standard feature on many digital platforms. Smart TVs and streaming services now offer customizable subtitles, allowing individuals to enjoy a wide range of content without missing out on crucial dialogue or narrative elements.

In the workplace, hearing device-compatible phones, loop systems, and speech-to-text applications have become integral tools for fostering effective communication. These devices contribute to creating inclusive environments, where individuals with hearing challenges can participate fully in professional settings.

The continuous evolution of these assistive technologies reflects a commitment to breaking down barriers and creating a more accessible world for everyone.

Making the Connection

Ponto processors, along with a vast variety of connectivity options, allow users to connect to their environment and the people around them. Speak to your hearing care provider to find out if Ponto or any of the aforementioned assistive technologies are right for you!

 

  1. Lagerkvist H, Carvalho K, Holmberg M, Petersson U, Cremers C, Hultcrantz M. Ten years of experience with the Ponto bone-anchored hearing system—A systematic literature review. Clin Otolaryngol. 2020; 45: 667–680. https://doi.org/10.1111/coa.13556

 

Traveling with Your Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System

Since we are in the midst of the busiest travel season of the year again, it seems like a good time to reshare this blog post. Even when not traveling, you might want to download the MRI Safety Security card just to have on hand, in case you ever find yourself in need of an MRI scan.

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As the holiday season begins, so does the opportunity for travel. If you are traveling this season, here are a few things to consider if you have a Ponto™ bone anchored hearing system (BAHS).

Airport and TSA security

It is important to advise the TSA agent prior to going through the security or x-ray process that you have an implantable device. At this time, you may consider handing or showing them your MRI Safety Security card. If you don’t have a card or can’t find it, you can download the MRI Safety Card from our website. Cards are available there in different languages, along with other helpful informational materials. We recommend printing or saving the card to your phone prior to travel.

As you prepare for your trip, another great resource to check out is Oticon Medical’s Tips and Tricks section of the website.  In this section you will find information and advice on everyday activities with your Ponto system.

Additional Ponto device and abutment safety considerations

The abutment is made from titanium and safe to go through the metal detector or x-ray machine. Since titanium is weakly magnetic, the security system’s alarm will most likely not go off. However, it is still a good idea and important to let the TSA agent know ahead of time about your Ponto and implant in the event that additional screening is necessary after your initial pass through the x-ray process.

As for your Ponto processor, since it does contain a magnet, this may set off an alarm. We always recommend that when exposed to medical-strength x-ray you remove your processor to prevent damage. However, TSA screenings have low dose x-ray exposure and are safe to move through. So, if you forget to take it off there is no harm, but you may set off the alarm as the Ponto processor contains metal.

If you choose to take off your Ponto processor, simply put it in a case with the battery door open and in a TSA container for the belt screening, as you do your other carry-on items. This is safe for the processor and will not cause damage.

Items to bring on a trip with your Ponto processor

When traveling with your Ponto, you want to make sure you have packed all your equipment and extra supplies. It is a good idea to bring extra batteries, your wireless accessories, and the appropriate cables for charging them. Consider charging your accessories the night or day before you leave to ensure you can use them while traveling.

It is also important to pack your Ponto Care Kit for cleaning the abutment. Daily care of the abutment site will help guarantee you can use your Ponto BAHS throughout your travels. Abutment cleaning is especially important if you are swimming. Remember, your Ponto processor is not waterproof! If you need a new dry aid kit or Ponto Care Kit, don’t worry; simply register with  Oticon Medical Friends to order from the Online Store and have supplies sent directly to your home.

You can also have Ponto-related information at your fingertips by downloading the Oticon Medical Ponto Care™ App to your smartphone, so you can travel with ease and peace of mind. Remember to also store your audiologist’s or clinic’s office information in your phone or have it written in your care kit in case you have questions. You can also contact Oticon Medical Auditory Technical Services for any questions regarding your Ponto sound processor.  We are available Monday – Friday, 8 AM to 8 PM Eastern Time.

