ANA Discussion Forum

General Category => Hearing Issues => Topic started by: neetze1 on September 22, 2014, 09:41:46 pm

Title: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: neetze1 on September 22, 2014, 09:41:46 pm
I am confused!  Which one is better, the BAHA or the PONTO?  Are they both essentially the same?
I have an audiologist that thinks the PONTO is better but went to a support group meeting recently and there was a speaker that showed us a BAHA and she felt the BAHA was better  (she worked for BAHA so she would think that) I don't know what to think now and can't change my mind once the abutment is put in.

Any suggestions?  ???
Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: CHD63 on September 23, 2014, 07:07:51 am
Ideally if you can demo both products, you would have a better test for the difference in sound of the two ..... although demos with a band are never as good as the sound from an implanted abutment.

When I discussed with my doctor about the differences between the two, he said Oticon has been in the business of making hearing aids for decades so they have the advantage of vast experience in making good processors (the device that actually picks up the sounds and transfers them to the abutment).  Cochlear pioneered the cochlear implant, which is quite different because it transfers sound directly into a working cochlea (which those of us who have had translab surgeries no longer have).  So both companies have different advantages in experience.

I chose the Oticon Medical Ponto Pro and for me it is superb. I love it!  I snap on the processor first thing after my shower in the morning and never think about it again until I take it off to go to bed.

Just my thoughts .....

Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: neetze1 on September 23, 2014, 07:42:01 pm
Thank you Clarice for your response.  I also had translab.  I did test the Ponto on a band but did not test the BAHA.  It is hard to tell from just wearing it on a band.  Do you think the type of surgery we had makes one better than the other for those of us that had translab  vs  retrosigmoid?  This is confusing.  I thank you for your input.
Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: CHD63 on September 24, 2014, 05:58:44 am
Hi Anita .....

The way I understand it, the two devices (Oticon Medical or Cochlear) work on the same bone-conducted principle of transferring incoming sounds from the location of the processor to whatever auditory nerve is still working and capable of picking them up.  As far as I know, the SoundBite (made by Sonitus) works on that same principle, as well.  It conducts the sounds via the appliance on one's teeth (from the behind the ear receiver), which conduct to the bone.

Your doctor should be able to tell you the status of your auditory nerve(s), as to whether a bone-conducted hearing device is appropriate in your situation.  If an AN patient's auditory nerve is not working on the AN side, I do not think it matters which surgical approach was used.  Translab is the only one that automatically and permanently causes SSD, because the cochlea is removed during surgery.

For what it is worth, I retained 20% of usable hearing following my first (retrosigmoid) surgery, but lost the remainder with the translab.  I used a traditional air-conducted hearing aid for the time between the two, although at the time of my pre-second surgery audiogram, I was already losing some speech discrimination.

The choice between Oticon Medical's Ponto and Cochlear's BAHA is basically a personal decision based on your assessment of the sound quality, appearance of the devices, additional "bells and whistles" options, reputation for servicing, patient satisfaction, etc.

Best wishes.  Clarice

Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: jaylogs on September 26, 2014, 05:00:44 pm
Just a point of clarification...BAHA a type of hearing aid, Bone Anchored Hearing Aid.  Ponto is the name of a BAHA device manufactured by Oticon, and Cochlear is another manufacturer (The very first ones to do so for BAHA!).  I know there are so many terms being thrown around, just what we wanted right? To increase our medical vocabulary? LOL :)

Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: neetze1 on September 26, 2014, 07:14:55 pm
Thank you again Clarice!
And thank you Jay for the terminology clarification!  It takes a lot of people to keep me straight  ;)
Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: jaylogs on September 27, 2014, 06:37:06 am
Oh no worries!! That's what this forum is ask and learn and help! And we are glad to do so! :)
Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: leapyrtwins on October 21, 2014, 05:20:07 pm
I have a Cochlear BAHA processor (and Cochlear "equipment" for my implant).

At the time I got my BAHA implant, Oticon (makers of the Ponto) didn't make BAHA devices; they only made hearing aids. 

When I decided to upgrade my device I demo'd both a Cochlear and a Oticon processor.  They were both virtually the same, but I found that the Cochlear processor had better sound quality - and at the time, their customer service blew Oticon's away.  That was a few years ago, so things may have changed.  I'm not sure.

You should demo both company's processors if you can.

