Tag Archives: Oticon Medical

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.

 

 

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

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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.

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.

 

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

Presidential Perspective

Proud to be a Partner in the Recovery of Your Hearing Health Clinic

Congratulations! Your hearing healthcare practice survived the lockdown of 2020. Patients are finally showing up to address their hearing losses, but although you’ve reopened, you still aren’t operating at full capacity. Maybe you lost staff or sadly had to let some people go. Yet you still must provide your patients with the level of care and service they have come to expect from your business.

We get it. That’s why we have taken concrete steps to ensure you receive the extra support you need during this challenging transition back from 100 percent remote care to at least some in-person. I’d like to share with you just some of what we offer as extra benefits for partnering with Oticon Medical.

Direct patient services

We offer a direct-to-patient repair and accessory service, so you can help patients who are still unable to visit your clinic and to reduce the number of walk-ins. This is done in close cooperation with you to ensure regulatory compliance, traceability, and that the best hearing solution is provided to your patient.

The Ponto Loaner Program

As some elective surgeries remain on hold, Oticon Medical can offer demo processors and loaner devices for some of your patients. Those who are experiencing surgical delays can wear their Ponto™ on a softband while awaiting their procedure, and still enjoy many benefits of bone conduction hearing. Please contact your sales representative for details on this program.

Customer and Insurance Support Services

Oticon Medical’s Customer Service Team is available to answer patient inquiries during office hours Monday-Friday 8am-7pm ET. Please tell your patients to call (888) 277-8014. Outside of normal business hours or for patients who find phone calls challenging, we also have a dedicated email, info@oticonmedical.com, that is checked regularly throughout each day.

Additionally, we have a dedicated team of Insurance Specialists available to help your patients navigate their insurance benefits to determine and verify coverage of the costs of their surgery and/or sound processor. While the insurance process can be daunting, our team is here to make it is as easy as possible, for patients and your practice. Contact the team at (855) 400-9761 during normal business hours or by email at insuranceservices@oticonmedical.com.

Clinical support

You can request an Oticon Medical Clinical Support representative be present at your patient’s appointment in-person or via an online platform. Our audiology professionals can answer questions, offer advice, and guide your fitting. We can also train you and your staff in the use of our fitting software, Genie Medical.

Step-by-step support online

On our website, you will find the Support page for hearing healthcare professionals. Here you can find extensive resources and tools at your convenience, at any time, to guide you and your patients through the Assessment, Trial, Surgical, Healing, Sound Processor Attachment, and Aftercare phases.

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I hope this information makes you feel even more confident working with Oticon Medical as we work together to recover from the challenging (to put it mildly) 15-plus months. Of course, if you even have any questions, concerns, or just plain want additional help, please don’t hesitate to contact your local representative.

Supporting Early Access to Sound with the Ponto Loaner Program

Sound matters to everyone with a hearing loss but is critical to children who are in their formative years of speech and language development. Children need early stimulation of the inner ear (cochlea) for development of neural connections within the auditory cortex.  Oticon Medical’s Ponto Loaner Program is designed to ensure these children receive premium hearing care as soon as possible, while patiently waiting for third-party insurance approval. This month’s blog focuses on increasing awareness of this program and reviewing the enhancements that have been implemented.

Children ages 0-18 years of age who are candidates for a bone conduction hearing device are eligible for the Ponto Loaner Program at no cost to the families or clinic. Navigating the third-party reimbursement process for families of children with hearing loss can take several months. Our goal is to ensure that children requiring immediate hearing assistance have access to the technology needed for speech and language development while insurance reimbursement is secured.

The Ponto Loaner Program is an easily accessible and simple process for families to complete

We understand that families can feel overwhelmed as they begin the journey to better hearing for their child. We also know that hearing clinics have limited time and resources to spend on third-party insurance negotiations. This is where the services we provide at Oticon Medical can provide much needed support! Our Insurance Support Department has specialists available to guide families through the third-party reimbursement process and alleviate the burden placed on clinics.

So how does this program work?

The Ponto Loaner Program is an easy process to complete by either the parent(s) or clinic. The length of the loan period is three months from the date of shipment. During this three-month loan period we work with the family to secure reimbursement from their insurance provider for the Ponto sound processor and accessories. Making it easier on clinics, we empower families to take the lead with this program and hold ultimate responsibility for final payment of the product.

Components of the Ponto Loaner Program consist of a one-page order form from which the type and color of the sound processor(s) is selected as well as the color of the softband and additional accessories. The completed Ponto Loaner form can be emailed, faxed, or mailed to our Insurance Support Department for processing. Upon receipt and verification, we ship a new Ponto sound processor(s) with accessories to either the clinic or family depending on what was specified on the order form. The processor and accessories are exclusive to that child and cannot be transferred to another child.

Additional Ponto Loaner Program features include access to repair services and one-time loss and damage coverage should the family need it during the loaner period. Pediatric-friendly components to ensure product safety are also provided to the family. Once third-party reimbursement has been secured, the loaner program ends with the option to keep the sound processor and accessories already dispensed or to return them for a different color and/or style of sound processor. All program services are provided for free to our families and clinics.

What are the benefits of this program?

The program’s benefits to the child and their family include immediate access to advanced hearing technology, guidance, and support from our dedicated Insurance Support Department to secure third-party reimbursement and a lifelong service and technology commitment from Oticon Medical!

The advantages of the Ponto Loaner Program for the clinician include instant support for any child up to 18 years of age who is a candidate for a bone conduction hearing device, a simple streamlined process to obtain premium technology for the patient, and ongoing assistance to the clinic with their reimbursement needs.

To learn more about this program and begin benefiting from its features please contact your regional clinical specialist.

 About the Author

Carissa Moeggenberg is an audiologist who has worked in the hearing healthcare field for the past 29 years. She is presently the Training Manager for Oticon Medical.

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Presidential Perspective

Why We Launched Good Vibrations Day

On May 3, Oticon Medical launched the first Good Vibrations Day—a nonbranded annual holiday to raise awareness of bone anchored hearing as a solution to hearing losses that cannot be treated with air conduction hearing aids.

Note my use of nonbranded here. The point of this day is to inform people with hearing loss that an alternative to their partial or near-total deafness exists that they might not have known about. And while we are a business that manufactures such a product—the Ponto™ bone anchored hearing system (BAHS) —we are also a part of something much larger: the hearing healthcare community. As such, we consider it our responsibility and our privilege to spread the word about hearing treatment options to those who would benefit regardless of brand.

I can imagine what the cynical among you are thinking as you roll your eyes at your screen: “Sure, John. You don’t care whether this initiative drives Ponto sales. Sell me a bridge, why don’t you?”

Okay, fair enough. Obviously, I believe in our product and that it is the best option on the market. Why would I work for the company otherwise?

Nevertheless, Good Vibrations Day is not about pushing Ponto sales. A surprising number of people affected by hearing loss only know about traditional hearing aids and cochlear implants, which although highly effective treatments, are not universally suited to every form of hearing loss.

Thousands of people in the United States and abroad could be engaging in conversations with friends, listening to music, having an easier time learning in school and functioning at work. Imagine you are one of them, and because of Good Vibrations Day, discover a solution exists that could help you enjoy all the ease and pleasure access to sound provides. Wouldn’t you hop online and start researching all the bone anchored treatment options available? The opportunity to offer this hope to more human beings carries far deeper meaning, to me, than pushing product alone.

Ultimately, we are in the business of helping people. We can only do that if they know our treatment option exists. So, yes, even if our Good Vibrations Day efforts drive some individuals to seek treatment from a company other than ours, we’ll consider it a success.

Which is why we are not only hoping , but actively encouraging, our competitors to join us in celebrating next year’s Good Vibrations Day. Together, we can inform potential users and support audiology professionals in spreading the word about osseointegrated treatments and their effectiveness. The more people we reach who could benefit from bone anchored hearing, the greater the opportunity we will all have to improve lives. And yes, as a rising tide lifts all boats, increasing public awareness of bone anchored hearing solutions will ultimately benefit our entire industry, including our clinical customers.

