Tag Archives: support

YuXi Receives The Gift of Hearing for the New Year

YuXi Sun Todd is a seven-year-old girl who was born in Beijing, China, and is now a citizen living in the United States. YuXi was born with bilateral Microtia and Atresia and lived in an orphanage in China since she was three months old.

In May of 2015, YuXi was adopted by Lynn and Barbara Todd. Lynn and Barbara were on an adoption list for nearly 10 years before finally receiving the call about YuXi. By the time that call came, they were retired and didn’t have the income they had when they originally set out to adopt. So, they took out a loan and used savings and retirement to make it happen.

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Oticon Medical Outstanding Advocacy Moments Captured

We’ve seen just about everything come out of the amazing Oticon Medical and healthy hearing community. From Anthony Smith becoming Marvel’s Blue Ear superhero to YouTube videos with hundreds of thousands of views. There’s no doubt, this community is filled with champions.

Here, we’re collecting a living list of outstanding advocacy moments when the love for Ponto was taken to a whole new level!

Kristi Gardner's Sound Matters TattooKristi Gardner’s “Sound Matters” Tattoo

Kristi Gardner shows the world that sound matters with her brand new Ponto-inspired tattoo. “Sound Matters” is Oticon Medical’s tagline, and it’s truly why we do what we do every day.

“As I was waiting for my turn I HEARD an ice cream truck through the walls over the tattoo gun, so last minute change of plans. This is what it inspired. Thanks all to my Pontos!”

Kristi isn’t the only one in her family who loves her Pontos, her daughter Sarah also wears a Ponto Plus.

Also Read: Ponto Plus Users Share How They Use the Oticon Medical Streamer featuring Kristi’s daughter Sarah.

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Bone Anchored Hearing System Medicaid Insurance Support for Clinicians & Patients

The Health Insurance Association of America describes Medicaid as a “government insurance program for persons of all ages whose income and resources are insufficient to pay for health care.” (America’s Health Insurance Plans (HIAA), pg. 232). Medicaid also has enrollment programs for children with specific conditions, depending on state policy. Medicaid programs are funded jointly by the federal government and each state and the programs are administered under this partnership on a state by state basis.

Medicaid is the largest source of funding for medical and health-related services for people with low income in the United States. The system can be quite complex. States establish their own systems for delivery of services under their programs. Add the fact that states have their own policies regarding coverage, and it’s more than a full-time job to keep up with federal and state regulations—especially because they’re constantly changing. It takes the time and care to look into each individual’s case to fully understand and utilize coverage.

In an effort simplify the process of obtaining replacement sound processors and soft bands, Oticon Medical has enrolled as a provider in many state Medicaid programs. Because we are enrolled providers, not only can we provide assistance in ensuring that patients have necessary coverage in place for devices, we can also bill those programs directly.

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Finding Ear Community After Enter a World of Uncertainty

In honor of the amazing connections that happen at Ear Community’s Microtia and Atresia Summer Picnics, we’ve asked attendees to share their experiences with you here on our blog. This week, you’ll hear from Shannon Katuszonek, a mom who is forever grateful for finding her strength through Ear Community.

Here’s Shannon to tell her story.

We had no idea my daughter, Ava, had a condition. When she was born it was quite the shock. As if learning to understand what her little ear meant wasn’t enough, she was our first child, so we had little frame of reference for newborns in general.

So, we took in whatever information the doctors gave us. We knew she failed the newborn hearing screening test. Then, our Microtia Pediatrician started telling us about the other things that could be wrong with her.  “She could have Goldenhar Syndrome, a heart condition and more. But, we’ll just wait and see how she develops.”

There we were…

You’re looking at this beautiful little baby that you’ve been waiting for, and now you’re so overwhelmed. You can’t enjoy the moment, because you’re so worried about all of the things that might happen.

