We are excited to bring you a new series of blog posts in 2024. We call them “Part of the Family” because we are featuring families of young Ponto wearers and their experiences not only with Oticon Medical’s bone anchored hearing systems, but also as members of our Oticon Medical extended family of advocates.
Introducing the Bayan Family
The Bayan family includes mom Christine, dad DJ, sister Ava, and Ponto™ 5 SuperPower wearer Sean. Sean underwent a combination of ear reconstruction and our minimally invasive Ponto surgery (MIPS) about a year ago, with the goal of providing him with the best possible access to sound.* The Bayans take every opportunity to offer support to other families who might be considering a BAHS for their child by discussing Sean’s path to better hearing in testimonials and in their community. They have also enjoyed participating in Oticon Medical events where they get to spend time with other families sharing their stories and experiences in a supportive environment.
Open Up Your Child’s World
When your child has a hearing loss, early access to clear, high-quality sound can give them more opportunities to learn and grow—and to engage with all life has to offer. Learn more about our Ponto 5 family of hearing processors and all the ways in which they might benefit your child.
* Ponto surgery is contraindicated for patients under 5 years of age. Not all hearing loss patients are candidates for a bone anchored solution. Patient candidacy and aspects relating to implant
installation are based on individual patient assessment. Outcomes and healing times vary patient to patient. Please consult your hearing care professional. Testimonials represent the opinion of the concerned individuals only and may not be the experience of others.
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.
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 ]