Being a teenager is a fun, but it can be hard work too. Andrew Perry, a 14-year-old born with Treacher Collins and Bilateral Microtia and Atresia, has conductive hearing loss in both ears making participation, working in groups of students and hearing class lectures even more draining than it can already be.
“Straining to hear can make someone with a hearing loss tired throughout the day,” says Melissa Tumblin, Founder of Ear Community. The background noise common in rooms full of students made concentration difficult for Andrew. Clyde, Andrew’s father, said that Andrew’s academic performance had declined significantly, and he believed it was because of the difficulty of hearing and following instructions in the classroom.
Here’s how an Audiologist went the extra mile for Andrew, as first told on Ear Community.
In the middle of winter, it’s always fun to look ahead to the summer. Summer time also means it’s time for Ear Community’s Microtia and Atresia Summer Family Picnics. The picnics provide an incredible opportunity for Microtia and Atresia families to come together, share experiences and make new friends. Medical professionals also join in the fun and are available to answer questions and help to educate families on options for hearing loss. Families will even be able to test out the newest state-of-the-art hearing products.
A couple of months ago we held the first ever Oticon Medical Patient Advocacy Workshop. While events in the past have focused on gathering and getting to know each other, this event focused on bettering the experience for those who need or will need bone anchored hearing systems in the future.
The top concern included education for those who were experiencing the world of bone anchored hearing for the fist time. Ponto wearers and families shared that they felt frustrated at the beginning of their journey, because they didn’t get all of the information they needed outright— it took research, time and, in many cases, probing to get answers from professionals. The statement “I wish I would have known what questions to ask” is something that we heard from the group more than once. Kelley Dwyer, an Audiologist who joined our group along with her brother Derek, who got his Ponto Plus and the Ponto Streamer earlier this year, also mentioned that it’d be helpful for Audiologists if patients had more access to information and a set of questions too.
Many people in the group mentioned that they didn’t know that there were options when it came to choosing a bone anchored hearing device. For some, it took years to make the realization and in some cases, it lead to surgery for a new abutment to make a switch.
We’re working to fulfill the needs we uncovered and develop the ideas the group had from the workshop. Today, we’re asking for your help to bring one of those ideas to life.
What would any 6-year-old boy say about being featured in a comic book? “It’s awesome,” said Anthony Smith about being the inspiration for the Marvel superhero “Blue Ear.”
Anthony has been through a winding journey in the quest to help him hear. As part of that journey, Anthony’s mother, Christina D’Allesandro, even helped him become a comic book superhero.
Early on, Anthony realized that other kids his age, and more importantly, superheroes in comic books and on television, didn’t wear “Blue Ears,” the nickname his family gave his hearing device. This made Anthony feel different than other children. His mother, Christina, assured him that superheroes did wear hearing devices too. Although she didn’t know for sure if she could find such superheroes, Christina didn’t stop at just saying they exist.
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.”
Happy Back to School season! This time of year, we see many questions about FM systems in the classroom. Recently, a Ponto user and advocate sent this question our way. So, we wanted to take the opportunity to share an answer from one of our top Audiologists.
Here’s the question:
“Does anyone have any experience with FM systems? My son is in the first grade, and he has bilateral BAHAs. The school ordered the Amigo for him over the summer, at that time he had the slightly older model Ponto (the Pro I believe). He had surgery to place abutments over summer and to our surprise we received two new hearing aids with the surgery. I also got a Streamer. The Amigo isn’t wireless and doesn’t seem to be as compatible with the Ponto Plus as the Streamer.
Does anyone have experience with the different FM systems especially in the classroom setting?
I have been told in the past that when FM is on, the hearing aid only picks up sound transmitted to microphone and blocks all other surrounding sound and I have been told that isn’t true. Neither of these people used the FM themselves. Can anyone who has a BAHA share?”
Enter one of Oticon Medical’s top Audiologists, Laura Phelps. Here’s Laura’s answer: