Category Archives: Product Information

Beyond Hearing: Music Appreciation for BAHS Users

Beyond mere entertainment, music plays a profound role in shaping human experiences and enriching quality of life, socialization, and psychosocial well-being.1 In fact, listening to and making music is touted by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a way to improve quality of life.2

One of the most profound ways music enriches our lives is through its ability to evoke and express emotions. Listening to music, as well as specific music therapy, has been shown to improve anxiety, depression, feelings of hopelessness, and even fatigue.3

Beyond its emotive impact, engaging with music stimulates cognitive functions and enhances brain health.4 For individuals facing cognitive decline or additional communication disorders, music therapy has emerged as a promising intervention for preserving cognitive function and enhancing overall quality of life. Music therapy is often utilized when targeting social and communication skills and is beneficial for both the pediatric and adult population.5

Music has a remarkable ability to foster social bonds and cultivate a sense of belonging within communities. Whether it’s attending a concert, participating in a choir, or simply sharing playlists with friends, music provides a shared language through which people connect and communicate. By increasing an individual’s social interaction, we can not only provide enhanced social support, but also reduce loneliness and isolation.2

How hearing loss impedes music appreciation

Unsatisfactory music appreciation in individuals with hearing loss, with or without hearing aids, has been well documented. Research shows that individuals with post-lingual hearing loss of any degree note a significant decrease in music enjoyment post-onset of hearing impairment. Additionally, those with more severe losses noted a greater decline in music enjoyment both with and without amplification. Individuals with single-sided deafness noted music to be less natural, pleasant, and distinct than before the onset of hearing loss.6

While music appreciation and perception has been studied in individuals with cochlear implants and hearing aids, with varying results, there is a lack of similar research into bone anchored hearing systems (BAHS).

Music perception in BAHS users

By utilizing a myriad of quantitative tasks evaluating pitch, harmony, rhythm, and timbre, a recent study aimed to fill this gap and compared music appreciation and perception in BAHS users and peers with normal hearing. BAHS users included in the study were diagnosed with either asymmetric hearing loss or single-sided deafness. As noted above, without some form of amplification, these individuals not only experience speech perception difficulty, but unsatisfactory music perception and appreciation. The present study found that when utilizing a bone anchored device, users not only obtained similar scores when comparing their BAHS ear to their “better ear,” but they also performed similarly to their normal hearing peers. These findings are important, as they show that BAHS can help to maintain the integrity of music for users.7

When focusing on the Ponto™ system, users had better scores on instrument identification tasks when compared to users of a competitor’s device.7 Let’s dive into how Oticon Medical maintains music integrity and improves quality of life for our users.

Ponto and music appreciation

98 percent of all users report an increased quality of life after minimally invasive Ponto surgery8, and as we discussed prior, a large part of quality of life is music! But how do the Ponto 5 family of hearing processors maintain music integrity?

Figure 1: Maximum Force Output (OVFL90)

Figure 2: Output 50 dB SPL, Full-On Gain

  • Optimized output (Fig. 1) and uncompromised gain (Fig. 2) – Not only do Ponto 5 Mini and SuperPower hearing processors provide access to an increased dynamic range, but they provide appropriate gain and better audibility for even soft sounds.
  • No risk of feedback – While charts and graphs can show how much gain is provided by a product, those figures don’t take feedback into account. As a user moves through their day, the risk of feedback is ever-present; whether they’re hugging a loved one or taking off a hat. With traditional feedback management, gain is reduced whenever feedback is present. This limits users’ gain throughout the day. The Ponto 5 processor employs a feedback management strategy that not only maintains gain but prevents audible feedback.
  • Special programs – Ponto 5 makes several preset special purpose programs available to its users, including one for music. This program is specifically designed to further maintain music integrity by increasing gain for the mid and high frequencies and reducing compression for low frequencies.

As research and innovation expand our understanding of the therapeutic benefits of music, it becomes increasingly crucial to acknowledge and appreciate its profound influence on human well-being. Whether experienced in the concert hall or integrated into therapeutic settings, music exemplifies the resilience of the human spirit and the profound transformative effects of artistic expression.

At Oticon Medical, we know music occupies a central place in the human experience, enriching our lives on multiple levels—emotionally, cognitively, and socially. We view our users holistically ensuring their quality of life beyond improved speech understanding alone.