Finally, if you are traveling somewhere very warm or cold, you should remember not to leave your Ponto sound processor, wireless accessories, or batteries out in extreme weather elements. For example, if you leave your Ponto sound processor on the car dashboard in extreme heat, it could damage the device. Also, if the batteries are left in extremely cold temperatures, they might freeze and have a shorter lifespan.

Oticon Medical wishes you and your loved ones a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season!

Here’s a quick checklist of the items we discussed. Enjoy your travels, wherever they may take you!

  • MRI safety/security card
  • Extra batteries
  • Carrying case
  • Wireless accessories
  • Charging cables for accessories
  • Ponto Care Kit
  • Your audiologist’s office contact information
  • Oticon Medical Contact Information: 888-277-8014 or [email protected]
  • Download our Oticon Medical Ponto Care App

Helpful site to review prior to travel:

Disabilities and Medical Conditions | Transportation Security Administration (tsa.gov)

(Choose External Medical Devices and/or the Implants/internal medical devices for more advice.)

About the author

Nicole Maxam, AuD, CCC-A serves as an Auditory Technical Specialist at Oticon Medical. She has been an audiologist for over 16 years with experience in implantable technologies.

Pastor Ross Feels Like Himself Again With Ponto 5 SuperPower

Ross Wiseman, pastor and avid hiker, struggled to engage with his congregation and enjoy his leisure time after losing his hearing in one ear suddenly. Treating his hearing loss with a Ponto™ bone anchored hearing system was a life-changing experience. Recently, Ross upgraded to the Ponto 5 SuperPower, and in this new testimonial video, shares how much he loves this next-gen technology.

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The hair cells of my auditory nerves died over a weekend. Friday night, I felt like my ear was stuffed up. Didn’t feel sick at all. Saturday morning I was fine. Was coaching soccer later that day and it happened again. By evening I was fine. Sunday morning, I preached, went home, and took a nap. When I woke up, I couldn’t hear anymore. I thought maybe I was getting a cold or had an ear infection. I called the ENT. When that visit ended, he told me that I was permanently deaf in my left ear. They scheduled a CAT scan to see if I had a tumor. I did not; it was single-sided deafness (SSD) with no explanation.

For over 10 years I lived unaided and was miserable. I couldn’t hear my wife on dates when we would eat out, or when we hiked. She hikes in front of me and when she would speak it was useless to try and communicate. I struggled to enjoy watching tv with my kids or hear at events like ball games. Teaching would make me sick to my stomach as I had to turn my head back and forth to try and hear everyone at the table or in the room). I would often sit with others and just smile because I was lost by the conversations that were going around me. I never could tell what anyone was saying, so it created a disconnect.

When I got my first Ponto, we had our church’s tenth anniversary party. I had so many people come to me who had been with me before I went deaf and say it felt good to have their pastor back. I was out in the open talking to everyone rather than in a corner with one person talking. I was also smiling a lot because I was engaged. I didn’t realize that, during those noisy events, I used to zone out and my face showed it. My Ponto changed everything!

If your audiologist doesn’t use Oticon Medical devices, demand that they reach out to Oticon Medical or find an audiologist who will. I was my doctor’s first Ponto user and implant surgery. Oticon Medical was amazing in sending them a product representative, and when it was time, a surgical rep to explain minimally invasive Ponto surgery (MIPS). Now the majority of their patients who need a bone anchored option go with a Ponto.

 

Isla Feels More Confident Than Ever with New Ponto 5 SuperPowers

Katelyn Harkins tells us how getting fit bilaterally with Ponto 5™ SuperPower processors have helped her eight-year-old daughter Isla blossom socially.

Isla was born with bilateral microtia/atresia. She was adopted from China at 20 months old and had no access to sound prior to coming home. She received Ponto bone anchored hearing processors on a softband as loaners from Oticon Medical the month she turned two and loved them immediately. She even insisted on wearing them to nap!

We are privileged enough to have access to excellent hearing solutions from Oticon Medical, which give Isla a near normal audiogram. We are also lucky to have a school for the Deaf nearby, which gives Isla access to education provided in both spoken English and American Sign Language (ASL).

We were very excited to hear OM was coming out with a Ponto 5 SuperPower! Isla’s hearing loss is severe enough that the extra headroom of the SuperPower allows for access to as much sound as possible, and equally little feedback. Isla was thrilled that the upgrade gave her onboard controls for volume and mute.