Until next time,

John Sparacio, President, Oticon Medical US

Raising Awareness of Hearing Loss

To highlight and help increase awareness of hearing loss, this blog is dedicated to the efforts that surround the national campaign for May as Better Hearing and Speech Month. Hearing loss is ranked as one of the most common chronic health conditions that U.S. adults experience, affecting an estimated 48 million people nationwide. New polling released by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) reveals an overwhelming disconnect between the high value that Americans say they place on their hearing and their low willingness to be treated for any hearing loss. This has prompted a new public service announcement (PSA) campaign: Act Now on Hearing. This PSA will air nationwide for the next year educating Americans on the signs of hearing loss and guiding those affected to find care from a certified audiologist.

People with hearing loss often wait an average of seven years before seeking treatment. When left untreated, hearing loss has been linked to several other health problems, including social isolation and depression, cognitive decline, and increased stress levels. A 12-year study found that mild hearing loss doubled dementia risk, moderate loss tripled risk, and people with a severe hearing impairment were five times more likely to develop dementia (Lin, et al, 2011).

Additional statistics learned from a poll conducted by ASHA of nearly 2,500 adults ages 18 and older found:

  • 80% of Americans say maintaining their hearing heath is extremely important or very important to their quality of life.
  • Only 2 in 10 (20%) adults have had a hearing test in the past five years, compared with roughly 6 in 10 (61%) who have had their vision tested.
  • More than half (51%) of all adults reported having hearing problems, but only 11% of those respondents have sought treatment.
  • More than three-quarters (78%) of those with hearing problems have had these difficulties for one or more years—and over one-third (35%) have had trouble for five or more years.
  • A 42% plurality of Americans understand that mild hearing loss can impact a person’s life or daily functioning. Yet, more than half of those with untreated hearing problems (56%) say that they would be unlikely to treat it unless it was “severe.”

Click through for additional information on Attitudes and Actions Towards Hearing Health Survey Results findings from ASHA.

A global spotlight

The World Health Organization (WHO) released the first-ever World Report on Hearing projecting that by 2050, 2.5 billion people will be living with some degree of hearing loss. This translates into 1 in 4 people worldwide, at least 700 million of whom will require rehabilitation services.

Hearing loss can be addressed through effective and timely interventions. In children, almost 60% of hearing loss is due to causes that can be prevented through measures such as immunization, improved maternal and neonatal care, and screening for, and early management of, otitis media. In adults, legislation on noise control and safe listening, and surveillance of ototoxicity can help maintain hearing trajectories and reduce the potential for hearing loss.

Click through to learn more about the World Report on Hearing.

Take action now

It is important to act now for a variety reasons, but in particular the recent COVID-19 pandemic highlights the importance of hearing, which allows us to remain connected to others when social distancing and losing visual cues due to the use of masks.

As audiologists we have the platform to help increase awareness, motivate those struggling with hearing loss to take that initial step toward treatment, educate others on hearing technology and its benefits, and counsel each patient we treat on the importance of protecting our ears from loud noises.

How can you get involved?  Consider any of the following:

  • Volunteer to present to your local community on the effects of hearing loss.
  • Post the present statistics surrounding hearing loss and the benefits of hearing technology on your social media accounts.
  • Offer free hearing screenings at your facility.
  • Encourage your inner circle of friends and family to complete a basic hearing test.
  • Lead by example and treat your own ears with kindness by reducing exposure to loud noises.

If we each commit to doing one thing to help raise awareness together, we can make a difference!

 

References

Kochkin S & Rogin C.  Quantifying the Obvious: The Impact of Hearing Instruments on Quality of Life;  The Hearing Review, January 2000.

Lin FR, Metter EJ, O'Brien RJ, Resnick SM, Zonderman AB, Ferrucci L. Hearing loss and incident dementia. Archives of neurology. 2011; 68(2):214-20. NIHMSID: NIHMS336097 PubMed PMID: 21320988, PMCID: PMC3277836

American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) 2021. Attitudes and Actions Towards Hearing Health. Survey Results; www.asha.org

 World Health Organization (2021): Report on Hearing; www.who.int

About the Author:

Carissa Moeggenberg is an audiologist who has worked in the hearing healthcare field for the past 29 years. She is presently the Training Manager for Oticon Medical.