References

  1. Looi, Valerie & Rutledge, Kate & Prvan, Tania. (2018). Music Appreciation of Adult Hearing Aid Users and the Impact of Different Levels of Hearing Loss. Ear and Hearing. 40. 1. 10.1097/AUD.0000000000000632.
  2. Fancourt D, Finn S. What is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being? A scoping review [Internet]. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe; 2019. (Health Evidence Network synthesis report, No. 67.) SUMMARY. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK553775/
  3. Bradt J, Dileo C, Myers-Coffman K, Biondo J. Music interventions for improving psychological and physical outcomes in people with cancer. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2021, Issue 10. Art. No.: CD006911. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006911.pub4. Accessed 29 February 2024.
  4. Hanna-Pladdy, B., & MacKay, A. (2011). The relation between instrumental musical activity and cognitive aging. Neuropsychology, 25(3), 378–386. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021895
  5. Jamie B Boster, Alyson M Spitzley, Taylor W Castle, Abby R Jewell, Christina L Corso, John W McCarthy, Music Improves Social and Participation Outcomes for Individuals With Communication Disorders: A Systematic Review, Journal of Music Therapy, Volume 58, Issue 1, Spring 2021, Pages 12–42, https://doi.org/10.1093/jmt/thaa015
  6. Meehan, S., Hough, E. A., Crundwell, G., Knappett, R., Smith, M., & Baguley, D. M. (2017). The impact of single-sided deafness upon music appreciation. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 28(05), 444-462.
  7. Jiam NT, Formeister EJ, Chari DA, David AP, Alsoudi AF, Purnell S, Jiradejvong P, Limb CJ. Music Perception in Bone-Anchored Hearing Implant Users. Laryngoscope. 2024 Mar;134(3):1381-1387. doi: 10.1002/lary.30919. Epub 2023 Sep 4. PMID: 37665102.
  8. Lagerkvist H, et al. (2020). Ten years of experience with the Ponto bone anchored hearing system – A systematic literature review. Clin Otolaryngol. 45(5):667-680.

 

Female audiologist with female patient

Medicare Updates and Audiology Changes for 2024

New Bone Anchored Codes and Payment Adjustments

Key Takeaways:

  • Starting January 1, 2024, audiologists will be able to bill for diagnostic analysis, programming, and verification of auditory osseointegrated devices (92622 & 92623)
  • The codes are timed codes with 92622 representing the first hour of service and 92623 serving as additional 15-minute increments
  • The CMS has lowered their conversion factor to $32.74, making the reimbursement for 92622 & 92623 $77.59* and $19.97* respectively

 The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed significant changes for audiology services in 2024. Audiologists will see the introduction of two new timed codes effective January 1, 2024, which describe the analysis, programming, and verification of an auditory osseointegrated sound processor like the Ponto bone anchored hearing system (BAHS). Additionally, the CMS has proposed payment adjustments and continued telehealth coverage. Let’s dive into the details.

New Auditory Osseointegrated Device (AOD) Services Codes

Starting from January 1, 2024, audiologists will be able to use two new CPT codes for Auditory Osseointegrated Device (AOD) services. These codes are designed to cover the diagnostic analysis, programming, and verification of an auditory osseointegrated sound processor:

  • 92622: Diagnostic analysis, programming, and verification of an auditory osseointegrated sound processor, any type; first 60 minutes.
  • 92623: Diagnostic analysis, programming, and verification of an auditory osseointegrated sound processor, any type; each additional 15 minutes (use 92623 in conjunction with 92622).

A keynote is that these codes are applicable to audiologists without a physician’s referral for a non-acute hearing condition. Furthermore, they include tasks such as attachment of the processor, device feedback calibration, device programming, and verification of processor performance for various types of auditory osseointegrated sound processors.

Important Points about AOD Services

  • Timed Codes: The new codes, 92622 and 92623, are timed codes that describe the first hour and each subsequent 15 minutes of time spent on the analysis, programming, and verification of an auditory osseointegrated sound processor.

If an evaluation lasts less than 30-minutes, 92623 (code indicating additional 15 minutes) should not be billed independently from 92622. Additionally, the -52 modifier should also not be used with 92622 or 92623 in this case. Instead, 92700 (unlisted Otorhinolaryngological Service or Procedures) can be used with the proper documentation and justification.

  • Reprogramming: These codes may also be used for reporting subsequent reprogramming of AODs.
  • Restrictions: Notably, CPT codes 92626 and 92627 may not be reported in conjunction with 92622 and 92623.

Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) Changes and Reimbursement

CMS has adjusted the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) for the calendar year 2024. Key highlights include an overall payment rate reduction of 1.25 percent in calendar year (CY) 2024 compared to CY 2023. The final CY 2024 PFS conversion factor is $32.74, representing a decrease of $1.15 (or 3.4 percent) from the CY 2023 conversion factor of $33.89.

*According to the American Academy of Audiology, the “CY 2024 Final Payment” for non-facilities for the new service codes will be as follows. Note final reimbursement is dependent on your locality:

  • 92622 –  $77.59
  • 92623 – $19.97

Click the links below for more information regarding these important changes:

Microsoft Word – Audiology MPFS Final CY 2024.Table.docx

Medicare Proposes New Codes and Reporting Measures, Payment Cuts, and Continued Telehealth Coverage for 2024 (asha.org)

Calendar Year (CY) 2024 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule | CMS

Medicare Finalizes CY 2024 Payment Rules – American Academy of Audiology

*Content updated 3/26/24

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

The Ponto 5 SuperPower

Technical Tips from Auditory Technical Services

We launched the much-anticipated Ponto™ 5 SuperPower in May. Clinicians and patients alike have been eager to experience the smallest, most powerful abutment-level bone anchored hearing device on the market. For this blog, we asked Auditory Technical Services to provide some tips for clinicians to consider when they are fitting this brand-new device.

What software do I need to program the Ponto 5 SuperPower?

There is a new update with Genie Medical BAHS for the Ponto 5 Superpower. You will need Genie Medical 2022.1. This can be obtained by using the Genie Medical (GM) Updater in your hidden icon menu. You can right-click to start the download and installation.

If GM Updater does not work for you or you cannot find it, feel free to call Auditory Technical Services at 888.277.8014 and choose Option 4 when prompted. We can send the software to you via a share link after account verification.

What features in the Ponto 5 SuperPower will benefit my patients?

The Ponto 5 SuperPower has all the wonderful features of the Ponto 5 Mini, but with added MFO allowing a fit for hearing loss up to 65 dB HL BC. Ponto 5 SuperPower also offers OpenSound Navigator™ for 360o sound that provides proven better speech understanding in noise, OpenSound Optimizer™ for 5 dB more stable gain with less potential for feedback and is built on the Velox S™ platform. As a bonus, this most powerful sound processor also has low-energy Bluetooth® for direct connectivity to Apple® products and other connectivity.

What wireless accessories are compatible with the Ponto 5 SuperPower?

Our entire portfolio of wireless accessories that patients have come to rely on are compatible with the new Ponto 5 SuperPower, including the ConnectClip™, EduMic™, TV Adapter™ 3.0, and remote control. As with the Ponto 5 Mini, this new device is Made for iPhone® and has the ability to stream an audio signal directly to the iPhone. Our Oticon ON™ app is available for use for both iPhone and Android™ users.

Which app(s) can be used with the Ponto 5 SuperPower?

  • Oticon RemoteCare for remote programming sessions
  • ON can be used for controlling the Ponto 5 SuperPower using a compatible smartphone
  • Ponto Care™ app is great for support and guidance, but also to help patients develop good cleaning and maintenance habits with their softband, abutment or Ponto processor
  • Lastly, Oticon RemoteCare allows providers to perform adjustments to patient processor settings during telehealth visits

I have a patient who wants to upgrade from the Ponto 3 SuperPower. Where do I start?

That is a great question! It is actually a very simple process. There are two insurance forms that need to be completed and returned to the Insurance Services Department at Oticon Medical: a Patient Insurance Form and an ENT Insurance Form.

  1. The patient will complete and return the Patient Insurance Form to Oticon Medical Insurance Services Department along with a copy of their insurance card.
  2. The audiologist and ENT will complete the other form, the ENT Insurance Form and return it to Insurance Services along with these documents:
  • A signed prescription for the ordered upgrade (must be signed by a physician)
  • Medical notes (should be within the last year)
  • Latest copy of audiogram (should be within the last year)
  • Processor and Accessory Order Form

The items can be returned to our Insurance Services Department via email at insuranceservices@oticonmedical.com or faxed to 888-683-8736. If you have any specific questions, our Insurance Services Department is happy to assist you by email or phone at 855-400-9761. They are available Monday-Friday, 8am-8pm EST.

Lastly, if you are wondering if the patient is eligible for an upgrade based on the age of their current Ponto processor, please contact Customer Service M-F 8am-8pm ET at 888-277-8014 (choose Option 1) or email anytime to info@oticonmedicalusa.com and they can quickly provide you with that information.

