Three Rivers Health and Dr. Doug Raedy D.O. recently teamed up to become the first in all of southwest Michigan to perform a Ponto Surgery, which is a bone anchored hearing implant surgical procedure specifically utilizing the Ponto technology. Bone anchored hearing aid systems are used to help people overcome hearing loss. The process involves a minor surgery to place a small titanium implant in the bone behind the ear.
“This was specifically designed for a patient with single-sided hearing,” noted Dr. Raedy. “Deafness can be due to a variety of reasons. So a patient with a nerve injury or conductive loss that has rendered them deaf in one ear is a candidate for this surgery.”
Steve Wills, RN and Midwest Regional Manager for Oticon Medical, the developer of the Ponto implant hearing aid device, further elaborated on the implant technology.
“This technology is a system that works through bone conduction and it takes acoustic sound and converts it to a mechanical vibration and allows the patient to hear that sound again,” revealed Wills. “What the patient experienced at Three Rivers Health through Dr. Raedy, is what’s called a Minimally Invasive Ponto Surgery (MIPS) and it’s the very first surgical procedure of its kind that has ever been done in this portion of the State of Michigan.”
The recipient of this specific surgical procedure, was previously not able to process any sounds out of one of their ears. Now, sounds will be “naturally processed” according to Wills.
Sound is essentially sent through the skull to the good ear and that allows the recipient to pick up sounds very naturally from the side of the good ear. The implant ultimately integrates with the bone. Where it had once been very difficult to hear from the side of the bad ear in larger group settings or family gatherings for example, the recipient of the bone anchored hearing system will now be able to hear very efficiently.
“Regardless of how the hearing loss occurred, the sound goes through an implant which is embedded in your bone behind the ear and is transmitted to your good ear,” explained Dr. Raedy. ”This advancement in technology makes the Ponto superior to its competitor and can only be placed at Three Rivers Health at this time.”
The Ponto uses Direct Sound Transmission to capture sounds around you, transmitting them through the abutment via the skull bone, directly to the inner ear and to the brain. This avoids dampening of the sound as it travels through the skin, which is a common problem with band or magnet solutions.
“This implant binds to bone and protrudes through the skin like a snap of a shirt, to which a processor is attached,” cites Dr. Raedy. “The processor receives all the sounds and distributes it through the bone to either the same side or opposite side. This bone anchored hearing aid surgical procedure is also currently covered by insurance.”