Category Archives: Presidential Perspective

Presidential Perspective

Why won’t good bone conduction candidates get implanted?

One of the most common challenges our hearing care professionals face is encouraging patients to undergo surgery to implant the Ponto™ implant system. It is understandable that many individuals balk when they hear the word “surgery,” particularly if they are parents of children old enough to be implanted. From my substantial experience in medical device sales, I’ve learned that the best way to overcome user objections is with facts. Fortunately, when it comes to minimally invasive Ponto surgery (MIPS), we have substantial data on the benefits of wearing processors on an abutment.

With that in mind, here are five of the most common objections to having minimally invasive Ponto surgery (MIPS) and our suggested responses.

Objection 1: I don’t want to have general anesthesia.

As any credible medical professional will tell you, there is always some risk associated with general anesthesia. Parents often express this concern with regards to their child undergoing implantation. You can help your patient (or their parent) feel better about undergoing the procedure by explaining that MIPS usually only takes about 15-30 minutes and is often performed using other types of anesthesia. In many cases, the procedure may not even be done in a hospital.

Objection 2: If I don’t need surgery for the Ponto to work, then why should I have it?

While it is true that patients who wear their Ponto processor on a softband still receive hearing benefits, implantation increases these benefits significantly. You can explain that when worn on an abutment your patient can expect better results. The Ponto on an abutment uses Direct Sound Transmission, which prevents sound dampening—a common issue with magnet and softband systems. It also allows Ponto devices to reproduce a greater variety of sounds. The sound waves are mechanical, and the signal is transmitted with minimal loss when the source of the signal and its receiver are directly connected by a conductor like our titanium implant. In comparison, sound transmission from a processor on a softband results in signal loss, as it transmits through skin, fascia, and other tissue on its way to the bone.

You can also show your patient this video to illustrate the differences between hearing through a Ponto on a softband vs. an abutment.

Objection 3:  I don’t want to lose time recovering from surgery.

Nobody wants to take significant time away from work or their home/social life for a long surgical recovery. Fortunately, you can reassure your patient that this is a small, usually outpatient procedure with an expectation of same-day admission and release. This is particularly true when utilizing the MIPS or MONO drill technique, which further simplifies treatment and reduces surgical time and the risks associated with surgery. In most cases, it takes no more than a day or two to recover from the procedure. After surgery, the patient can expect to wear a bandage or other protective covering for a couple of days during which time the biggest inconvenience will be not washing their hair.

Objection 4:  I don’t want to risk any potential side effects or negative outcomes.

Although there is never zero risk of side effects or other issues from any kind of surgery, you can reassure your patient by explaining that this is a minimally invasive technique that eliminates the need for suturing by using a smaller incision. This allows for fast recovery and fewer complications. In 95 percent of follow-up visits, no skin-related aftercare treatment was required. Plus there is a 98 percent implant survival rate with the Ponto implants.[1]

As for cosmetic concerns, MIPS was designed to avoid the need for stitches, which reduces scarring and allows the patient’s hair to grow back as it was before surgery.

Objection 5:  I don’t want the expense of a surgical procedure.

This one can be tricky, as coverage for any surgical procedure will vary depending on the kind of insurance your patient has. You can feel free to contact your Oticon Medical representative for general guidance on insurance coverage or you can direct your patients on a case-by-case basis to contact their insurance company directly or speak to our Insurance Support Team to find out what their insurer will or won’t cover.

Have you run into these objections or others when it comes to bone anchored implantation surgery? Share what you’ve heard and how you’ve managed them in the comments below! And if you need more advice on counseling your patients for PONTO MIPS procedures, please contact your Oticon Medical representative.

[1] Lagerkvist H, et al. Ten years’ experience with the Ponto bone anchored hearing system – a systematic literature review. Clin Otolaryngol 2020 Sep; 45(5): 667–680.

Presidential Perspective

A Launch Unlike Any Other: Ponto 5 SuperPower

In May of this year, the same month that our parent company alerted us that we were being sold, we launched our most anticipated new processor in years—the Ponto™ 5 SuperPower. With everything going on, I can safely say this was unlike any of our previous launches. We are excited to bring a significant upgrade in technology to our users who require extra power from their bone anchored hearing system and have been waiting for a new option since Ponto 3 SuperPower became available five years ago. Our sales team has been eagerly anticipating this new offering for some time, as have our hearing care professional customers.

Realistically, I know the acquisition by Cochlear continues to create uncertainty about promoting and selling Oticon Medical products among our professional customers. So let me tell you why, from our perspective, we are treating this like any other launch, and encourage you to join us in promoting Ponto 5 SP with all the fanfare this leap forward in technology deserves.