Is the Ponto 5 SuperPower MRI-safe?

No, the Ponto 5 SuperPower processor is not MRI-safe and should be removed prior to getting an MRI scan. However, the implant and abutment are MR-Conditional and may be subjected to a MR scan as long as following conditions are met:

  • Static magnetic field of 1.5 and 3 Tesla only
  • Maximum spatial field gradient of 3,000 gauss/cm (30 T/m)
  • Maximum MR system reported, whole body average specific absorption rate (SAR) of 4 W/kg in the first level controlled mode.

In non-clinical testing, the image artifact caused by the device extends approximately 10 mm from the Ponto Implant System when imaged with a gradient echo pulse sequence and a 3.0 Tesla MRI system.

What should I consider when fitting a pediatric patient with a Ponto 5 SuperPower?

You are off to a great start by considering fitting a pediatric patient with the Ponto 5 SuperPower. There are several benefits that you and your patient will appreciate, and we are excited to have an opportunity to touch base on a few of them:

  • High MFO, OpenSound Navigator & OpenSound Optimizer. The ideal choice to ensure audibility and output and headroom for the dynamic range of speech, sound processing technology that provides access to the full soundscape to support incidental learning, and advanced feedback management that prevents feedback without compromise, as it does not reduce gain.
  • Integrated battery door lock. There is no need to change out the battery door, because it has a locking mechanism right on the door that is intuitive to use and ensures the battery door is tamper-resistant to small fingers. Simply use the Multitool and turn the screw clockwise in the direction of the locked padlock icon to lock the battery drawer. To unlock the drawer, turn the screw counterclockwise in the direction of the unlocked padlock.
  • Excellent battery life with the 675 (CI) battery of approximately 54-120 hours.
  • Pediatric Preferences Settings. Directionality and noise reduction features based upon age of the child.
  • Age bracket notification. When a child comes back for follow-up, this makes it easy to identify if changes to the Pediatric Settings are due to be reviewed and adjusted.
  • Multiple pediatric Outcome Measures (ELF, CHILD, PEACH)
  • DSL-BC Pediatric Fitting Rationale. Found under Program Manager or set it as your fitting default under Preferences
  • LED Indicators for peace of mind (Start-up, Continuous, Program, and Volume Changes)
  • EduMic compatibility for school-friendly, easy-to-use FM connectivity or remote mic use
  • Parent-friendly Connectivity. Oticon ON App, direct-to-iPhone, Find My Processor, and  ConnectClip
  • Ponto 5 Softband. Coming soon! Anticipated for release in late summer 2022 (NOTE: implantation is contraindicated for patients up to 5 years of age)

Oticon Medical has a great resource for pediatrics. The Pediatric Fitting Guide is available on our website for download, or you can request hard copies for your clinic from your local Oticon Medical Clinical Specialist. ATS is available should you have any questions, or you would like fitting assistance.

I am fitting a Ponto 5 SuperPower for the first time, and I might need some assistance. Who can I call?

The Auditory Technical Support team is available and on standby to support you when you need it. You can reach us via email at audiologysupport@oticonmedical.com and by phone at 888-277-8014 (Option 4). Our hours are 8am-8pm EST.

About the authors

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.

Nicole Maxam, Au.D. CCC-A is an Auditory Technical Specialist at Oticon Medical and joins the team with 17 years of experience as an audiologist.

Alicia Wooten, Au.D. CCC-A is a Senior Auditory Technical Specialist at Oticon Medical. She specializes in implantable hearing devices and has a strong passion for aural rehabilitation and its impact on patient outcomes.

Insurance and Bone Anchored Hearing Systems

Your Frequently Asked Questions, Answered

If you are a practicing audiologist, chances are that you spend some time each week working on billing and reimbursement. Patients want to know what is covered;  you want to get paid for your services and run a profitable business. Audiologists are challenged with maintaining an understanding of billing and coding in an ever-changing healthcare landscape while treating patients using best practices. Your patients rely on you to give them the best service while also maximizing their health insurance benefits.

We know that the billing and reimbursement process can be daunting for busy clinicians. For this blog, we invited Oticon Medical’s Insurance Services Specialist, Brianna Rusay, to answer your most frequently asked questions about reimbursement as they pertain to bone anchored hearing systems (BAHS).

I am new to bone anchored hearing systems. What does my clinic need to prepare for ordering a device for a patient?

