What are the steps involved in the trial process of a Ponto System?
Patients considering a bone-anchor solution for their hearing loss have many options. And as clinicians, as we begin this process of discussing patient choices, there are many factors that patients often consider including the style of sound processor, the surgical features, the wearing comfort, the cosmetic appeal, but I think oftentimes candidates often overlook or undervalue those intangible benefits of better hearing, of providing that rich sound quality without distortion or feedback. That's so important for them to hear well in everyday environments.
The trial process is very different for adults versus children. For an adult, it typically is an acute simulation completed just in one appointment. Typically, the clinician has demo product available that they can fit at the appointment on a test band and do some verification measures in a sound booth using a test protocol. They can also administer a subjective questionnaire to the patient. It helps with counseling to do this type of acute simulation. We don't see very often where adults actually take that Ponto device outside the clinic and wear it for a period of time.
For children, non-surgical intervention process can be done over a matter of years until the child meets that minimum age requirement. It's typically done with a soft band fitting. The clinician can utilize a report measure with the parents that allow us to monitor a skills checklist, this tool provides a baseline of where the child is before they're fit with a Ponto device and then after. Following the baseline testing, patients are seen back quite often for follow-up testing and monitoring with their device until they're at that age when the surgeon and the audiologists feel comfortable to move forward to that surgical option. Some of the clinical tools and resources that we encourage you to have available for patients first fitting or a patient trial is the actual processor itself to have some sort of a way to verify whether that's through a skull simulator or a test protocol, that the device is fit appropriately. This test protocol provides a nice way to compare devices or to look at unaided versus aided benefits with the bone conduction device. We do encourage the use of a subjective questionnaire or some sort of parent-report measure.
This Ask the Expert is an excerpt from Counseling Patients through the Ponto Trial Journey: Benefits of Direct Sound Transmission. For more information, visit oticonmedical.com/us or visit Oticon Medical's Partner Page on AudiologyOnline.