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Expanding the Potential of the Polaris Platform to Benefit More Patients

Virginia Ramachandran, AuD, PhD

March 18, 2022
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Interview with Virginia Ramachandran, AuD, PhD, Head of Audiology, Oticon, Inc., on expanding the potential of the Polaris platform to benefit more patients.

 

AudiologyOnline: What sets the Polaris platform apart from other hearing aid operating systems?

Virginia Ramachandran, AuD, PhD: Polaris is the world’s first platform featuring an on-board Deep Neural Network, trained on millions of real-life sound scenes. It is designed to provide users access to clear sound scenes in which the meaningful sounds are in balance and stand out from the background. This fundamentally new approach to sound processing is supported by an innovative rapid and high-resolution amplification strategy to ensure important sound details are delivered to the brain. Users are better able to focus on what matters to them, without losing track of meaningful sounds happening around them.

AudiologyOnline: What Oticon hearing solutions feature the Polaris platform?

Virginia Ramachandran, AuD, PhD: The Polaris platform is the backbone of Oticon More™, which has been overwhelmingly well received by hearing care professionals and patients.  We continue to expand the Oticon More family with two new discreet miniBTE styles. The new miniBTEs offer the superior sound quality of Oticon More and are perfect for patients who need a small BTE, with the option of rechargeable and non-rechargeable styles.  The miniBTE R uses a reliable lithium-ion battery for a full day of battery life*, including streaming, after just 3.5 hours of charging with the standard desktop charger or the optional portable SmartCharger. The miniBTE T uses disposable zinc air batteries and comes with an LED-light for easy handling. Both new miniBTE styles feature a telecoil and a double push-button. 

AudiologyOnline: Will you expand the Polaris platform to patients who want an essential hearing aid?

Virginia Ramachandran, AuD, PhD: Yes, the new Oticon Zircon – also built on the Polaris platform - brings the open sound experience to the essential hearing aid category for the first time. Using OpenSound Navigator™, Speech Guard™ and SuperShield, this essential hearing aid builds on Oticon’s BrainHearing™ philosophy to provide a superb listening experience for people with hearing loss, even in noisy environments**. Featuring 2.4GHz Bluetooth® low energy technology, Oticon Zircon offers a range of connectivity options and a choice of rechargeable and non-rechargeable styles, performance levels and fitting ranges.

AudiologyOnline: Is the Polaris platform available in a pediatric solution?

Virginia Ramachandran, AuD, PhD: The Polaris platform also powers a first in the pediatric category. Oticon Play PX is the world’s first pediatric hearing aid with an on-board Deep Neural Network. This new hearing solution was trained on 12 million real-life sound scenes and learned to recognize sounds through experience, the way children’s brains do naturally. Play PX offers the level of flexibility, connectivity, styles and colors to fit children’s active lifestyles. It is available in rechargeable and non-rechargeable styles and compatible with a wide range of connectivity options for enhanced learning and communication.

AudiologyOnline: What other benefits can we expect from Oticon hearing aids built on the Polaris platform?

Virginia Ramachandran, AuD, PhD: All Oticon solutions powered by the Polaris platform are Made for iPhone® and compatible with select Android™ devices for direct streaming. Patients with an iPhone or iPad can now use Oticon hearing aids on the Polaris platform to make or receive hands-free phone or video calls.  For existing Oticon More hearing aids, the 2-way hands-free communication is available via a firmware update made by the hearing care professional.

AudiologyOnline: Where can we learn more about Oticon hearing solutions powered by Polaris?

Virginia Ramachandran, AuD, PhD: You can learn more about the newest additions to the Oticon More family at  https://www.oticon.com/professionals/brainhearing-technology/more-technology.  Learn more about Oticon Zircon and Oticon Play PX at https://www.oticon.com/professionals.

* Lithium-ion performance varies depending on hearing loss, lifestyle and streaming behavior.

 **OpenSound Navigator and Speech Guard are only available in Zircon 1.

Hands-free communication is available with iPhone 11 or later, iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th generation and 4th generation), iPad Pro 11-inch (3rd generation and 2nd generation), iPad Air (4th generation), and iPad mini (6th generation), with software updates iOS 15.2 and iPadOS 15.2 or later.

Android™, Google Play, and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google LLC.

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virginia ramachandran

Virginia Ramachandran, AuD, PhD

Virginia Ramachandran is the Head of Audiology at Oticon, Inc. Dr. Ramachandran spent a decade at the Henry Ford Medical Group as a Senior Staff Clinical Audiologist and Research Coordinator of the Division of Audiology. She was also the Clinical Educational Coordinator of the AuD program at Wayne State University.

Dr. Ramachandran is currently the immediate past president of the American Academy of Audiology. She has also served as President of the Michigan Academy of Audiology and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Accreditation Commission for Audiology Education.

Dr. Ramachandran is a co-author of three textbooks and numerous articles and book chapters. She currently serves on the Audiology Editorial Board of Plural Publishing, Inc.

Virginia earned her BSW, MSW, AuD, and PhD from Wayne State University. She studied Instructional Systems Development at the University of Maryland – Baltimore County. She completed her certificate program in Animal Audiology at the University of Northern Colorado. She is a Certificate Holder – Audiology Preceptor from the American Board of Audiology.



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