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A Growing Community: Bone Anchored Hearing System Forums & User Groups

We’re sharing one of our greatest assets– a list of online bone anchored hearing system forums and user groups. The communities on this list have helped so many, and they’ve helped us connect with you. With so many people looking for communities of others who can help them get answers and support, we’ve now made this list public. Better yet, we’re asking you to help us add to the list and grow it even further. Read on for access and to get the full scoop on how it works.

Bone Anchored Hearing System Forums & Groups List

Click to View the List

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Insurance Support: Guiding You through the Process to Get Your Ponto

No matter what kind of healthcare visit or procedure you have, insurance can be confusing—so much so that it can sometimes feel like a completely different language. In addition to various companies, each individual insurance company has many, many policies. So, what works for someone with similar insurance might not work for you. That’s why we offer free insurance support for patients and clinics. Our team acts as a trusted guide to educate, address concerns and help you ask the right questions.

Healthcare Questions

We work with you to do everything from verification of benefits to submitting the paperwork to insurance providers to requesting and receive pre-authorization. In the event that your request for pre-authorization is denied, we’ll investigate the reasons for denial and help to form and submit your appeal. We can truly help as little or as much as you need.

We sat down with Lindsay Fisk, Oticon Medical’s manager of customer reimbursement services, to learn more about how she helps hundreds of people navigate the world of insurance coverage. With over 500 authorizations complete, Lindsay and the rest of the team have a defined process that will get you on the right track for coverage.

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The Oticon Medical Manifesto

The Oticon Medical manifesto is here! We asked you: “What statements inspire you? What truths help you overcome tough times? What words give you the power to be your own advocate?” Your answers moved us, and now the narrative is available in two graphics. We created this manifesto so your words can continue to move and inspire others.

OM Manifesto_orange

Click to download the Oticon Medical Manifesto (white)
Click to download the Oticon Medical Manifesto (orange)

Share it, print it, post it– most importantly, live it.

October: National Audiology Awareness & Protect Your Hearing Month

October is National Audiology Awareness and Protect Your Hearing Month. In honor of a month dedicated to the work that we celebrate every day, we’re collecting tools and resources that you can use this month– and year round– to share awareness for audiology and hearing loss.

  • American Academy of Audiology has great printable bookmarks here. They also have a comprehensive list of fact sheets, PSAs, web tools and more.
  • We’re collecting a board of hearing loss books on Pinterest here. What are you reading?
  • You can visit a collection of the stories of those with bone anchored hearing devices here. Have a story to share? Let us know!
  • One of the greatest benefits of the web is the wonderful communities that have grown online. Here’s a list of support groups, user groups and forums for those interested in or dealing with hearing loss.
  • A community that stands out from the list above is Ear Community. Ear Community Founder Melissa Tumblin shares valuable information daily on the organization’s Facebook Page here.

Levels of Noise

Do you have a suggestion for this list? Please let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter. Our goal is for the list to represent a collection from the whole community! #hearingawareness

Ear Community Hosts Microtia & Atresia Summer Family Picnics

Each summer the Ear Community hosts picnics around the world that help bring Microtia and Atresia families together. The picnics offer a platform for the community to come together and share experiences. Medical professionals– Microtia and Atresia repair surgeons, ENTs, audiologists and therapists– also join to share information on the options for living with hearing loss. Families are even able to test the latest hearing products at the event. 

As a sponsor and active participant in the picnics, we can’t think of a better way to spend a summer day. This summer, picnics took place in Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Barcelona and London. The next two picnics will take place in Denver, Colorado on July 27 and in Los Angeles, California on August 10.

Many of the picnics host almost 200 people. This year, our friend Justin Bays hosted the Ohio picnic.

“The picnics are a great way for all Microtia/Atresia families to come together locally and share experiences and learn from one another,” Justin shared. “It was a pleasure hosting and I am looking forward to keeping touch with all who attended.”

Justin Bays

“Our 1st annual Ohio Picnic was held near Columbus, Ohio (Central Ohio) and we had many surrounding states represented at our picnic. It was wonderful that so many came from all around to share in the fun and meet someone else just like them. I felt the picnic was a huge success.”