Ponto 5 SP will benefit your patients for years to come

Like our Ponto 5 Mini, which we launched earlier this year to an enthusiastic reception, the Ponto 5 SuperPower contains our most advanced technology, including:

  • OpenSound Navigator™, which provides significantly increased performance in speech understanding and lower listening effort[1]
  • OpenSound Optimizer™, for a unique and patented approach to providing premium sound quality with no audible feedback[2]
  • Oticon RemoteCare, our online platform that allows you to adjust your patient’s sound processor remotely for greater convenience

The Ponto 5 SP is now the world’s most powerful abutment-level sound processor. It offers added MFO allowing a fit for hearing loss up to 65 dB HL BC. In addition to the 360-degree sound provided by the OpenSound Navigator for proven better speech understanding in noise, OpenSound Optimizer offers  5 dB more stable gain with less potential for feedback. The device also utilizes low-energy Bluetooth® for direct connectivity to Apple® products and more.

Additionally, the Ponto 5 SP is an excellent option for your pediatric patients. Besides the high MFO and other benefits listed above, Ponto 5 SP comes with an integrated battery door lock, excellent battery life (approximately 54-120 hours), pediatric preferences settings, LED indicators, and more.

With all these benefits—better hearing, less feedback, and ease of use and maintenance—you should feel confident offering this new technology to your patients who will appreciate the extra power and those who have been waiting years for an upgrade to their previous superpower device.

Encourage upgrades to Ponto 5 SuperPower with confidence

Do you have patients already asking how to upgrade to the Ponto 5 SP or do you have patients you want to recommend do so? It is still a simple process:

  • Two insurance forms need to be completed and returned to our Insurance Services Department via email at insuranceservices@oticonmedical.com or by fax to 888-683-8736:
    • Patient Insurance Form. Your patient will complete and return the first form along with a copy of their insurance card
    • ENT Insurance Form. You as the audiologist or ENT will complete and submit this, along with the following:
  • A signed prescription for the ordered upgrade (must be signed by a physician)
  • Medical notes (should be within the last year)
  • Latest copy of patient’s audiogram (should be within the last year)
  • The filled-in Processor and Accessory Order Form

If you want to assist your patient with finding out whether they are eligible for an upgrade or you have questions about these submissions, please contact our Insurance Services Department at 855-400-9761. They are available Monday-Friday, 8am-8pm EST, or you can reach out to them anytime using the email address provided above.

Long-term concerns about supporting Oticon Medical products

Fine, John, you might be thinking as you read this. I’m convinced the tech is great and my patients definitely want it and would benefit from it. But what happens when Oticon Medical isn’t part of the equation anymore?

This is a fair concern, and one I will continue to address as this deal progresses. As part of the agreement, Cochlear has publicly committed to continuing to provide service to existing patients of Oticon Medical, now and in the future. This means you can and should feel comfortable recommending Oticon Medical products to your patients knowing that if they need assistance with them down the road, they will receive it. You should also reassure your patients on this score.

Until the deal closes Oticon Medical continues to do business as usual. That means we are here and ready to provide you and your patients with the high level of customer service and support you’ve come to depend on. If you need assistance with Ponto 5 SuperPower programming, troubleshooting, or just have questions about the technology,  please call our Auditory Technical Services (M-F, 8am-8pm EST) at 888.277.8014 and choose Option 4 when prompted or send an email anytime to audiologysupport@oticonmedical.com.

[1] 1. Manuscript in preparation, Data on File - Clinical study BC102
[2] Callaway, 2019. Introduction to OpenSound Optimizer™. Oticon Whitepaper

Presidential Perspective

Sale of Oticon Medical to Cochlear: What Does It Mean?

I’m not going to pretend—this is a tough one, friends.

We recently hosted our annual National Sales Meeting in person for the first time since the pandemic began. It started off filled with excitement over the launch of our Ponto™ 5 SuperPower, anticipation for the launch of our cochlear implants later this year, and the simple joy of getting to interact live with our colleagues again. At the end of Day One, we all went home energized and looking forward to the rest of the meeting.

Then, on the beginning of day 2, I had to tell the team that Demant had decided to discontinue its Hearing Implants business area and reached an agreement to sell Oticon Medical to our biggest competitor, Cochlear™. You can click here to read the official announcement.

That morning is still a blur. Although much remains uncertain about how this process will unfold, one thing is clear—I can commit to you that ensuring the life-long care of Oticon Medical users is our primary focus.

I am still processing this like everyone else. But beyond those of us who work for Oticon Medical, I know the news is already affecting our valued customers and patients. My team has seen your expressions of shock, disappointment, anger, concern, sorrow—all reasonable and understandable emotions. I will attempt to ease your concerns to the best of my knowledge and ability.