Isla’s upgrade included getting bilaterally implanted*. In researching implantation, I understood minimally invasive Ponto surgery (MIPS) was minimally invasive compared to the old “long cut” or “pocket” methods: one hole punched in the skin, one hole drilled and filled with a tiny screw. I brought my research to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) ENT and Isla was his first MIPS surgery. He expressed that he loved the process and was very impressed with the how easily it went. In this video, (Isla was still waiting six months to “snap on” her processors because her skull bones are thin).

The Ponto 5 SPs are amazing!  My daughter has loved her devices from the beginning, and we always made them fun by having a bunch of different colored softbands to choose from each morning. She has absolutely blossomed in public and more crowded situations with the upgrade to P5 SPs. She’s more willing to get out there and play or join a group of kids she doesn’t know. Absolutely worth it!

* Ponto surgery is contraindicated for patients under 5 years of age. The subject here is shown wearing two ponto 5 superpowers on a softband but has undergone the surgery stated by the parent. Outcomes and healing times wary patient to patient. Please consult your caregiver.

What New Users Have to Say about Ponto 5 SuperPower

During the month of July, we have been traveling around to film a series of new user stories with wearers of the Ponto 5 SuperPower. Our subjects have provided us with wonderful insights into their experiences so far, and we are excited to share a preview of their opinions in this blog post.

On choosing to get the Ponto 5 SuperPower

“I’ve heard about many people with Ponto 5 SuperPower devices and wanted to try them. I heard that it was terrific regarding the sound quality, power, and no feedback.” – Camilla G.

“Coming from the 3SP and then to the four, I was always looking for a little more sound from the P4. The P5SP now has all that and then some!” – Jay W.

“Sounded very similar to P5 Mini because of the programming that fits me comfortably and it’s already excellent as the P5 Mini.” – Sarah S.*

“We were very excited to hear OM was coming out with a Ponto 5 SuperPower! (My daughter’s) hearing loss is severe enough that the extra headroom of the SuperPower allows for access to as much sound as possible, and, equally, as little feedback. – Katelyn H.

“I have been using the Ponto 5 Superpower since it became available, and it is so great!” – Anonymous user

First impressions of the Ponto 5 SP

“At my office, I made some hot coffee; I noticed that buzzing noise in my right ear Ponto and realized that it was the steam from my coffee. Maybe my office was very quiet that day or I didn’t know hot coffee had a sound.” – Camilla G.

“A very vibrant and robust sound quality.” – Jay W.

“I like the SuperPower for its longer battery life, especially when streaming wirelessly.” – Sarah S.

“The first thing I noticed when (my daughter) put on the P5SPs was that she was more aware of background noises and high frequency sounds, like birds, bugs, water, the pool filter, and background noise like other people’s conversations going on around her.” – Katelyn H.

“Hearing this naturally makes a really big difference day to day and there is a depth to the sound that I have not experienced with any previous bone conduction device (I have used).” – Anonymous user

Improvements noticed wearing the Ponto 5 SuperPower

“I can communicate in a social situation, such as a restaurant, a meeting, and various appointments. Before, I struggled with understanding what people were saying in social situations. Now I can engage more without listening fatigue.” – Camilla G.

“I can be in the living room watching tv and hear subtle noises from the laundry room which is around three corners and down the hall. That wasn’t possible with my older devices.” – Jay W.

“Wearing my Ponto 5 SuperPower allows me to hear the surrounding environment through OpenSound Navigator™ (full 360-degree soundscape).” – Sarah S.

“At school, (my daughter) is more confident in group settings. She’s better focused in class and isn’t constantly interrupting or distracted, trying to keep track of what’s being said behind her.” – Katelyn S.

“The amazing streaming volume, which to me sounds louder and not distorted, and I would say that this is certainly a step forward compared to any of my previous devices.” – Anonymous user

Five things wearers love about Ponto 5 SuperPower

“Music, music, music… I think I made that clear!” – Camilla G.

