Tag Archives: Presidential Perspective

Presidential Perspective

2022 Training Opportunities for Hearing Care Professionals

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

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

Live training Covid-19 safety guidelines

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

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

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

Upcoming New Product Training

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

Oticon Medical’s 2022 AAA Course Offerings

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

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

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

Audiology Online Oticon Medical Courses

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

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

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

Presidential Perspective

3 Tips for Cultivating a Strong Network of Advocates

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

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

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

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

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

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

2.  Provide customer service that exceeds expectations

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

3.  Show your passionate consumers lots of love

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

The bottom line…

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

Presidential Perspective

Hearing Industry Events are Coming Back

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

There is no true substitute for live events

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

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

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

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

What you can look forward to from Oticon Medical in 2022

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

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

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

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

Presidential Perspective

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

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

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

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

Starting down the path to improved hearing

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

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

A common goal makes Oticon Medical your partner of choice

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

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

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

Now introducing an even better patient surgical experience: MONO

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

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

References

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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.

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

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.

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