Somerset, NJ — Preliminary results of the first independent study of differences in two new bone conduction sound processors indicate that Oticon’s new Ponto Pro Bone Conduction Sound Processor shows an increased benefit for people with conductive or mixed hearing loss.

The study, initiated and conducted with no outside funding or grants, was conducted by Steen Ostergaard Olsen, Henrik Glad and Lars Holme Nielsen of the Research Laboratory, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery, University Hospital, Rigshospitalet. Denmark. The facility is a specialty hospital and reportedly Denmark’s largest educational institution for medical science programs. 

The study presented involved individuals with conductive and mixed hearing loss who were first time users of bone anchored hearing systems. Twelve subjects with conductive and mixed hearing loss tested each device for an average of 34 days in their daily environments. The sound processors were fit in random order and according to the manufacturers’ fitting guidelines. No fine tuning was performed. Subjects rated the sound processors at the end of each test period.

According to the Oticon press statement, the researchers reported statistically significant results that ranked the Ponto Pro sound processor superior to Cochlear’s BP 100 processor in several key benefits, including speech perception and ease of use.

The Ponto Pro processor is part of the new Ponto bone anchored implant system introduced in 2009 by Oticon. The advanced digital and programmable sound processor is built on the proprietary Oticon Rise platform. The BP100 is manufactured by Cochlear, the successor of the original Baha manufacturer.

Based upon trials in study participants’ daily environments, Ponto Pro was rated significantly better than BP 100 when conversing with one person in a car and when listening to the TV or radio.

Additionally, in an objective speech in noise test, measurement of speech reception thresholds (SRT) showed a statistical improvement of about 3dB in Ponto Pro’s full directionality mode compared to its omnidirectional setting. This is equivalent to an improvement in speech intelligibility of approximately 30 percent. No similar improvement was evident in subject rankings of the BP100’s directional versus omnidirectional modes. The speech was presented from a front loudspeaker and the noise presented from the loudspeakers placed at +/- 90 degree angles.

Subjects also found Ponto Pro significantly easier to handle in daily usage tasks such as changing the battery and adjusting the controls. Ease of use is an important benefit since bone anchored hearing solutions are an integral part of a user’s daily routine.

Researchers presented their preliminary findings at the 11th International Conference on Cochlear Implants and Other Implantable Auditory Technologies in Stockholm, Sweden and the Danish Teknisk Audiologisk Selskab/Danish Technical Audiological Society in Vejle, Denmark.

SOURCE: Oticon Medical