“I find that in some situations it actually is almost too loud. I find myself turning it down instead of wishing it had more power, which is awesome.” – Jay W.

“I like that I have the choice to control the volume either through my phone or onboard features.” – Sarah S.

“(My daughter) loves hearing the birds and crickets. She found a baby bird nest the other day by listening to their cries and going to see what it was.” – Katelyn H.

“I now have the power and processing that makes sounds feel incredibly natural. I can tell that there is a calmness and relaxation in my body and mind when I am wearing the Ponto 5 Superpower.” – Anonymous user

Ready to try out or upgrade? Learn everything you need to know about Ponto 5 SuperPower!

*Disclosure: Sarah S. is a summer intern with Oticon Medical as well as a Ponto wearer.

Humidity Issues and How to Combat Them

As the summer months arrive, so does the hot, humid weather. You may want to consider how this can affect the function of your Ponto™ processor.

Your processor is vulnerable to environmental changes like increased humidity in the air or condensation caused by moving between air-conditioned interiors and extreme heat outside.  While the Ponto 5 family of processors have an IP rating of 57 when the battery is in the processor, it is still important to consider ways to minimize exposure or combat the effects of moisture.

Warning signs of moisture issues include the following:

  • Your processor’s sounds are distorted or staticky
  • Your processor works intermittently or cuts in and out
  • You see corrosion in the battery compartment or around the battery
  • You feel that your batteries are not lasting as long as they normally do

 Can you help prevent moisture issues?

You can start by developing good processor cleaning and care habits. If the processor comes into contact with sweat, rain, or moisture, wipe it with a clean, dry cloth. The Ponto Care™ app, available for iPhone® and Android™ users, provides helpful information on the proper care and maintenance of your device. For example, avoid storing your processor in the bathroom where it could be affected by humidity from showers or baths.

How can I help reduce moisture that may be in my Ponto?

Drying systems are an easy and effective way to reduce moisture that may accumulate in your processor due to normal usage, rain, or living in areas with high humidity.

There are two main types of systems. The first is considered passive; this uses desiccant, much like the packs that you find in vitamin bottles. These are typically called, “jar dryers” and contain the desiccant beads that can be “recharged” by putting them in the oven or microwave. You simply put the processor in the jar without a battery and close the lid. Jar dryers are great for travel, camping or when you do not want to use electricity.

The second type is an active dehumidifier. This type also has a desiccant pack or puck but adds in a fan to circulate air. These “box dryer” systems can also have a UV-C light that acts as a germicide. Box dryers more aggressively reduce moisture from your Ponto processor. Again, you can put your processor in the dryer without a battery and turn the dryer on. The box dryer will typically run through a cycle that lasts between 6-8 hours. You can feel comfortable using these types of drying systems every night and as your storage case overnight.

Use your bone anchored hearing system all summer long

Wherever your adventures take you this summer, make sure your Ponto processor keeps up with you by following some simple care and maintenance steps. With a little care and common sense, you can continue enjoying the sounds you love regardless of the season.

About the author

Nicole Maxam, AuD CCC-A is part of the Auditory Technical Services team at Oticon Medical. She has been an audiologist for over 17 years and has experience with providing patients with hearing aids and implantable solutions.

3 Big Things OpenSound Navigator Does for You

Oticon Medical’s Ponto™ 5 family of bone anchored hearing systems (BAHS) includes OpenSound Navigator™, which handles multiple, dynamic speech and noise sources for you to instantly capture and easily follow the listening environment. This groundbreaking technology and ultra-fast processing analyzes sounds, balances surrounding sounds and removes excessive background noise in a split second. But what does that mean for you, the Ponto wearer? Here are three important ways in which OpenSound Navigator helps you focus on what’s important.

1.      Keeps you connected to your sound environment

Conventional sound processors aim to improve speech understanding by removing sound, such as by using directionality to just focus on the speakers in front of you. While this may improve speech understanding, it can also leave you feeling cut off. Ponto 5 Mini and SuperPower devices take a different approach. The pioneering OpenSound Navigator technology lets you hear sounds from all around you and stay connected with your sound environment.  This makes it easy to follow what’s going on. Ponto 5 uses OpenSound Navigator technology to open up the full soundscape, so you can hear sounds from all directions. New research confirms that this open soundscape gives the brain what it needs to create a better listening experience.

