Tag Archives: bone anchored hearing aid

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.

What You Need to Know About Zinc-Air Batteries

Zinc-air batteries, like the ones we use in our Oticon Medical Ponto™ bone anchored hearing system, are effective and powerful, but only when used correctly. Many wearers don’t know all the in-and-outs of maximizing their battery life leading to frustratingly short spans between replacing batteries and other issues. For instance, did you know:

  • Zinc-air batteries require air exposure to function (hence the “air” in the name)
  • As soon as you remove the tab over the airholes, the battery activates. So if you pull off the tab and leave it lying around for hours, days, or longer, the battery will run out of charge before you even put it into your device
  • After you remove the tab, you should wait five minutes before inserting into your device so it fully activates and provides all the voltage of which it is capable for as long as possible
  • Sealed zinc-air batteries typically last approximately two years if stored correctly. This means keeping them at an optimal room temperature of no higher than 77º degrees F and no lower than 50º degrees F, in a dry environment. Note that storing them in the refrigerator will not extend their life—in fact, it will very likely damage them beyond usability
  • You should not carry your batteries around loose, as clanging against other metallic objects can damage them (e.g., coins, car keys, etc.)

If you find yourself in need of more batteries, you can order them directly from us! Please contact our Customer Service Team at 888.277.8014 (Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm ET) or send an email request to [email protected] anytime. Make sure you include your Ponto model (Ponto 4, Ponto 5 Mini, Ponto 5 SP) in your email so we send you the correct battery size for your device.

Members of Oticon Medical Friends can also order online via the Online Shop. Click here to register: Register to Use Online Shop

Initial Thoughts on Ponto 5 SuperPower: Great Power and Processing

We recently spoke to a long-time Ponto™ wearer with single-sided deafness (SSD) who tried out our new Ponto 5 SuperPower. They kindly gave us permission to share their reaction, because they want to encourage others with similar hearing conditions to treat their hearing loss effectively.

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Hey there! I have had single-sided deafness for more than 20 years. I’ve struggled to hear voices on my “deaf” side and either had to ask for repetition or ask the person to move to my “good” side. Also, hearing in noisy environments is very difficult and drains me of my energy. It was a big decision to get implanted with a bone anchored hearing system (BAHS) and I inevitably waited longer than I should have to get the surgery. Overall, it was a simple procedure.

I have been wearing Ponto since the second-generation Ponto Plus was available. I have tried other products with mixed results due to poor sound quality and reliability. Next, I transitioned to a Ponto 3 SuperPower, and was really impressed with the improvement in sound quality with a more powerful device.

When Ponto 4 came out, new sound processing and Bluetooth® technologies were available with direct streaming to the device. While Ponto 4 was not a power device, these improvements were enough for me to upgrade and the sound quality from the Oticon OpenSound Navigator™ seemed to make up for the lack of overall power. There were some issues however, as the sound felt slightly flat and the streaming was a little too soft, especially when there was any sort of background noise.

I have been using the Ponto 5 Superpower since it became available, and it is so great! 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. 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.

Combine this with 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. I would encourage anyone wearing a BAHS to try the Ponto 5 Superpower and experience these things for themselves. It was well worth my time and effort to go through this process.

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Are you ready to upgrade to the Ponto 5 SuperPower? You can try it out before you decide! Please visit the Upgrade Your Ponto page on our website for details.

Enjoying Life with the New Ponto 5 Mini

Sandi Arcus is a Dispensing Audiologist in Nevada. Born with single-sided deafness (SSD), she has always had a passion for helping others who are hard of hearing. She started her career in Pennsylvania as an audiologist in a busy ENT office, then in private practice. She currently works at an audiology clinic in Henderson, NV. Sandi holds a Master of Science degree in Audiology from Bloomsburg University, is a Fellow with the American Academy of Audiology, and holds a Certificate of Clinical Competency from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.

As both an expert in hearing health and someone with first-hand experience in hearing loss, Sandi kindly offered to share her opinion about her new PontoTM 5 Mini bone anchored hearing system (BAHS) from Oticon Medical.