Your patient considering a bone anchored device will need to have up-to-date audiological and medical records as they pertain to their hearing loss and diagnosis. They should have a current audiogram performed by a licensed audiologist within the last year and a full medical evaluation by their physician, especially if they are considering surgery. Your patient’s current insurance information should be on file and your office should verify that your practice is in network with their insurance company if you plan to use your patient’s health benefits when ordering the device. You should be prepared to write a letter on your patient’s behalf justifying your choice of bone anchored hearing device as treatment for their hearing loss, and all documentation supporting your choice should be readily available. Finally, your clinic should have an established account with Oticon Medical to proceed with ordering one of our devices for a patient. You can contact your region’s Oticon Medical Clinical Specialist to set up an account with us.

Who looks into the patient’s benefits to see if they have coverage for surgery?

Surgical coverage will depend on both the surgeon and the hospital/surgical center where the surgery is performed. Oticon Medical has a team of insurance specialists who can check benefits and authorization requirements for BAHS surgery, or the hospital/surgical center can request the authorization directly.

Will my clinic be responsible for paying for the surgical supplies? What about the processor?

Reimbursement for the surgery is fully covered with two codes: 69714 and L8690. 69714 is for the BAHS procedure itself and both the facility and the surgeon can bill for this code. L8690 includes the sound processor, abutment, and implant. This code is considered Durable Medical Equipment (DME) and is typically billed by the facility. A DME contract with the insurance company must be in place in order to bill on this code.

What CPT code will I bill for the processor fitting?

Currently, there is no reimbursable code for a BAHS fitting. However, some insurance companies allow the miscellaneous code 92700 to be used for the sound processor fitting. When billing with this code, be sure to include detailed notes about what services will be included for this code and the breakdown of cost.

How will I get paid for my services?

If the insurance company allows it, you may use the miscellaneous 92700 code.  If the insurance company does not cover that code, the patient would be responsible for all fitting costs. Some clinics have chosen to bill the patient a fitting fee for their time spent in fitting the bone anchored sound processor. This fee can vary and can be up to the discretion of the clinic’s billing administrators.

What happens when it is time to upgrade the processor?

Oticon Medical will start the process of upgrades through insurance for your patient. Please refer your patient to our Insurance Services department and we will send them the paperwork to begin processing the request. To process an upgrade request, we will need the following:

  • Two completed intake forms (one from the patient and one from the clinic)
  • A signed prescription for the ordered upgrade (must be signed by a physician)
  • An audiogram (should be within the last year)
  • Medical notes (should be within the last year)

What if the patient is not eligible for surgery?

Many plans still have coverage for BAHS when worn on a softband, though Medicare does consider this a hearing aid and therefore it is not covered. The process for upgrades is the same for new (and upgraded) softband requests. If a patient is interested in wearing a Ponto on a softband, please refer them to our Insurance Services Department so we can begin the process.

What is the CPT code used for a Ponto on a softband?

Whether it is an initial softband request or an upgrade, the HCPCS remains the same: L8692.  This includes the sound processor and the softband.

Contact Oticon Medical’s Insurance Services Department for help

Although you might not know everything there is to know about insurance and benefits, we hope that by increasing your  knowledge and understanding, you feel more confident managing patients and their insurance benefits. If you have any specific questions about insurance benefits as they pertain to Oticon Medical’s Ponto family of devices, please contact our Insurance Services Department at (855) 400-9761 or mailto:insuranceservices@oticonmedical.com.

About the Authors

Brianna Rusay is the Oticon Medical Insurance Services manager. Brianna has a master’s degree in Health Services Administration and over 10 years of health insurance experience. Brianna has worked in both the health care provider setting and the insurance setting, with a primary focus on Durable Medical Equipment.

Dianna Tingle-Gould, AuD, CCC-A is the Clinical Specialist in the Southeast region for Oticon Medical. She has practiced in hospital and neurotology settings in Houston, Texas and Birmingham, Alabama. She completed her training at Auburn University in 2018.

Courtney Smith, M.A., CCC/A, is the Clinical Trainer for Oticon Medical. She in in her 19th year of practicing audiology. She has practiced in private practice and university hospital settings in Las Vegas, NV. She completed her training at the University of Iowa in 2003.

EduMic – The Easy FM Connectivity Solution

We all know the importance of supporting children with hearing loss when distance, noise, and reverberation affect listening and learning in a typical classroom setting, but what do you do when the student wears a hearing device? What if they need to use an FM system in the classroom? Before your head starts to swim and eyes glaze over, I have great news for you—Oticon’s EduMic™ is a product you will fall in love with! Oticon Medical’s Ponto™ device[1] works together with the EduMic to maximize children’s speech understanding for language development, learning, and socializing opportunities.