OpenSound Navigator balances surrounding sounds, so the background sounds are available, but not disturbing. In this way, no sounds are eliminated but individual sound sources are rebalanced to support the user in separating sounds, making it easier for you to switch attention when needed.

2.      Provides access to all sounds, which is important for your brain

Good hearing helps your brain to stay fit throughout your life—and helps avoid many other health problems. 1,2,3 In short, hearing health contributes to brain health. That is why we continue to develop BrainHearing™ technology for our Ponto devices. Traditional sound processors improve speech intelligibility by removing sound – using technologies, such as directionality and speech prioritization. Moreover, with traditional sound processors, whenever there is a risk of feedback, gain is reduced. New research now shows that the brain needs access to all sounds from the full soundscape to help it make sense of what it hears.4,5

Hear the difference

With the BrainHearing technologies in Ponto 5 processors, such as OpenSound Navigator and OpenSound Optimizer™, users have access to more sound than ever before. This has resulted in outstanding results in improving speech understanding and reducing listening effort.

Better speech understanding

The unique open sound experience of OpenSound Navigator in Ponto 5 gives users access to 360° sound from all around them, which has been shown to improve speech understanding by more than 20%.*6

Less listening effort

The open sound experience also significantly reduces the listening effort needed to make sense of sound. Pupillometry tests carried out on the OpenSound Navigator showed overall pupil dilation was reduced by 36%.*6

How can you measure listening effort? Pupillometry tests measure the listener’s pupil size as an
indicator of brain activity. In listening tests, pupil dilation reflects the effort needed to understand: the bigger the pupil, the greater the effort. 6

*Increased speech understanding with OpenSound Navigator ON measured as a percentage relative to the baseline with OpenSound Navigator OFF.

1.      Recognizes the difference between “Noise” and “Sound”

Kevin Hotaling is a Ponto user* and had this to share regarding his real-life experience with OpenSound Navigator:

“When I first wore a Ponto device with OpenSound Navigator after having used an older model for years, it was a truly awakening experience. After events in public venues and family gatherings where lots of sound was present, I noticed the system I was wearing put in a type of effort that I didn’t believe possible at the time. My device seemed to actively recognize the difference between “Noise” and “Sound.” It also seemed to be prioritizing and amplifying sounds that were important, such as a person’s voice with whom I was speaking, and dampening noises that were not as important, like the movement of dishes in a restaurant or background chatter. After a while, I also noticed I was paying far less attention to the fact that I was wearing a bone-anchored hearing system—and that’s a good thing! I was spending far less energy on trying to hear. The best type of hearing is the type you don’t have to think about, and I finally have that with OpenSound Navigator!”

Connect with other Ponto users

Hearing what others have to say about their experience and getting advice from those who have been in your shoes is invaluable! One easy way to get started is inside the Ponto Care™ app under Information. There are video and written testimonials by Ponto users that you can easily access to check out what others have to say about their Ponto experience. We can also connect you with an Oticon Medical Ponto Advocate. Simply contact Oticon Medical online  or call 888-277-8014.

Another way to connect is by following our Oticon Medical Facebook Page. Here you can chat with Ponto users, as well as read interesting posts and short articles.

Try the open sound experience for yourself. Ask for a trial of Ponto 5 Mini or Ponto 5 SuperPower and congratulations from our team on beginning your journey toward better hearing health!

About the Author

Gail Leininger, Au.D., CCC-A is an audiologist who has worked with implantable technologies for over twenty years. She is an Auditory Technical Specialist for Oticon Medical.

* Financial Disclosure

Kevin Hotaling is an employee of Oticon Medical. He is a Ponto user of seven years, and has been a consumer advocate, speaker, and ambassador with Oticon Medical for just as long.