Nowadays you can't switch back and forth from company to company like you used to be able to.

If you opt for a Oticon BAHA implant you have to use Oticon's processors; if you opt for a Cochlear BAHA implant you have to use Cochlear's processors.

Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: Chambo on January 14, 2015, 10:25:12 pm
Trialling both the BAHA4 and Ponto Plus Power at home at the minute, both on headband.

To those that have trialled both, is it just me or is the sound and quality (less feedback) of the Ponto waaaaay better?

The BAHA4 seems tinny and like you are hearing someone in the distance or in a tunnel.

My issue is my ENT is a figure head for Cochlear so is heavily biased towards the BAHA4.

In an ideal world I'd wait for Ponto's magnetic version but this is 18 months to 24 months away.

Tough call as I want the Ponto but not that keen on the metal abutment.

Any tips from users??
Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: CHD63 on January 15, 2015, 07:34:47 am
Hi Chambo .....

I think you have your answer.

However, I want to say that because I live in a relatively remote area, I make a three-hour drive to the closest audiologist with training in programming the Oticon Medical Ponto Pro.  It is so worth it to me for the sound I get from my Ponto.

The abutment was implanted at the time of my translab surgery across the country from me so it was not practical to go back out to California when it was time to be able to use the processor (I received the Ponto at the time of surgery).  After the initial programming at my closer audiologist and a tweaking two months later, I only go now for a yearly audiogram (for my "good" ear) and check-up.

There are other patients on this forum who have found new doctors who will implant the Oticon Medical abutment, because you have to make that decision first (the processors are no longer interchangeable).

Best wishes.  Clarice
Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: james e on January 15, 2015, 11:06:38 am
Customer service makes a difference. Sound quality makes a difference.

I have a Cochlear BAHA. The outside case cracked twice while it was under warranty. Cochlear paid for the shipping both ways and the turn around was 48 hours...sent it in on Monday and had it back Wednesday.  The cracks were starting in an area where a screw goes through the case and there was a mold line there from the manufacturing process. Cochlear changed the molds. No problems since then.

After my BAHA was out of warranty the on/off switch was starting to fail. Cochlear repaired it at no cost.

When I first got my BAHA, it was not working out the way I hoped it would. Went to a new audiologist and she called the Cochlear rep. Cochlear rep called me and she set an appointment with the audiologist and my BAHA was reprogrammed at no cost. The first audiologist had it set up the wrong way.

I love how my BAHA works however my good ear is going south so I just got a hearing aid...get to that in a moment. My audiologist wants me to get a BAHA 4, so she put me in a Resound hearing aid. Both products are WIFI and both will operate with Apple products. Resound makes devices  that Cochlear puts there label on. The controllers operate the Resound and the BAHA. Cochlear even recommended I get a Resound.

I have no experience with Ponto so I have nothing to offer here.

Sound quality is hard to discuss. We all hear things differently. Keith just reported that his BAHA sound quality is higher with a BAHA 4 over his BP100. I need a little more powerful BAHA and Cochlear provides a BAHA with a higher gain. That is a plus for me.

I am not trying to sell you a BAHA over a Ponto Medical. You will have to decide which is best for you. Cochear offers a wider range of products and excellent customer service. I have never heard anything bad about the Ponto Medical.

Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: alabamajane on January 15, 2015, 04:23:18 pm

I can't speak to the Oticon Ponto as I have just been activated in the last 3 weeks with a new BAHA 4.

I will say a couple of things though,, you can't tell decisively what the unit will deliver from the headband test I don't believe. For one thing, it's not implanted into the bone so it won't be as precise and clear as an implanted one. Another very important factor is that it is going to take your brain awhile to become accustomed to sounds from that side again before it sounds right,,if that makes sense,,, mine is better every day and it's only been three weeks. You have been SSD For much longer than I also,,, I had my surgery in 2011,,

Also I sensed from your post that you are hoping to get the magnetic version of the device and Oticon doesn't have that option yet,, if you are still needing annual MRIs it is my understanding that you would not be a candidate for the magnetic version anyway. That's what I was told anyway,, plus the magnetic version does not produce as clear a sound as the post version. The post is titanium and does not interfere with MRIs .

Just a few thoughts from my viewpoint as a new recipient of a BAHA device.. Take it for what it's worth,, 2 cents,,,?? ::)
Good luck in your decision making process!!   Jane
Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: Chambo on January 15, 2015, 08:08:19 pm
Thanks for all the feedback (no pun intended) guys!

That was going to be my next question - given I still have annual follow up brain MRIs, am I not even a candidate for the new BAHA4 magnetic version?

Much easier decision process if I am able to discount some options immediately.
Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: Chambo on January 15, 2015, 08:42:32 pm
Just did some more research and looks like BAHA Attract (magnetic option) is fine for MRI up to Tesla 1.5 (which is the strength of the MRIs I have been having in the past).

If only Ponto had the magnetic option my decision would be that much easier.
Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: james e on January 16, 2015, 12:35:16 pm
I have an implant. My BAHA snaps into the implant and I can feel it when it snaps in and when it snaps out. I have knocked my BAHA out of the implant playing with the grandkids or working in the yard. Not only can I feel it, I can hear it snap out...which is a good thing. I know that I better start looking for it where I am.

Just guessing, but would you hear a magnetic BAHA or feel a magnetic BAHA fall off your head? It could be a problem if your reach up to take it off, and it is missing.


Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: Kristena on January 16, 2015, 12:57:42 pm
You can get an MRI with the BAHA Attract (the magnet version), but the magnet leaves an "artifact" on the output. It's a black circle around the perimeter of the magnet, and nothing can be seen through that area. Depending on the position of the magnet, and the position of the area they are watching, there may or may not be issues with being able to see if your tumor is growing. I had an MRI with the magnet in place, and the outline of the artifact just barely skimmed my remaining tumor in the inner ear (so it could be measured). However my particular tumor started in the lining of my brain, and that area was blocked altogether. If it regenerated there, we wouldn't know. I have since had the magnet removed due to it not healing properly.
Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: Chambo on January 18, 2015, 03:07:06 pm
Despite the Cochlear site saying MRIs are fine up to 1.5 Tesla, I just got an email this morning from my ENT saying 'you can't have MRIs with the BAHA Attract'.

Makes decision making a little easier re device.

Ponto a clear winner in my testing over the past week.

Now the harder decision is if I am comfortable with the external abutment.

To those that have the abutment, any issues with infection? Can you swim in pools, beaches?

Just mindful of improving hearing but then having restrictions on how I live my life again.

Thanks for all the advice!
Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: Chambo on January 18, 2015, 05:03:38 pm
I think I have a solution.

I'm leaning towards getting the Ponto Power but on a softband (no
surgery) as I really only use the device in the evenings at home or in
the car.

As I work for myself predominantly at home I often won't need to wear
it that often. I also can't see myself wearing it out at noisy places likes
restaurants due to lack of effect.

I also don't want my lifestyle jeopardised (eg - not travelling
somewhere such as Malaysia where we go often for family reasons due to
fear of infection at the abutment site).

My main question is would health insurance still cover the device if
you don't have it in conjunction with surgery.

What are people's thoughts on this option?
Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: ANGuy on January 18, 2015, 08:44:16 pm
I don't understand all of the issues with "infection" regarding abutments.  Tens, probably hundreds, of thousands of people have multiple titanium abutments in a place much less sanitary than your scalp and never get infections.  They are called dental implants.  I have two of them and getting them was stupid easy.  I had extensive damage from a history of damage due to trauma to my mouth as a kid and other than the reconstruction of the bone itself, which wasn't a big deal either, the implants themselves we a bit of local anesthesia, some cutting and drilling, some screwing and some sewing, and some waiting.

Unless you are getting your abutment installed in the back of a barber shop, there should be no issues with infection.
Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: Chambo on January 19, 2015, 12:54:35 am
Thanks ANGuy. So assuming you haven't had any issues from your abutment then? Good to hear.
Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: CHD63 on January 19, 2015, 06:44:18 am
Hi Chambo .....

Most insurance companies consider implanting the abutment as a prosthetic device and therefore will cover the cost, even if done apart from your AN surgery.  I doubt if your insurance company would approve the cost of only the processor, without the abutment.

As for wearing it only occasionally ..... you really need to wear the processor (the Ponto) most of your waking hours to get the maximum benefit.  Hearing is really a "brain" thing, in that one's ear (or processor) is only the conductor of sounds to transmit to the brain for understanding/use.  The more you wear the processor the better the brain will adapt to receiving/interpreting sounds from that side.