The EduMic is a remote microphone system (RMS) featuring 2.4 GHz wireless technology. Built on the Velox STM platform, the EduMic features advanced signal processing, including OpenSound NavigatorTM technology. When noise, distance, and reverberation become challenging in the classroom, EduMic is a vital partner to the Ponto processor. EduMic uses the same innovative open sound technology found in other Oticon Medical[1] products to analyze, balance, and remove noise. It delivers stable and clear access to the teacher’s voice by continuously monitoring the environment and removing unwanted noise—even between words.

Designed for dynamic learning environments and built to last

Beside its ability to be used as a remote microphone, the EduMic provides easy access to an FM system in use at school without the teacher needing to wear two microphones. EduMic also enables access to a variety of audio sources to ensure that students stay connected and engaged during class. Teachers can plug the EduMic into a computer, smartboard, or tablet using the 3.5 audio microphone jack connection. The audio jack also allows easy integration with existing sound field systems, accessing multiple audio sources and microphones simultaneously. Smaller and lighter than many remote microphones at just 32 grams,  EduMic features a sleek, modern design and 10-hour battery life.

Built to last, EduMic is robust and designed to handle the demands of everyday life and withstand accidental dropping. EduMic uses a single rechargeable Li-ion battery that can be left charging overnight without fear of overcharging. Signal strength is also thoroughly tested in a typical classroom environment to ensure a high-quality connection. The 2.4 GHz signal is strong and stable even in a typical WiFi-heavy environment when the teacher is speaking through EduMic.

EduMic teacher and student benefits

Best of all, teachers love EduMic! A usability study conducted by Oticon Inc. examined teacher’s perspectives on ease of use, discreetness, attractiveness in relation to design, and also wearing comfort.[2] The study showed teachers have a strong preference towards EduMic’s design and comfort compared to a competitor’s remote microphone solution. Teachers rated EduMic as easier to use compared to a leading device on the market, very user-friendly to pair and mute, and very comfortable to wear.

According to a study at Boys Town National Research Hospital, researchers found a significant improvement in speech understanding in a noisy and reverberant environment for students fitted with hearing aids wearing the EduMic.[3] Speech understanding improved as 6 dB more noise could be tolerated in the noisy environment test condition when EduMic was used with hearing aids compared to using hearing aids alone. In the noise + reverberation condition, 5 dB more noise could be tolerated when EduMic was used together with hearing aids over hearing aids alone. The results support the positive impact of using EduMic compared to hearing aids alone in both noisy and noisy + reverberant acoustic environments. EduMic allows children with hearing aids to handle poor signal-to- noise ratios in the classroom.

EduMic is available as a Ponto accessory choice

EduMic and our Oticon Medical bone anchored hearing devices are based on our BrainHearing™ technology, which is designed to deliver what the brain needs to make sense of sound. We are excited to announce that this extraordinary remote microphone system  is now available as a free accessory choice with Oticon Medical Ponto orders! Do you have pediatric bone conduction patients to whom you would like to offer EduMic as an accessory option? To learn more about the many exciting features in our Ponto processors and their clinical benefits, including integration with the EduMic accessory, please contact your regional Clinical Specialist.

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.

For more information on EduMic, please visit:

[1] Ponto 4 and Ponto 5 Mini
[2] Gordey & Rumley 2019 Enhanced Learning with EduMic Oticon White Paper
[3] Data on file

Help Patients Remotely with Ease

Oticon RemoteCare for Oticon Medical

Are you finding that patients are more aware of and interested in remote care? Over this past year I think we can all agree that the demand for hybrid services to meet our patient’s needs has increased. The need for telehealth and remote care options continue to expand across many areas of healthcare, including audiology services. As part of our ongoing commitment to providing excellent customer care we are excited to bring you Oticon RemoteCare for Oticon Medical.

With the launch of the Ponto™ 5 Mini, your patients now have the option to meet you online using this secure, convenient, and focused solution. Offering this value-added service to your clinical practice can enhance your clinical efficiency and provide your patients with increased access to your services and expertise—saving time and resources.