 References

1 Amieva, H., et al. (2018). Death, depression, disability, and dementia associated with self-reported hearing problems: a 25-year study. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, 73(10), 1383-1389

2 Lin, F. R., et al. (2011). Hearing loss and incident dementia. Archives of Neurology, 68(2), 214-220

3 Lin, F. R., et al. (2012). Hearing loss and falls among older adults in the United States. Archives of internal medicine, 172(4), 369-371

4 O'Sullivan, et al. (2019). Hierarchical Encoding of Attended Auditory Objects in Multi-talker Speech Perception. Neuron, 104(6), 1195-1209

5 Puvvada, K. C. et al. (2017). Cortical representations of speech in a multi-talker auditory scene. Journal of Neuroscience, 37(38), 9189-9196

6 Manuscript in preparation, Data on File - Clinical study BC102

Bianchi, F, Weile, J N et al. (2020). OpenSound Navigator™ for Ponto, Oticon Medical white paper 215170.

[Oticon Medical us website link https://www.oticonmedical.com/us/the-new/open-sound-navigator ]

Ask the Expert Series

Audiologist Laura Rhee’s Insights on Fitting Children with Ponto Systems

We had the wonderful pleasure of talking with lead pediatric audiologist, Dr. Laura Rhee from Providence Speech and Hearing Center and CHOC of California, about her experience fitting Oticon Medical Ponto Systems.

Why do you choose to work with Oticon Medical’s Ponto family of bone conduction devices?

Dr. Rhee: “I recommend Oticon Medical bone conduction devices over other manufacturers because your devices tend to have far less feedback issues. I make very few adjustments during the fitting due to the lack of feedback. This gives my patients more access to sound without the annoyance of feedback or reduction in speech understanding.”

What do you like about the Oticon Medical Ponto fittings?

Dr. Rhee: “I really like how easy the Ponto devices are to fit. Typically, I don’t have to make many adjustments to programming. At my clinic, we pre-program sound processors to make fittings go smoothly. We counsel families about daily use, how to clean and handle the sound processor and accessories during a demonstration or consultation appointment. Pre-programming the sound processors frees up time for us to spend counseling the families, improving our clinical efficiency, and providing valuable information to the family without being rushed.”

What are some challenges you or your patients face with Oticon Medical Ponto fittings?

Dr. Rhee: “The hardest part of a new fitting is the softband. It’s important to have it (the softband) tight enough to get a good fitting but this can become uncomfortable or may need to be adjusted throughout the day. Very young children will often grab and pull the band off throughout the day requiring parents or caregivers to replace and reposition often I tell parents it’s important to maintain a consistent wearing schedule each day because it will help children adapt to the softband and provide consistent access to sound, which is crucial for developing language”.

What advice do you give parents that are just starting this journey with their child?

Dr. Rhee: “Use the processor all waking hours to stimulate auditory connections within the brain. If you don’t use the auditory nerve or pathway, your brain will reuse those neural connections for other senses. Keep your brain working using the processor consistently to help reduce listening fatigue and foster speech development.”

Final thoughts on reducing feedback in bone conduction hearing devices

One of the key takeaways from our discussion was the importance of reducing feedback (aka ‘whistling’ or ‘whining’ noise) that occurs when amplified sound is reflected from the head, reaches the microphone, and is re-amplified. If feedback is not eliminated by an anti-feedback system, it becomes audible to the user and others around them. With Oticon Medical’s OpenSound Optimizer™ (OSO), you aren’t compromising gain or volume due to feedback. This is especially important when working with pediatric patients, who are often in a car seat, highchair, or lying on their backs during playtime. And Oticon Medical’s OpenSound Optimizer does just that—prevents feedback and provides stable gain so that users can get the most out of their devices without compromising speech understanding.[1]

Helpful links for parents of Ponto wearers

Here are some links that may be helpful for parents who are in the process of getting their child an Oticon Medical bone anchored hearing system (BAHS) or families of children that are new to wearing a Ponto BAHS processor.

About our expert: Dr. Laura Rhee

Dr. Rhee obtained her audiology degree from San Diego State University and University of California San Diego and has been at Providence since 2014. She works with a wide variety of pediatric patients (zero to 21), including children with craniofacial disorders. She has treated children with atresia, Treacher Collins and other syndromes related to hearing loss.

[1] BC109 Study (Data on file)