“Ear Community and myself strive to help promote awareness and education and help make a difference in the world each and every day,” said Melissa Tumblin, Founder of Ear Community. “We work to help many learn more about Microtia and Atresia and to also help people realize that they are not alone through our support and our picnics.”

Have you been to an Ear Community picnic? We would love to hear about it! Tell us about your experience in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

The Impact of Hearing Loss, Ponto Users Enjoy the Change

NBC News aired a spot on how hearing loss has such an impact on everyday life. We couldn’t agree more. So, we wanted to cover some of your struggles.

We asked, “What is or was the most difficult challenge in dealing with hearing loss? How has it changed since you’ve received your Ponto? Or, if you don’t have your Ponto yet, what changes are you most looking forward to?”

Special Education

Maurice Gerrits no longer has problems understanding others.
“The concept of a bone anchored hearing device was pointed out to me by my ENT in July 2011 as a possible solution for my conductive hearingloss. I was wearing an Oticon Vigo pro power hearingaid at that time, but it didn’t help me a lot.

My main problem was that I was unable to understand what people where saying a lot of the time. I also found it frustrating that I wasn’t able to localize sound.

After a test week with a headband and asking a lot of questions on the Baha user forum, I decided to get implanted. I chose the Oticon Medical system because of the freedom of choice and because the sound of the Ponto system was a lot better than the Baha BP100 from Cochlear. Also, the ease of use, overall durability and sturtyness of the attachment system made me go for the Ponto.

The implant procedure took place at the Radboud hospital in Nijmegen. The procedure, linear incision, went fast and without any problems. On activation day, I was absolutely amazed by the great sound quality. It was even better than with the headband.

I have no speech understanding problems anymore. Not even at a party or in other crowded environments.  When I go out jogging, I can hear everything around me perfectly. I am very happy with my Oticon Ponto Pro and can recommend it to anyone who has little to no benefit from conventional hearing aids.”

Carolyn Williamson, a special ed teacher, looks forward to hearing her students. 
“I have unilateral deafness after a labyrinthectomy in 2011 in an attempt to manage Meniere’s symptoms (it worked!). I just had my anchor implanted for the Ponto on May 23 – activation on August 16! I’m already planning my “Activation Celebration” party.

I am a special ed teacher, and the impact of my hearing loss isn’t just one big thing, it’s so many little things that, combined, add up to much more than the sum of the parts.

Colleagues who don’t know me think I’m stuck up because I don’t answer their greetings from behind me. I have to put every ounce of energy into hearing a student working on articulation (isn’t that kind of funny, me helping with articulation?). I absolutely hate faculty meetings because there is no good spot for me to hear everyone, and I don’t think they really believe I can’t sometimes. Announcements over the PA? I don’t even bother. I have headaches by the end of the school day, my eyes and brain are so tired from trying to pick up the slack. If my students are on the deaf side and I’m not looking at them, I miss the onset of seizures or asthma attacks. I now dislike talking on the phone. People don’t like watching TV with me because they’re getting headaches. With all of those negatives being said– I have no regrets because now I have a life again. I use the humorous approach to set others at ease and to guide them to an understanding of what I require if I am to communicate with them.

I had no guarantee of any hearing device when I opted for surgery, so getting the Ponto is frosting on the cake! I am so excited!”

Aaron Morris can’t wait to hear sounds he’s never heard before.
“I am looking forward to hearing sounds I’ve probably never heard before. And, I can’t wait to  enjoy surround sound like you’re supposed to. The best this will be being in a crowd of people and being able to hear the person in front of me talk better than the people ten feet away!” You can read more about Aaron’s story here.

Kristi Hurley won’t miss the frustrated looks. 
“The worst thing before my ponto pro why the frustrated looks from people when I’d say “Huh, what, can you repeat that?”

Now I don’t get that anymore…. now that I enjoy sound if only I could remember to take it off before bed, LOL!”

We know that you all have overcome struggles with your hearing loss. If you would like to share your experience, please let me know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.