Kevin Hotaling is a sophomore at Stonehill College who got his Ponto Plus on October 13, 2014. When we saw the video of Kevin’s activation, we just had to meet him. We knew you’d feel the same.
So, here’s Kevin to tell you a bit of his story:
I originally found out about Ponto through one of my mother’s coworkers. She didn’t have the Ponto, but she had a very similar bone anchored hearing aid procedure done, and she’s had results that were nothing short of stellar. I was nervous originally. Although surgery was nothing new to me, the idea of someone drilling into my skull was very unsettling. In addition to that, I hadn’t heard of any people my age who had ever gotten the procedure done. I had only ever heard of adults and small children owning the system, never a teenager. I was given the opportunity to test the device using a headband, and immediately, I noticed a massive difference in my hearing quality.
Last weekend was one of our favorites of the year. We gathered over 20 patient families from all around the United States at our U.S. headquarters in Somerset, New Jersey. While we spent plenty of time talking, laughing, sharing stories and tears, we came together to work—to work on building a better future for those who have yet to begin their journeys in getting Bone Anchored Hearing Systems.
On Saturday, we came together for a full day of design thinking workshops that asked two key questions:
How can we make the road easier for those who are starting their journey?
What’s are next things we’ll do as advocates, if the sky’s the limit?
The strength of the bond between siblings is hard to define. The love we feel for our brothers and sisters is unconditional, and in some cases, truly inspiring to others. Brother and sister Derek and Kelley Dwyer are an example of inseparable siblings who would do anything to help each other.
As you may already know if you spend time with us here on the blog or on Facebook or Twitter, our friends at Ear Community, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, help people born with Microtia and Atresia, which results in hearing loss. Through donations, they provide equipment and services to help those suffering from these limitations to gain a greater ability to hear and communicate with others.
Ear Community recently shared the story of Derek Dwyer and his sister Dr. Kelley Dwyer. Derek Dwyer is a 22-year-old computer engineering and graphic design major at Gwinnett Technical College. He’s a passionate fan of music and technology. The youngest of three siblings, Derek was born with Nager Syndrome and bilateral Microtia and Atresia. Microtia and Atresia have contributed to hearing loss for Derek, making it difficult to listen in lectures and communicate with others in school.
His sister, Dr. Kelley Dwyer recently graduated with her doctorate in Audiology and serves as a pediatric audiologist at Pediatric ENT of Atlanta. She has studied and worked tirelessly to help her brother, who serves as a source of motivation to her. “Derek has been my biggest inspiration in life…he defies the expectations of a special needs person and knows no boundaries to his capabilities.”
After discovering Ear Community and the opportunity for equipment that would assist her brother in his transition into college life, Dr. Dwyer applied. “Derek never asks for anything, so I am going to ask for him.”
Note: Mark Ruffalo is not a Ponto user, and he is not endorsing Oticon Medical’s products. He has gone through the experience of having an acoustic neuroma– that’s why we are sharing his incredible story.
There’s a number of Bone Anchored Hearing System users who have been through the experience of overcoming an Acoustic Neuroma. The diagnosis can be shocking and overwhelming. Today, we’re shedding more light on Acoustic Neuromas with information from the Acoustic Neuroma Association— including an incredible video account of actor Mark Ruffalo’s experience.
First things first, what is an Acoustic Neuroma? According to the Acoustic Neuroma Association: “An acoustic neuroma, known as a vestibular schwannoma, is a benign (non-cancerous) growth that arises on the eighth cranial nerve leading from the brain to the inner ear. This nerve has two distinct parts, one part associated with transmitting sound and the other with sending balance information to the brain from the inner ear. The eighth nerve, along with the facial or seventh cranial nerve, lie adjacent to each other as they pass through a bony canal called the internal auditory canal. This canal is approximately 2 cm (0.8 inches) long. It is generally here that acoustic neuromas originate from the sheath surrounding the eighth nerve. The seventh or facial nerve provides motion to the muscles of facial expression.”
Acoustic Neuromas are typically slow growing over time. Continued tumor growth that goes untreated may threaten neurological function and even life. The treatment options are observation, surgical removal or radiation.
Actor Mark Ruffalo knows the experience of having an Acoustic Neuroma all too well. After having a nightmare about having a brain tumor, Mark went to the doctor knowing his request for an MRI would sound paranoid. But to everyone’s surprise, except for Mark, he was right.
We commonly get questions about the differences in various hearing solutions. It’s important to note that there are different options based on individual conditions and needs. The same solution isn’t right for everyone. While Oticon Medical currently specializes in bone anchored hearing systems, we’re here to help you navigate your options.
Today, we’re going to look at the differences between Cochlear Implants and Bone Anchored Hearing Systems. To do so, we brought in Oticon Medical’s Clinical Regional Manager and one of our top Audiologists, Alison Sabbar.