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Oticon Plus Power - World's Smallest 13 Power BTE, on the New Inium Sense Platform

Don Schum, PhD

November 23, 2015

Interview with Don Schum, Vice President of Audiology and Professional Relations, Oticon

Carolyn: Don, Oticon recently launched Plus Power, a new device in the Performance line.  Who is a candidate for Plus Power?


Don:   Plus Power was designed for people with severe hearing loss.  We believe it’s going to be a huge success in this category because the gain and output is the highest we’ve ever been able to achieve with a 13 battery. It is a surprisingly small case for the amount of gain and output; it has an MPO of 133 dB SPL and peak full-on gain of 67 dB.

The Plus Power uses our approach of delivering direct amplification across a full bandwidth of the patient’s audiogram. It is a continuation of our approach and our philosophy of trying to get the most out of the patient’s hearing using direct amplification.

Since it has a much smaller body case and is much more discreet, we believe it will become very popular with patients.  It also has a very good low frequency response, so we believe there will be a very big place for this product within that category of patients with severe hearing loss.

If the hearing care professional is confident that the hearing loss is stable and that the patient is not needing Speech Rescue, our frequency lowering technology that is offered in the new super power devices Dynamo and Sensei SP, then Plus Power is a great option for people with severe hearing loss who want to get the most out of their residual hearing.

Carolyn:  How is the battery life?

Don:  Battery life and current drain have been optimized in all of our Performance line devices, and the battery life is within what is standard and acceptable for a size 13 device.  As you know, there are many factors that impact exact battery life like wear time, the types of sound environments people are in, and others.

 Alta2 Plus Power with micro mold

Alta2 Plus Power with micro mold.

Carolyn: What are the key features in Plus Power?

Don: Plus Power is built on the Inium Sense platform, which features best-in-class feedback cancellation. People with severe hearing loss are at risk for feedback, simply because of the gain they require for daily listening.

The feedback system in Plus Power is able to predict, identify, and then cancel feedback at a very rapid rate. It also uses classic feedback cancellation approaches including frequency shifting and then momentary gain control. All in all, it is a highly effective system.

Plus Power also includes the Oticon approach to personalization.  You cannot treat people with severe hearing loss with a one-size-fits all approach when it comes to amplification.  In living with severe hearing loss, each individual has typically prioritized his or her needs from amplification – from audibility, to comfort, to lifestyle concerns, and others.  There is more variability in this group than in those with lesser degrees of hearing loss.

So, we’ve built a new level of personalization in to the fitting software.  When it comes to the operation of the devices, the specifics of signal processing, and the specifics of connectivity, we have empowered hearing care professionals to most effectively address the needs of each patient. 

In addition, the software for Plus Power supports bimodal fitting.  We recognize that cochlear implants (CI) may be indicated for people with severe and profound hearing loss.  If Plus Power is fit contralaterally with a CI on the other side, the software can optimize the settings and features accordingly.

Carolyn:  How do the hearing aid settings differ when the hearing aid is used in a bimodal fitting with a cochlear implant on the other side, versus when it is used in a monaural or binaural hearing aid fitting?

Don:  If a person is using a CI, the CI will typically provide his or her primary access to the speech signal.   Studies show that the contralateral hearing aid in a bimodal fitting often does provide benefit by way of environmental awareness, sound quality and loudness perception.  We’ve created a streamlined approach in the software to optimize the hearing aid settings to achieve these ends in bimodal fittings.

Alta2 Plus Power in silver grey

Alta2 Plus Power in silver grey.

Carolyn: Is the full ConnectLine portfolio available with Plus Power?

Don:  Yes, absolutely. People with severe hearing loss are generally very interested in connectivity options due to their listening needs.  With ConnectLine, the tangible benefits are immediately apparent and can be easily demonstrated in the office.  The full connectivity portfolio is available to complement Plus Power hearing aids. 

Carolyn: Where can professionals go for more info or training on Plus Power?

Don:   We invite professionals to contact their Oticon rep and schedule time to meet with one of our account managers or one of our trainers. We also will have multiple courses offered on AudiologyOnline for CEU credit, and shorter 10-15 minute courses on individual topics - access our online course library here. That way, if a hearing care professional is scheduled to see a patient and work with Plus Power, and just wants a quick review of a feature like bimodal fitting for example, they can easily and conveniently get up to speed.

Carolyn: Thanks Don – I appreciate your time for these fall launch conversations - an overview of all the new products can be found here, and more details about the super power devices, Dynamo and Sensei SP can be found here.  I hope professionals have found them helpful in learning what’s new from Oticon. 

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don schum

Don Schum, PhD

Vice President, Audiology and Professional Relations

Don Schum currently serves as Vice President for Audiology & Professional Relations for Oticon, Inc.  In that capacity, Don has the responsibility to create and implement new Audiological training material, oversee the Audiological training of all employees, develop dispenser support materials and tools, conduct clinical research, and participate in national and international conferences.  Previous to his position at Oticon in Somerset, Don served as the Director of Audiology for the main Oticon office in Copenhagen Denmark.  In addition, he served as the Director of the Hearing Aid Lab at the University of Iowa School of Medicine (1990-1995) and as an Assistant professor at the Medical University of South Carolina (1988-1990).  During his professional career, Don has been an active researcher in the areas of Hearing Aids, Speech Understanding, and Aging.  Don received his B.S. in Speech & Hearing Science from the University of Illinois, his M.A. in Audiology from the University of Iowa, and his Ph.D. in Audiology from Louisiana State University.

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