A necessary caveat

One of the greatest challenges during the sale of a business, particularly when it and/or the purchaser is publicly traded, is the secrecy surrounding the process. Various business aspects must be negotiated and approved by not only the companies involved, but by stockholders, board members, and government agencies. It is a complex and often lengthy process during which scant information can be shared with the public at large or with most employees.

In the absence of facts, it is human nature to resort to speculation. We want to know, and so we seek clues and signs of where things might be headed and use those to weave our own narratives about the future. While natural and expected, it is an unhealthy practice for everyone involved, as unproven theories and guesswork may be expressed as factual during conversations or via social media.

With that in mind, here are the facts we know today.

What this acquisition means to customers and consumers

Most important of all, our launch of Ponto 5 SuperPower, the smallest, most powerful abutment-level sound processor available continues as usual! Enjoy the first-ever Ponto 5 feedback prevention system in a new, more powerful device.

As part of the transaction, Cochlear has committed to continue servicing existing patients of Oticon Medical now and in the future. This means you can feel comfortable continuing to recommend Oticon Medical products to your patients. In expressing his commitment to Oticon Medical’s customer base, Cochlear’s CEO and President, Dig Howitt, has stated, “…we will seek to ensure that Oticon Medical’s customers and patients continue to be supported with a lifetime of hearing solutions. We will work closely with Demant to ensure a seamless transition of the business to Cochlear to ensure continued access to current Oticon Medical technology for customers and patients in the coming years.” As the global leader in implantable solutions for hearing loss, Cochlear is well-equipped to provide excellent service and support to audiology professional customers and patients.

As for what this means for the future of Oticon Medical’s BAHS and CI technology, it has been publicly stated by Cochlear that it will “develop next-generation sound processors and services that will enable customers to transition to and benefit from Cochlear’s technology platform over time.”

The agreement is expected to be finalized in the second half of 2022. Until the ownership transfers to Cochlear, everyone here at Oticon Medical remains at your disposal and committed to providing the high level of service and support you’ve come to rely on from our company.

Those are all the facts for now. I hope your takeaway is that you can rest assured our team will continue to do our utmost to provide you with the service you need to enjoy better hearing with our Oticon Medical devices during this transitional phase. We thank you for having chosen our company for your hearing care business or personal needs, and for your dedication, passion, and support for our bone anchored and cochlear implant treatments. If you do have questions going forward, please contact your local Oticon Medical representative, or in the US reach out to us at info@oticonmedicalusa.com or 888.277.8014.

Presidential Perspective

We Can Help You Provide High-Quality Telehealth Service to Audiology Patients

I think you’ll agree that one major takeaway from the past two-plus years is that having virtual alternatives for providing patient care has moved from nice to have to necessary. The inability or inadvisability of meeting with audiology patients live in offices or clinics has taken a toll on business, and unfortunately delayed individuals in need of hearing devices from pursuing treatment. Considering the already sizable gap from diagnosis of hearing loss to purchasing hearing devices (an average of 7 years), we certainly didn’t need another barrier to spring up and further delay treatment. Yet here we are.

Previously, many audiology professionals expressed reticence to adopt telehealth options for hearing healthcare. The concerns ranged from not wanting to be “on call” 24/7 to reluctance to learn the new technology, and concerns about whether quality of care could be on par with in-person visits. While all valid concerns, what was once a value-added offering has become a must for treatments to proceed. And even though the worst of the pandemic appears (fingers crossed!) to be behind us, there is no way to know for sure that we won’t find ourselves in a similar situation, where in-person visits become impossible again. Not to mention we still have patients who, due to personal health issues, cannot travel easily to clinics for live appointments. Providing viable telehealth alternatives could be the deciding factor between a patient electing to go to your clinic or seeking help from your telehealth-friendly competition.

As your partner in providing end-to-end hearing healthcare solutions, we have added a major telehealth solution to our new family of Ponto 5 bone anchored hearing systems: Ponto 5 RemoteCare. Additionally, we continue to offer our Ponto Care app. The following is an overview of both of these conveniences, and how they help enhance the level of care you can offer BAHS wearers.

Ponto Care app

The free, secure, HIPAA-compliant Ponto Care app enables you to support and guide your patients from the Trial through Aftercare BAHS fitting phases. It aims to make patients more engaged, independent, and involved in their bone anchored treatment by providing them with a self-help tool right on their mobile phone. This allows them to have the best possible trial experience and insightful conversations with you, their hearing care professional, as they move through the process. Patients are guided as to how and where to use their Ponto, can rate different environments, take notes, send you a report, and much more. For example, during the Aftercare phase, you can take the first baseline photo of the implant site, and then show your patient how to use their phone’s camera to monitor their implant site and keep notes about their progress. These can be shared with you during your next face-to-face or remotely.

The best way to get the app set up is to download it with your patient while they are in your office. It’s easy to access from either the App® Store or Google Play™. Run through the app’s screens while explaining the importance of the report and clarify when and where to send the report according to your preferences. You can also send your patient a reminder a few days before a follow-up appointment if they haven’t emailed you their report yet.

Ponto 5 RemoteCare

Hold virtual appointments with patients and provide follow-up care, adjustments, and upgrades remotely using the Ponto 5 family’s RemoteCare option. Your patient will need to pair their smartphone with their BAHS, install the app, and set up an account. All required instructions for use are provided in the app itself. You and your patient will be able to see each other onscreen during appointments so long as both of you have cameras enabled, but if desired you can turn yours off. You can also text back and forth during the meeting if conversation via audio proves challenging. As you adjust your patient’s Ponto devices, they will see graphic indications that this is taking place, along with a notice that settings are being uploaded and when they have been completed.

One thing I’d like to stress: using RemoteCare does not mean you are expected to hop on appointments or adjust your patients’ devices around the clock. You arrange with them to set appointment times exactly as you would if you were meeting with them in your clinic. This is simply a convenient, viable alternative for patients who, for whatever reason, cannot or do not want to come into your clinic. Also, RemoteCare is for touching base and making fairly minor adjustments to devices. It is not meant as a substitute for care and treatment requiring more in-depth consultation, testing, or repairs.

Talk to your Oticon Medical rep about telehealth alternatives

Ready to learn more about our options for supporting you in providing high-quality virtual care to patients? Your OM representative will be happy to discuss your needs and our tools. For general information on the support we provide to audiology professionals, please visit https://www.oticonmedical.com/us/support/professionals/bone-conduction/.

Presidential Perspective

2022 Training Opportunities for Hearing Care Professionals

I consider providing training opportunities to clinicians an important element of being a full-service partner to our professional customers. Sadly, due to global issues beyond everyone’s control, our options to offer live training sessions were greatly diminished since 2020. Fortunately, due to our long relationship with Audiology Online, we were able to continue providing online training, and have had such a positive response to these that even with live trainings returning in 2022, we will continue offering online courses as well.

Below you will find our planned training opportunities, both in-person and online, for the first half of 2022. First though, a word about how we plan to keep everyone safe during our live events.

Live training Covid-19 safety guidelines

The health and safety of our customers is a priority. As states have re-opened and Oticon Medical plans to host in-person customer training, our plans include the following guidelines for all sessions with 10 or more attendees (including Oticon Medical staff). These guidelines are designed for the protection of you, our valued professional customers, as well as our employees and will remain in place until further notice:

  • For live training sessions with 10 or more individuals, attending Demant employees will be fully vaccinated and wearing masks.
  • All customers must sign a waiver stating they understand Oticon Medical will adhere to CDC Covid-19 guidelines for in-person seminars, and that they commit to complying with all rules and restrictions.
  • Some additional requirements may be put in place by the venue in which a training event is being held. The venue will provide attendees and Oticon Medical with any additional guidelines as needed.

And now, speaking of in-person training opportunities, here are the live courses we have planned so far. More will likely be added as the year progresses, so keep in touch with your Oticon Medical representative and check your email for future announcements.

Upcoming New Product Training

We will be offering training opportunities for select customers throughout 2022. As these arise, we will send out email invitations with more details about subject matter, location, and registration. Please keep an eye on your inbox for these exciting future opportunities!

Oticon Medical’s 2022 AAA Course Offerings

Oticon Medical will be offering four in-person training presentations at the 2022 AAA Conference, which is being held in St. Louis, Missouri. We look forward to seeing you at one or more of these sessions:

  • March 31
    • 12:30pm – 1:00pm Rm. IU202: Clinical Evidence Supporting OpenSound Navigator™ & Pediatrics with a Ponto Sound Processor
    • 1:10pm – 1:40pm Rm. IU211: Bone Anchored Hearing Solutions: The Ponto 5 Family & OpenSound Optimizer™
    • 1:50pm – 2:20pm Rm. IU220: Coordinated Adaptive Processing for the Oticon Medical Neuro Cochlear Implant System
  • April 1
    • 1:50p – 2:20pm Rm. IU320: The Oticon Medical Neuro Cochlear Implant System – Latest Technology in Cochlear Implants

To attend, please go to the AAA event’s online registration .