Sandi Arcus Tests Out Ponto 5 Mini

I decided to upgrade from my previous Ponto processor, because I’m always curious about new technology and fascinated by small instruments making big improvements in sound quality. I’ve been particularly impressed by the following Ponto 5 Mini features:

  • With the OpenSound Navigator™, I can hear speech better in a noisy restaurant, car, and wind. There is a noted improvement from the previous model.
  • I never had too much of a feedback issue, but now with the OpenSound Optimizer™, it’s even less. Now that I think about it, I haven’t heard any feedback!
  • The RemoteCare option is a great tool for follow-up care. Very convenient.

While the previous model already did a great job of making it easier to hear and understand speech in noisy environments,  I’ve noted that with Ponto 5 Mini, it takes less effort to hear speech in difficult listening situations, which means less frustration.

The Ponto 5 Mini definitely supports my busy life!!  It’s small yet powerful!!! I don’t feel like I’m missing anything, and people around me notice that as well. It makes me feel that I am doing the very best that I can do to hear the very best that I can hear! I feel more confident going into difficult listening situations.  I’m less concerned and anxious that I will miss something.

If someone is considering whether to get their first Ponto 5 Mini or upgrading from their current BAHS, I want to tell you that you don’t know what you are missing until you try it. It’s the little sounds that I thought I was hearing “well enough”—it became more apparent that I had not been hearing them “well enough” after all. It enhances the sounds around me enough to sound closer to “normal” and greatly reduces my listening effort. Give Ponto 5 Mini a try!

What’s the Ponto 3? This Video Explains

The Ponto 3 is the world’s most powerful family of abutment-level sound processors. Powered by the advanced sound processing Inium Sense chip and supported by Direct Sound Transmission, the Ponto 3 makes listening in different situations easier.

Sound is sent straight to the bone, and on to the inner ear and the brain, without it having to travel through the skin which dampens sound.

But that’s not all. The Ponto 3 is also as discreet and reliable as it is powerful.

Watch this short video for a more detailed look at the Ponto 3.

If you’re interested in taking the next step in your hearing care journey to get the best sound quality possible, sign up to learn more about the Ponto 3.

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Adam Shares His Journey with Hearing Loss and the Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System (BAHS)

We are so lucky to be able to share Erin Wiggle’s heartfelt story about her husband, Adam. Adam serves in the Navy and has an Oticon Medical Bone Anchored Hearing System (BAHS), the Ponto.

Erin shares  Adam’s account of his ordeal of chronic ear infections and multiple surgeries throughout the years that finally led to permanent hearing loss of his right ear. In her post, she leads us through Adam’s journey to getting his Ponto. Adam adjusts his life well with his Ponto. However, he reveals that one of his adjustments is dealing with the insensitivity of strangers. Adam said, “The constant questioning from strangers has left me a little bitter.”

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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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Resources for Parents and Teachers of Children with Hearing Loss

While hearing systems like the Ponto can help children with hearing loss have a better experience in school, there are additional steps to ensure they’re getting everything they need and that everyone is informed and on the same page. That’s why we’ve put together a “living” folder of resources for parents and teachers to make school as enjoyable and effective as possible.

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Get Two Packs of Free Batteries For Your Bone Anchored Hearing System

Ponto_Plus_sit_26Are you interested in getting your hands (and ears) on two packs of free batteries for your bone anchored hearing device?

We thought you might be!

We want to hear from you! There’s no better way to create great products than to get real feedback from the people who know your products best. So, for a few minutes of your time, we’ll give you two packs of free batteries for your device.

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Lifting up Luca with the Ponto Plus Power

We all want our hopes and dreams to come to fruition, but what happens when they come to fruition before you’re ready? For Anne and Robert Brooks, their hope and dream was to give birth to a baby boy. This aspiration did come true, but too soon—their son, Luca, was born prematurely at 34 weeks.

As a result of the early delivery, Luca was born with, as well as diagnosed post-birth with Branchio-oto-renal syndrome. Anne and Robert with met with an Audiologist and ENT to learn more about Luca’s condition and potential solutions. After learning about all of the hearing solution options, they set out on a long and tiresome quest over the course of a year that consisted of carefully written emails, letters, and marathon phone calls with their insurance provider. Ultimately, this proved to be a fruitless effort, as they were denied coverage.

During this time, they came across Ear Community and learned met many other families who shared their stories and advice.

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