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Oticon Medical

Contributed by , director of Healthy Hearing

Oticon Medical is a specific branch of the parent company Oticon that focuses on providing hearing impaired patients with implantable hearing solutions. The company has more than a century's worth of experience in the field of audiology and sound processing devices, and it continues to pioneer innovative strategies designed to limit the difficulties experienced by individuals with hearing loss.

Oticon Medical produces a series of devices that utilize the latest in hearing implant technology. Their unique role as an offshoot of Oticon gives staff members access to the unique knowledge, resources and technology required to better the hearing capabilities of patients and drive research into new frontiers of hearing treatments and therapies.

Oticon Medical's philosophy

Oticon Medical
Oticon Medical has decades of experience in 
hearing care solutions. 

One of the core beliefs of Oticon Medical is that every piece of medical equipment and treatment devices should be designed with patients' needs in mind. The company's "People First" philosophy was one of the foundational pillars established by Oticon Medical's parent company way back in the early stages of the 20th century, and it continues to be a driving force for success to this day. Every product created by the talented minds at Oticon Medical - which includes sound processors, surgical components, support tools or many other pieces of medical equipment used for the hearing impairment - are designed based on the specifications of real people.

The other key belief held by the Oticon Medical is that patients have the right to choose the best overall system for their unique needs. While bone-anchored hearing systems may be the first choice for some, Oticon Medical believes that its work is never finished until all hearing impaired individuals can feel comfortable and happy with their unique hearing solution.

History of Oticon Medical 

Oticon Medical is a subsidiary of the Oticon brand, which has been at the forefront of innovative hearing care since 1904. Founder Hans Demant first established the company as a way to help his wife, Camilla, deal with her hearing loss. After years of searching for a feasible solution to his wife's impairment, Demant finally stumbled upon "the royal hearing aid" in 1903, which was developed for Alexandra, Princess of Wales. He journeyed across the North Sea to retrieve one for Camilla, which subsequently spurred the growth of the Oticon brand. 

Oticon Medical was first established as a sister company of the original Oticon company, which now falls under the umbrella entity known as the William Demant Holding Group. The focus of this new business facet was on discovering and pioneering new ways to approach hearing aids and implants. Today, Oticon Medical utilizes the vast collections of data, resources and knowledge gathered over many years by Oticon and later by the William Demant Holding Group to provide patients who've experienced hearing loss with the equipment they need to lead a normal and active life. 

Oticon Medical's focus

The primary devices produced by Oticon Medical are known as bone-anchored hearing systems, which were developed by Dr. Anders Tjellström at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg - where Oticon Medical is based. These devices are a unique form of hearing device that utilize bone conduction technology to improve a patient's ability to hear or discern between similar sounds and frequencies. These specific implants must be surgically attached to the skull - behind the ear - where they can then transmit sound through direct conduction methods through the bone into the inner ear. Through bypassing the organic mechanisms of the outer ear canal and middle ear cavity, bone-anchored hearing systems can effectively provide patients with a representation of original sounds even if their outer or middle ear has sustained damage or injury.

The Ponto System

Oticon Medical produces a full range of bone anchored sound processors, wireless accessories, implant and surgical components and fitting software for its Ponto System. These components are renowned for their optimal audio quality and allow users to more effectively understand conversation and promote more comfortable listening capabilities even under the most extreme or noisy circumstances. All facets of the Ponto System are designed to ensure and deliver successful systems to the hearing impaired. The following are the main products featured in this unique system: 

  • Ponto Streamer: This component works in combination with the Ponto Plus sound processor to transmit audio sources wirelessly to your bone-anchored hearing devices. One example of this incredible technology is the way in which it can interact with your cell phone. Upon receiving a call, the device effectively turns your sound processor into a wireless headset, which allows patients to better understand conversation via telephone. The Ponto Streamer works in a similar fashion with other types of devices, such as MP3 players or personal computers, and it can also connect to outside systems found in movie theaters, lecture halls or other public venues for more efficient hearing and optimal sound quality. 
  • OptiGrip: This original design feature found on Oticon Medical's implant devices helps improve overall stability and functionality of bone-anchored hearing devices and implants. The unique geometric design allows for maximum contact with the surface of the bone, which ultimately allows for greater conductivity between the bone and the hearing implant. 
  • OptiFit: The OptiFit feature is another design element used to better adhere a bone-anchored hearing system to a patient's head. It describes the variances between different abutments, which are used as the foundation for the implants. Oticon Medical understands that one size certainly does not fit all in the realm of hearing aids and implants, and works hard to create systems that can be used by a wider demographic of patients all over the world. These abutments are sized specifically based on the patient, and help to minimize friction between the device and the skin. The design also limits the development of pockets that can become a breeding ground for bacteria and other microscopic invaders.
  • PontoPlus: The PontoPlus category of sound processors offer a powerful yet compact design that provides maximum sound quality without being overly conspicuous. These devices are built using the Inium platform, which combines a powerful transducer, the innovative Inium feedback shield and the latest Bluetooth 2.4-GHz wireless technology. In addition to the top-of-the-line components, these little processors present a robust design that will be able to stand up under the most extreme circumstances. Best of all, these devices can be fully customized to better represent you as an individual!

Lastly, all components of the Ponto System are based around the Brånemark principle. The principle describes the unique characteristics of titanium and the way it is able to merge seamlessly with human bone - a process known as osseointegration. This incredible discovery was made by Professor Per-Ingvar Brånemark in the 1950s, and is now applied to a wide range of medical and dental products.

Nearly every implant designed by the Oticon Medical team utilizes this link between bone and titanium, which allows for a better anchor in the skull. The titanium abutments are designed in a way that fosters bone growth around the implant area, which effectively seals the skull following the completion of a procedure. The ensuing fit can be incredibly tight, which helps hearing implants convey vibrations through the bone more effectively.

Continuing education with Oticon Medical 

While Oticon Medical prides itself on being a leader amid the hearing technology world, the company also wants to share its revolutionary ideas and concepts with the public. Oticon Medical provides a number of online courses that hearing professionals can take to better develop their audiology practices. Topics covered in their courses include things like surgical considerations for pediatric bone-anchored hearing solutions, protocols for fitting Ponto products, and microtia/aural atresia. 

This content was last reviewed on: July 7th, 2014

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