Audiology Online Oticon Medical Courses

Audiology Online will host the following online courses from Oticon Medical. For more details, including CEUs and hours offered, please click through the links provided below. You can check the AO website and your emails from us for announcements of additional courses throughout the year.

  • March 15: The Ponto Implant System: A surgical overview. This course will discuss surgical aspects of the Ponto implant system, including details on Osseointegration, Minimally Invasive Ponto Surgery (MIPS), and MONO surgery, providing valuable information to any clinician recommending bone conduction amplification.
  • April 15: Ponto 5 Mini Advanced Fitting Techniques – Adult and Pediatric Populations. This course will train clinicians on best practices and advanced fitting techniques for fitting the Ponto 5 Mini for both adults and children. This course will use case studies to illustrate examples of challenging fitting scenarios for adults and children.

We look forward to welcoming you to a live training or seeing you on onscreen at one of our live webinars soon!

Presidential Perspective

3 Tips for Cultivating a Strong Network of Advocates

One of the things that most impressed me when I joined Oticon Medical-US was its devoted network of consumer advocates. These are people from all around the country, from many different walks of life, connected by our Ponto™ devices—either as wearers of our bone anchored hearing system or as parents/caregivers to child wearers. This has bonded them not only to one another, making them an extended “family,” but also to our company, to which they are extremely loyal and publicly supportive.

Marketing, PR, and advertising are all important to a business’s success. But bottom line, you simply cannot duplicate the kind of goodwill, virality, and corporate confidence produced by a strong network of consumer advocates. So how can you cultivate yours? Here are three tips that have certainly worked well for us.

1.  Communicate with consumers throughout the sales process—and beyond

One of the simplest, and yet often ignored, methods for engendering consumer loyalty is clear and consistent communication. This must begin from the consumer’s entry into the sales funnel through their conversion into a customer, and then continue for as long as they remain a customer. This can be as simple as scheduling regular emails informing consumers about upcoming product releases, events, and other corporate goings-on of interest. You can increase or decrease these scheduled emails based on analytics showing open rates, click-throughs, and unsubscribes—if too many emails are being ignored or causing people to unsubscribe, then reduce the cadence. A/B testing can also help you determine which subject lines and matter garner the most interest, so you can refine your email content over time.

Additional points of contact should include company-run forums, in which consumers can ask questions or present concerns. We have a community called Oticon Medical Friends that is open to our Ponto wearers and caregivers to wearers, along with two Facebook Groups, one for all wearers and one exclusively for our advocates.

And it goes without saying that you should make it easy for consumers to contact you via email, telephone, direct message, or online chat—and when they avail themselves, someone at the business should answer them immediately, or at least within 24 hours during the work week. For when no one is available (over the weekend or during holidays) set up automated responses, so that consumers receive acknowledgement and have their expectations set as to when they will receive a response.

2.  Provide customer service that exceeds expectations

There is a reason customer service is considered a “frontline” position. They are your business’s spokespeople, and it is by their words and deeds your company will be judged. Empower your customer service team to not only meet the basic expectations of being polite, friendly, and helpful, but by going above and beyond. Little extras like shipping for next-day delivery so a person doesn’t have to wait on a necessity go a long way toward building loyalty. So does tracking down a solution for an issue that may require work beyond the initial contact. Customer service reps should regularly inform the waiting consumer of the concrete steps being taken on their behalf. Maybe throw in a little extra like free batteries, or a spare part along with the item ordered. Remember that old shampoo commercial, where “They’ll tell two friends, and they’ll tell two friends, and so on…?” That certainly holds true for recipients of excellent customer service.

3.  Show your passionate consumers lots of love

Loyalty to a brand or business should be appreciated—loudly, and as frequently as possible. How do you do this? By putting together an advocacy program that encourages the bringing aboard of new advocates while rewarding the old. A strong advocacy program should include events, such as meetings to introduce newer advocates to your company’s leadership team and other advocates. Provide them with “insider” information on upcoming product releases and actively solicit their input for future development of new products and features.  You can recognize your top advocates with an annual award or by creating an upper tier for all advocates to strive toward. In our case, we have Ambassadors, who are our top advocates, and they receive perks such as their own special event annually.

The bottom line…

Yes, these efforts require investments of time and money. They also yield the kind of loyalty and devotion most brands only dream of having and enable you to extend your reach well beyond typical sales and marketing efforts.

Presidential Perspective

Hearing Industry Events are Coming Back

As I write this, live events are back… but, with variants of the Covid-19 virus in play, a level of uncertainty lingers over how many will actually occur as planned. I’m going to be optimistic though and focus on the exciting events we plan to hold and attend in the upcoming year with all my fingers and toes crossed that nothing derails those plans.