Genie Medical BAHS fitting software makes it all possible

Using our unique and intuitive fitting software, Genie Medical BAHS 2021.2, clinicians can provide follow-up fittings with ease.  In fact, all fitting adjustments can be completed remotely except for running feedback manager.  So, while your patient sits in the comfort of their home, you can optimize their programs, counsel them on the use and care of their sound processor, complete BC In-situ measurements, adjust the gain, create specialized programs, and much more! The clinical and patient requirements are few and it’s easy to get started.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In summary, Oticon RemoteCare for Oticon Medical is a new resource in Genie Medical BAHS that works with the Oticon RemoteCare App* to provide remote follow-up appointments. This distinctive service is only compatible with the new Ponto 5 Mini Sound Processor. Providing secure video and text chatting, this service supports but does not replace the audiologist. In fact, it helps patients and hearing healthcare providers stay connected beyond the constraints of distance, time, and resources.

Do you have bone conduction patients who you would like to offer Oticon RemoteCare as an option? To learn more about the many exciting features in the Ponto 5 Mini and its many clinical benefits, including Oticon RemoteCare, please contact your regional Clinical Specialist.

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.

For more information on RemoteCare, please visit: https://www.oticon.com/support/remote-care

 

*RemoteCare App is available in the App® Store and Google Play™

Important Notice
Remote care is not a substitute for an in person fitting of a hearing aid. Providers must schedule in person appointments with their patients to confirm the fitting settings as soon as practical. RemoteCare is not a substitute for clinical judgment and does not make clinical determinations. Providers are responsible for programming the appropriate settings in RemoteCare pursuant to their own clinical judgment. Providers performing RemoteCare services must be licensed in the state in which the patient is located during the RemoteCare session or comply with the appropriate state’s telehealth rules during this global pandemic. It is solely the responsibility of the provider to determine and adhere to local licensing laws.

 

 

Introducing OpenSound Optimizer

OpenSound Optimizer™ (OSO) is a technological first to detect and prevent feedback from occurring. It is a transformative and multi-patented technology that controls Feedback Shield LX.[1] It is a new first line of defense against feedback buildup, which allows the second line of defense, the updated underlying feedback management system, more time to be precisely deployed when it is needed.

How does OpenSound Optimizer work?

The new OpenSound Optimizer defies conventional technology with a new, unique, and patented approach to feedback management.  OSO is proactive and can detect and prevent audible feedback from occurring.

The OpenSound Optimizer uses spectro-temporal modulation (STM) to disrupt the positive loop gain and break a potential feedback buildup before it occurs. It is designed to work as a proactive system that prevents audible feedback from occurring by monitoring the microphone input sound in 28 frequency channels, 56,000 times per second. A soft and non-intrusive spectro-temporal modulation is briefly applied in select frequency channels where there is a potential for feedback[1] and this effectively stops feedback as we know it before it occurs.

Spectro-temporal modulations are modulations or patterns that change over time and across the 28 frequency channels. The modulations can be seen on a spectrogram as a striped pattern in certain frequency regions where dark stripes indicate areas of low energy (figure below). These stripes show that the output is very briefly reduced. The low energy areas are extremely short (16ms), and they are followed by short periods (16ms) of fully restored gain. One low energy and one high energy period is equal to one 32ms cycle. It typically takes around 60ms for audible feedback to be fully detected and prevented in the system, which is different than traditional hearing aids that typically take 500ms or more to eliminate audible feedback instability in dynamic environments.[1]

Spectrogram showing the patented breaker signal made using STM

Premium sound without audible feedback

The benefit is that patients can enjoy the full dynamics of sound without having to worry about any unwanted sound interference, because the OpenSound Optimizer technology prevents audible feedback before it occurs.[2]

Optimal gain throughout the day

Traditionally, in order to prevent feedback with conventional technology, the system is reactive to audible feedback and the gain on the device is lowered, which means less than ideal sound for the user due to reduced access to sounds. With OpenSound Optimizer, users now benefit from stable gain throughout the day with no audible feedback, as the feedback is mitigated before it is about to occur. This provides an overall improvement in sound quality due to the increase in headroom, the additional available stable gain, and prevention of whistling.

More sound to the brain – an impact beyond better hearing

With BrainHearing™ technologies such as OpenSound Navigator™ and OpenSound Optimizer, patients now have access to more sound and higher signal integrity than ever before. A study conducted by Oticon using OPN S hearing aids with OpenSound Optimizer[1,2] has demonstrated 30% more speech cues throughout the day, improvement in speech understanding and reduction in listening effort, due to its feedback management algorithm.

Ponto 5 Mini bone conduction hearing system features OSO

Powered by the Velox S™ platform, OpenSound Optimizer enables Ponto 5 Mini users with 6 dB more gain without the risk of feedback.[1] This unique approach to feedback gives users a stable speech signal and more sound dynamics in their daily life. The Ponto 5 Mini provides more sound to the brain and a better listening experience for patients.

Do you have patients who still haven’t experienced the benefits of OpenSound Navigator, OpenSound Optimizer and other BrainHearing technologies? To learn more about the revolutionary Ponto 5 Mini sound processor and its many features, we are offering a one-hour CEU course through Audiology Online on October 27, 2021 at 12 PM Eastern (please click through link to register). For brochures and a product demonstration contact your regional clinical specialist.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

[1] Callaway 2019 INTRODUCTION TO OPENSOUND OPTIMIZER Oticon White Paper
[2] Data on file at Oticon Medical

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.

 

Introducing the First Sound Processor in the Ponto 5 Family

The World’s Smallest Sound Processor is still a Ponto.

Oticon Medical is excited to announce the Ponto™ 5 Mini. This sound processor is packed with new technology providing outstanding sound quality to Ponto recipients while preserving the design and functionality that recipients have come to admire and depend upon. The new Ponto 5 Mini sound processor has a revolutionary approach to feedback and gives patients access to hear sounds from all directions. Additionally, Oticon’s RemoteCare for Oticon Medical enables patients to have their Ponto 5 sound processor adjusted remotely from the comfort of their own home while offering professionals greater clinical efficiency.

More sound to the brain

BrainHearing™ has been the foundation of everything we do at Oticon Medical for more than 30 years. It is based on extensive research on how to optimally support the brain’s natural process while listening especially when the environment becomes challenging. This research has guided the development of Oticon Medical’s solutions and continues to do so. New research confirms that this open soundscape gives the brain what it needs to create a better listening experience. It has been proven to give better speech understanding with less listening effort.[1] With BrainHearing technologies such as OpenSound Navigator™ and OpenSound Optimizer™ in Ponto 5 Mini patients now have access to more sound than ever before.

Clinical evidence evaluating the open sound experience of OpenSound Navigator giving users access to 360° of sound has proven that it improves speech understanding by 21%.1 Other, more traditional, sound processors improve speech intelligibility by removing sound using technologies such as directionality and speech prioritization. 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%.1

Premium sound without audible feedback

Patients can enjoy the full dynamics of sound without having to worry about any unwanted sound interference because the OpenSound Optimizer technology in Ponto 5 Mini prevents audible feedback before it occurs.2

Historically, traditional feedback systems have only been able to overcome annoying whistling sounds by reducing gain and removing the dynamics of sound. While this certainly decreases feedback, it also reduces other sounds and can result in impaired speech understanding. The new OpenSound Optimizer in Ponto 5 defies conventional technology with a new, unique, and patented approach to feedback management. OpenSound Optimizer can detect and prevent audible feedback from occurring. This means you can fit patients with up to 6dB more gain without the risk of feedback.[2]

What does this mean for patients? Optimal gain throughout the day with no audible feedback, as the feedback is mitigated before it is about to occur. This provides an overall improvement in sound quality due to the increase in headroom, the additional available stable gain, and prevention of whistling.

Oticon RemoteCare

All aspects of Ponto 5 have been designed to make daily life easier for patients—including follow-up fitting. With the easy-to-use Oticon RemoteCare platform, they can now attend follow-up appointments and adjustments remotely. Recipients simply log into the Oticon RemoteCare app and attend an online fitting. Clinicians can adjust the patient’s program, create new programs, turn on features, and provide counseling using this intuitive platform.

Oticon RemoteCare saves travel time for patients, increases flexibility, and provides valuable insight into a patient’s home listening environment—all of which improve patient care.

The Ultimate in Reliability

The design of the Ponto 5 Mini has been extensively tested so you can be sure it meets the most stringent safety and quality standards. With this proven robustness, your users can rely on Ponto 5 Mini to deliver the performance they need, whatever their lifestyle.

To learn more about the revolutionary Ponto 5 Mini sound processor and its many features we are offering a one-hour CEU course through Audiology Online on October 27, 2021 at 12 PM Eastern (please click through link to register). For brochures and a product demonstration contact your regional clinical specialist.

About the Author

Carissa Moeggenberg is an audiologist who has worked with implantable technologies for 29 years. She is presently the Senior Manager of Clinical Training and Technical Services for Oticon Medical.

References

[1] Manuscript in preparation, Data on File - Clinical study BC102
[2] Data on file at Oticon Medical