The Benefits of OpenSound Navigator in Children with Hearing Loss

Fitting children with advanced sound processing algorithms in their hearing devices is not always straightforward. Does the clinical evidence support it? Will it provide more access to all sounds, promote incidental learning, and improve speech understanding in challenging environments? These questions are frequently considered, and a conservative approach is often taken. Whereas, when fitting adults, there is typically clinical evidence to support advanced sound processing and they are better at reporting sound quality issues, so audiologists are more likely to take a less conservative fitting approach. However, if we take too much of a conventional approach with children, are we missing an opportunity to provide improvements in sound quality, hearing in noise, and reduced listening effort?

In 2019, OpenSound NavigatorTM was incorporated into the Ponto 4 sound processor. The success of this sound processing strategy had been seen in Oticon hearing aids with many research studies documenting the benefits provided to patients. So, what is unique about OpenSound Navigator that might provide optimal benefit for children with hearing loss?

OpenSound Navigator is a groundbreaking speech enhancement algorithm that preserves speech and reduces noise in complex sound environments. OpenSound Navigator operates as a holistic system that handles all sound environments from the quietest to the noisiest, by selectively reducing the dominant noise sources while preserving speech in all directions. OpenSound Navigator adapts seamlessly without modes or mode switches. Utilizing an omnidirectional beam that captures a 360° sound panorama of the environment along with a back-facing cardioid that estimates noise from the sides and back provides users with a natural sound experience.

Research has been conducted in children using OpenSound Navigator. Browning et al, 2019 demonstrated OpenSound Navigator improves speech recognition in noise for children. In fact, with speech to the front and noise from behind, OpenSound Navigator provided an average 5 dB SNR improvement as compared to an omnidirectional microphone. Elaine Ng, 2017 further demonstrated that OpenSound Navigator reduces perceived listening effort during a speech recognition task. This benefit is particularly important because hearing loss imposes increased fatigue and effort as experienced by children. Oticon Medical’s BrainHearing™ technology is designed to support the unique day-to-day challenges and developmental needs of children. Together with hearing technology prescribed according to best practice, OpenSound Navigator delivers an optimized speech signal and hence provides these children with the optimal conditions to listen and learn.

Based on the supporting research, we recommend the fitting of OpenSound Navigator in a child’s Ponto™ 4 sound processor starting at one year of age. From ages one to four years, we suggest OpenSound Navigator is active with the transition set to low, and then as the child ages to four years and older, the transition can be adjusted to medium or high similar to adult recommendations. These are the default pediatric settings incorporated into Genie Medical (2019) fitting software. To summarize, unlike conventional directionality and noise reduction technology, OpenSound Navigator does not require children to look directly at the talker the whole time to enjoy better speech understanding in noise. Young listeners may move around freely and can still experience the benefits of OpenSound Navigator.

Another important feature of OpenSound Navigator is that it preserves interfering speech coming from different directions. This new technology allows access to other talkers in the environment, which is fundamental to incidental learning for school-age children.

The groundbreaking technology of OpenSound Navigator marks a breakthrough in the development of speech enhancement systems. It is not only designed to improve acoustics at the child’s ears, but also to facilitate the brain’s own processing. It does not isolate the front talker but preserves access to all talkers. Its accurate and fast spatially informed noise estimator allows the Balance module to selectively attenuate noise sources at given locations. The Noise Removal module removes the remaining noise even between words. OpenSound Navigator opens many possibilities for new pediatric users.

To learn more about the clinical evidence supporting OpenSound Navigator in children we encourage you to register for our upcoming training on April 21, 2021 or reach out to your regional clinical specialist.

About the Author

Carissa Moeggenberg is an audiologist who has worked in the hearing healthcare field for the past 28 years. She is presently the Training Manager for Oticon Medical.

 

References:

Jenna M. Browning, Emily Buss, Mary Flaherty, Tim Vallier, and Lori J. Leibolda American Journal of Audiology Vol. 28, 101–113, March 2019

Elaine Ng, E. 2017. Benefits of OpenSound Navigator in children. Oticon Whitepaper.

Genie Medical (2019) Fitting Software