There is no true substitute for live events

During the pandemic, the hearing healthcare industry made do like everyone else by holding or attending events online. However, there’s no denying that valuable components of live events were lost when we couldn’t meet with our peers and valued customers face-to-face.

Live events generate energy and excitement from being around others who are equally passionate about sharing innovations and ideas for advancing hearing technology and improving services to patients and clinics. Conversations using the same hearing industry shorthand and acronyms remind us that we’re all part of the same extended family. Although we’re able to share that through Zoom or Teams or whatever online platform, the level of camaraderie just isn’t the same.

Another significant loss is the unplanned get-together. If you have ever attended an industry event, you know exactly what I mean. Whether it’s an invitation to grab coffee and catch up, conversations held around the lunch table, or an informal “hang” at the bar in the evening, these unplanned social interactions simply cannot be replicated virtually. I will go so far as to say, without discounting the high value of informative planned programming, it is during these spontaneous meetups where the most engaging and mutually beneficial conversations are held.

While industry panels and lectures are helpful, informative, and extremely valuable—and fortunately translate well to being conducted online—I’m sure you’ll agree we miss the hands-on components like live demos. We all want to be able to pick up and examine new product offerings or try out new surgical techniques like our MONO drill. Again, there is no online substitute for in-person product introductions and interactions.

What you can look forward to from Oticon Medical in 2022

We are planning events for our professionals in 2022 centered around upcoming product launches. There will likely be more to come, either virtually, live, or a hybrid of both, but for now, they include the following:

  • Multiple Neuro2 Cochlear Implant System training events (throughout the US)
  • Multiple PONTO bone anchored hearing system new technology launch events (throughout the US)

We are also planning on having a presence at the following trade shows:

However we wind up interacting—online or in-person—rest assured you can look forward to more exciting and informational events from Oticon Medical throughout 2022. I hope you will join us!

Presidential Perspective

Successful Hearing Healthcare: It’s All About the Patient Experience

There are so many different pieces of advice, best practices, tips, and tricks for clinicians out in the zeitgeist, you’ve probably heard or read them all. From my perspective, they all boil down to the patient experience. If you provide patients with a superior experience working with you during each stage of their hearing treatment process, success will follow naturally.

When it comes to defining patient experience, I default to the Golden Rule: treat others the way you would want to be treated. In this scenario, begin by putting yourself in your patient’s shoes.  They have lived at least part of their life with little to no hearing and experienced its associated hardships—struggling to keep up with conversations, falling behind in school or at work, and feeling fatigued every night after straining to hear all day. Yet you are leery of treating your hearing loss with a bone anchored hearing system (BAHS) because it involves surgery, you aren’t sure if your insurance will cover it, and all of the other standard objections.

Now ask yourself: how you would want to be treated by your hearing care professional during your journey to better hearing?

Starting down the path to improved hearing

We are fortunate here at Oticon Medical to have an engaged and informative team of patient advocates who have shared their experiences—positive and negative—in detail over the years. What I have learned from them is the following:

  • Patients want their hearing care professional to get to know them as a person with unique experiences related to their hearing loss, not just as the next appointment on someone’s schedule
  • They want you to provide as much information about each treatment option as possible, not just be handed a list of potential solutions and expected to do their own research
  • They want to know they can depend on you and the manufacturer of their selected device for continued support, not only immediately after implantation and activation, but for as long as they have their BAHS
  • They want to know they can afford the surgery, the device, and their visits to you pre- and-post implantation. Willingness to work with them to arrange financing and being able to help them understand their insurance coverage options will help you stand out from your competition
  • They want you to be clear, realistic, and honest about the pros and cons of bone anchored hearing with regards to the surgical procedure, the device, and post-implant expectations

A common goal makes Oticon Medical your partner of choice

When you and your patient select a Ponto BAHS, you get more than a highly effective product that requires only minimally invasive surgery. You get a partner in helping you provide the excellent customer service your patient expects and deserves. We also believe in getting to know our Ponto users making them feel like part of an extended Oticon Medical family by offering our advocacy program, online support groups, put them in touch with current wearers, and much more. We provide clear and detailed information about our products and services on our website and in brochures and guides so that your patients can quickly and easily get their questions answered about life with a Ponto.

Our Customer Service Team is available from 8 am to 8pm Eastern Time daily to support patients for as long as they have their Ponto device, and additional support can be requested through email 24/7 or through social media by sending direct messages to us via Facebook, or as members of Oticon Medical Friends.

We also have an Insurance Support Team that can help users find out what their insurer covers, either private or Medicare/Medicaid, and assist them with filling in all the paperwork required to get their surgery and Ponto device.

