Introducing Ponto Plus! New Bone-anchored Solution from Oticon Medical
Carolyn Smaka: Thanks for your time today, Alan. Tell me about Oticon Medical’s latest bone anchored solution.
Alan Raffauf: We’re excited to launch Ponto Plus. It is built on the latest signal-processing platform, the Inium platform, and includes wireless capabilities, using a streamer that works exclusively with Ponto products.
Carolyn: It’s nice to see that wireless technology has made its way from hearing aids to bone conduction devices.
Alan: Yes, consumers of bone-anchored solutions have been waiting for this. Now, they can stream their cellphone directly to their Ponto Plus. The streamer is also compatible with all the ConnectLine items, including ConnectLine TV, ConnectLine Phone for the landline, and the ConnectLine Microphone.
Carolyn: We know that people with single sided deafness (SSD) may use bone-anchored devices. Would they also benefit from wireless capabilities, or can they simply use their good ear for these functions?
Alan: There is no question that when we talk to end users of bone-anchored products, the first question they ask is when are we going to have wireless connectivity, and this includes both those with conductive hearing losses, as well as those with SSD.
From a professional standpoint, the needs of patients with SSD are often misunderstood, in my opinion. I think many people think patients with SSD have no problems using the telephone because they can just use their good ear. But when you talk to people who have SSD, they will tell you that when they use the telephone with their good ear, they feel completely shut out from their surroundings. They say that they would love to be able to stream their telephone directly to their Ponto device, and still use their good ear to pick up sounds in the environment just like people who do not have hearing loss.
Carolyn: That is true. If you use a telephone, your other ear is keeping you connected with the environment.
Alan: Exactly. Next time you use the telephone, plug your good ear. Typically, we will only do that in a very noisy environment. Otherwise you want to have your other ear open so you can hear a car coming, or so that you can hear someone talking to you or approaching you. Patients with conductive losses have the same type of request; to be able to use their phone without the use of a hard-wired adaptor or having to worry about touching their device with the telephone and causing feedback. All of those things are very high on the list of what patients want and we are happy to deliver with Ponto Plus.
As you know, hearing in noise is another critical issue for people with hearing loss, including those who use bone-anchored solutions. We know that the ConnectLine products are going to help a lot, because they have so many options. For those who are using FM systems, the streamer has a direct audio input port that the FM receiver plugs in to. For children in a school system, they can use the streamer as the host or connection point for their FM system.
In addition, the ConnectLine Microphone is a great low-cost alternative to a traditional FM system for patients who do not want to use an FM system. The ConnectLine Microphone is a small discreet clip-on microphone that enables the individual to hear their companion’s voice streamed to their bone-anchored device.
For telecoil use with the Ponto Plus, the telecoil is built into the streamer. The streamer then sends the telecoil signal wirelessly to the Ponto device. This allows the user access to telecoil signals, without having a telecoil antenna attached to the processor itself.
Ponto Plus and Ponto streamer.
Carolyn: Right. Other bone-anchored devices have a separate telecoil antenna on the processor to separate the telecoil and help prevent interference.
Alan: Exactly. And with the wireless streaming of the telecoil signal in Ponto Plus, there is no need for the external antenna on the processor.
Carolyn: In addition to the wireless capabilities of Ponto Plus, what are the other new features?
Alan: There is a new more powerful vibrator in the device. That will allow us to provide significantly more gain, particularly in the high frequencies for the user. You know the importance of high frequency information – it is the key to speech understanding, and Ponto Plus provides more gain in the higher frequencies. This is combined with a new state-of-the-art feedback system, which is very similar to the feedback systems we use in the new premium Oticon hearing instruments. It results in more functional gain for the wearer. It is one thing to be able to produce higher amounts of gain in the test box with a more powerful vibrator, but if that gain simply causes the device to feedback when worn in the real world, it does not do any good. With Ponto Plus, we can deliver more functional gain in the high frequencies in the real world as compared to our previous devices.
Ponto Plus Power.
Carolyn: How does it work if someone already has a Ponto and they want to upgrade?
Alan: We do recognize, especially with bone-anchored care, that you often order the processor with the surgery months before you actually get to wear it. There will be a significant amount of people going into Ponto surgery who have not even received their processor yet, and they will be able to upgrade to the Ponto Plus.
Carolyn: Thanks for the update, Alan. Best wishes for success with Ponto Plus.