Now introducing an even better patient surgical experience: MONO

As for the surgical procedure itself, we have introduced the world’s first one-step drilling procedure for BAHS: the MONO treatment for adults 18 years of age and older. Our unique drill allows you to create a complete osteotomy in a single step. This groundbreaking new procedure offers your patients excellent aesthetic outcomes and fast recovery times.1,2 MONO can also help improve your procedural efficiency by reducing the number of instruments and implant components needed in the procedure. With the tailor-made MONO Surgery Kit, your staff will find it easy to prepare for and handle implant installation. And clinics that already use the minimally invasive MIPS technique have reported reduced surgical time, staffing, and running costs.3

You can book a demonstration of the MONO drill and find out how it can benefit you and your procedural efficiency today!

References

​​​​​​

1. Caspers CJI, et al. A clinical evaluation of minimally invasive Ponto surgery with a modified drill system for inserting bone anchored hearing implants. Accepted in Otol Neurotol 2020.
2. Holmes S, et al. Tissue preservation techniques for bone anchored hearing aid surgery. Otol Neurotol. 2021; Publish Ahead of Print.
3. Sardiwalla Y, et al. Direct cost comparison of minimally invasive punch technique versus traditional approaches for percutaneous bone anchored hearing devices. J. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017;46(1):46.

Presidential Perspective

Joys and Challenge of Overseeing a Business in Growth Mode

As I write this, I am overseeing the largest expansion of Oticon Medical US in our history. As you can imagine, this comes with its shares of joys and challenges as we blaze our way toward an exciting new future.

So, what’s going on? To start with, we are juggling three major overlapping product launches. One I’ve already shared—the premarket approval of cochlear implant sales in the US. The second, which I’m excited to share with you now, is the launch of the first style in our new family of bone anchored hearing systems, the Ponto™ 5 Mini (you’ll have to wait a bit more to hear about the third launch, but I promise you’re going to like it).

Introducing the Ponto 5 family of bone conduction hearing devices

If you haven’t read our press release yet, here is a rundown of what the Ponto 5 Mini has to offer. While it remains the world’s smallest and most discreet processor on the market, it also offers the same state-of-the-art reliability, durability, connectivity, and product quality our customers came to know and expect from Ponto 4. Additionally, Ponto 5 utilizes two of our proven BrainHearing™ technologies, the OpenSound Navigator™ and OpenSound Optimizer™ to provide wearers with greater access to sound than ever before. We confirmed this in a study that shows that these technologies improve speech understanding by 20 percent* and significantly reduce the listening effort needed to make sense of sound.[1] While traditional feedback systems have previously addressed feedback by reducing gain and removing the dynamics of sound, the OpenSound Optimizer analyzes amplified sound 56,000 times per second to detect and actually prevent audible feedback before it occurs.[2] Hearing care professionals no longer need to compromise on sound dynamics to reduce feedback and can fit Ponto 5 Mini wearers with up to 6 decibels (dB) more stable gain.

Raise your level of patient care with RemoteCare

Another unique feature of the Ponto 5 Mini is the introduction of the user-friendly Oticon RemoteCare platform, which allows wearers to have follow-up appointments and adjustments made remotely. Now, I know when audiology professionals see the words “remote care,” you might become worried that it means you will be expected to be on call 24/7. I want to assure you this is not the case at all! You will remain in full control of your schedule and appointments just as you do when arranging appointments with patients face-to-face. RemoteCare simply allows you to reduce the number of office visits for issues that can be easily remedied remotely, such as making tweaks to programs. The RemoteCare option is extremely beneficial for patients who either live far from your office, have busy schedules that make it hard for them to travel, or are too infirm to attend in-office appointments. And with ongoing concerns about Covid-19, it enables you to treat patients who otherwise might not feel comfortable meeting with you directly—and vice-versa depending on your personal health concerns.

I hope you’re enjoying the journey with us as we continue to expand our product and service offerings to you and your patients. For more information anytime, please contact your local Oticon Medical representative. In the meantime, I encourage you to keep an eye on our social media properties and share all the latest news with your own patient base through your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other communications outlets. Oticon Medical’s rising tide is intended to lift all boats, so join us and enjoy the ride!

[1] Manuscript in preparation, Data on File - Clinical study BC102
[2] Data on file at Oticon Medical
*Increased speech understanding with OpenSound Navigator ON measured as a percentage relative to the baseline with OpenSound Navigator OFF.

 

Presidential Perspective

Why We’re Entering the US Cochlear Implant Market

Our business is poised to begin a new journey here at Oticon Medical in the United States. Last month, we announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had granted us premarket approval for our Neuro cochlear implant system to treat individuals 18 years of age and older with bilateral severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss who are only able to obtain limited benefit from appropriately fitted hearing aids[1]. It’s important to note that the Neuro System is the first new cochlear implant technology to earn this premarket approval from the FDA in more than 20 years. Pretty impressive, right? As of this writing, we plan to make the Neuro System available to US hospitals and clinics later this year.

“But, John,” you might be asking. “There are already cochlear implant businesses dominating that space, including a certain other company that literally bears the product name. So why elbow your way into that market?”

That’s a fair question, but trust me, this move makes perfect sense when you consider the following:

The rate of cochlear implant utilization/provision in the US remains low at around 6 percent.[2]

The market potential is broader than many realize, meaning there is still plenty of room for entry by new cochlear implant providers to increase options and broaden accessibility. Oticon Medical has the capabilities and resources needed to bring proven expertise in cochlear implantation to thousands of Deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States. We will leverage our global reach and existing network of clinics and users to build long-term relationships critical to the successful delivery of services and support of the highest quality. Our hope is that by entering the market, we will bring additional attention to an underserved portion of the market.

We welcome the opportunities and the challenges.

We are excited to venture into this area of hearing treatment and undaunted by the potential barriers. We eagerly plan to earn our place in this service-intensive market. Remember, while it’s true we will be the proverbial “new kids” on the US cochlear implant market “block,” we have been selling cochlear implant systems in countries around the world for decades. Our Neuro Zti is the result of more than 25 years of experience in cochlear implant development, manufacturing know-how, and material science expertise. And while our competitors might have the benefits of name recognition and firm establishment in the United States, we are confident that the many proven benefits of our offering will quickly draw the attention of hearing care professionals and users alike. When they learn facts about the Neuro Zti like it having achieved an impressive cumulative removal percentage (CRP) of 1.05 percent after five years[3]—making it one of the most reliable implants in the CI industry—we believe that any skeptics will quickly become converts.

We are part of a large and reliable global hearing health company.

Oticon Medical alone might appear smaller than some of our competitors, but we are also a part of Demant, a $2B-plus company focused on hearing health technology and awareness. That positions us as a heavy-hitter in the hearing device manufacturing field when you consider all our divisions are parts of a cohesive and well-established whole. Meanwhile, we are still small and maneuverable enough to provide intimate and direct service to our hearing healthcare customers and consumers in ways that many larger businesses can’t. Our high quality product, top-notch customer service, and long-term trust-based customer and patient relationships combined will form a solid foundation for a unique CI value proposition.

We offer US patients a new, high quality, and reliable CI option.

Neuro Zti is one of the most compact sound processors on the market[4]. It also features a unique screw fixation system that aims at making the implant stable without the need for bone bed milling, which makes it a system that saves precious time in the operating room. Additionally, an independent study confirmed that, thanks to the rigid structure and the screw fixation system, Neuro Zti prevents pain and magnet dislocation during MRI exams using the most common equipment with the magnet in place.[5]

In the end it comes down to this—there is more than enough room in the US for us to enter the cochlear implant market, especially considering all the benefits our company and our Neuro Zti have to offer. So I encourage you to sign up for updates on our official cochlear implant release and join us on what will surely be an exhilarating ride into the future!

[1] Severe-to-profound hearing loss is determined by a pure-tone average (PTA) superior or equal (≥) to 70 dB HL at 500, 1000 and 2000 Hz. Limited benefit from amplification is defined by scores of 50% or less on Hearing in Noise Test (HINT) sentences in quiet or noise, in the best-aided listening condition. Unless already appropriately fitted with hearing aids, it is recommended that candidates undergo a hearing aid trial period of three (3) months.
[2] Sorkin D. L. (2013). Cochlear implantation in the world's largest medical device market: utilization and awareness of cochlear implants in the United States. Cochlear implants international14 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), S4–S12. https://doi.org/10.1179/1467010013z.00000000076
[3] Reliability Report 2020 Reporting to ANSI/AAMI CI86 Standard June 2020. https://wdh01.azureedge.net/us/-/media/medical/main/files/for-professionals/ci/reliability-report/224812us_pbr_reliability-report-2020_version-a_2020-11_low.pdf?la=en&rev=BE13&hash=D18D58BFC1C7D3372A3A389B581270BF
[4] IBID
[5]  Todt, I., Rademacher, G., Grupe G., Stratmann A., Ernst, A., Mutze S., Mittmann P. (2018). Cochlear implants and 1.5 T MRI scans: the effect of diametrically bipolar magnets and screw fixation on pain. Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (2018) 47:11