I put my processor on right after my shower in the morning and rarely think about it again until I remove it to sleep.  Obviously, I need to remove the processor for any swimming/water activities and I am even careful to cover/protect it from rain, etc.

As for infection ..... I try to be very diligent to brush (with the soft brush provided) around the abutment at night, especially on a day I may not have washed my hair.  Every now and then I will experience a mild irritation around the post, but a wipe around it with peroxide, followed by a tiny dab of Neosporin, clears it up by the next morning.  I have traveled extensively with no issues.

Hope that info helps.

Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: Chambo on January 19, 2015, 05:09:02 pm
Thanks Clarice - you are a wealth of Ponto knowledge!

My thoughts are it can't hurt to try and get the Ponto covered by insurance on the soft band in the first instance.

Then see how often I use it and determine at a later date if I want to go ahead with surgery.

Will keep you posted as to how I get on...!
Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: ANGuy on January 19, 2015, 09:24:46 pm
Thanks ANGuy. So assuming you haven't had any issues from your abutment then? Good to hear.

Mine are dental implants.  And no, I have not had any problems with them.  They are titanium screws that are screwed into the jaw bone and protrude through the gum.

In the very high likelihood that I will some day need a BAHA, I wouldn't hesitate to have an abutment put in behind my ear.
Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: Chambo on February 09, 2015, 07:19:34 pm
Boom. Just picked up Ponto Pro Power today!

My health insurer covered it on soft-band!

For those Aussies on the forum, Oticon are only aware of Medibank covering on soft-band as well as upgrades every 2 years.
Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: CHD63 on February 09, 2015, 07:37:29 pm
Yaaaaay for your insurance covering the Ponto Pro on a headband!!  That is not the usual in the U.S.!!  Maybe I'll move to Australia!   ;D

Let us know what you think about it.

Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: Chambo on February 10, 2015, 01:55:14 am
Yaaaaay for your insurance covering the Ponto Pro on a headband!!  That is not the usual in the U.S.!!  Maybe I'll move to Australia!   ;D

Let us know what you think about it.


Pretty stoked Clarice. And thanks for your comments - they were EXTREMELY helpful and accurate during my research.
Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: leapyrtwins on August 09, 2015, 11:12:57 am
I don't understand all of the issues with "infection" regarding abutments.  Tens, probably hundreds, of thousands of people have multiple titanium abutments in a place much less sanitary than your scalp and never get infections.

I realize this is an old thread, but just came across it now and wanted to comment on BAHA infections.

I've had a BAHA implant (Cochlear) since March 2008 and have had only 1 very minor infection - although I know others who have had more  :(

It's important not to "aggravate" your BAHA site by cleaning it too aggressively.  Some people use a small toothbrush with soft bristles, but this is a big no-no.  Brushing can cause the site to be irritated - especially if you have little or no feeling in the site area and therefore have no idea how aggressively you are brushing.  Often irritation leads to infection. 

The other thing that can lead to infection is ingrown hairs in the site area.  Docs do their best to scrape the hair follicles free from the site, but sometimes they miss a follicle or two and ingrown hair(s) result.

I do nothing more than "wash" my BAHA site every day when I wash my hair in the shower and I use nothing but whatever shampoo I happen to be using to wash my hair. 

Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: alabamajane on August 09, 2015, 05:21:45 pm
I have to say here that the reason some are using a small toothbrush type brush to clean the area is probably because the welcome kit that Cochlear gives you has one in it for just that reason. At least the kit I just received in Dec. does. It also has a much stiffer little black brush though for the processor cleaning.

I will agree that I don't  use it very often at all for cleaning the area on my head. Occasionally I get my husband to gently brush it but I don't bother. I have not had any problems with it and audiologist has seen it several times and says it looks good.  I don't wash it daily either but about every 2 days when I wash my hair. It just doesn't get that dirty. I agree that too much rubbing and aggravating is not a good idea.

Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: leapyrtwins on August 19, 2015, 04:29:19 pm
Have noticed the toothbrush type brush Cochlear gives out with new processors keeps getting softer and smaller.

The one with my BP100 was much smaller and softer than the one I received with my Divino.  In turn, the one I got with my BAHA 5 is smaller and softer than the one I received with my BP100. 

Audiologist confirmed today that some docs still tell BAHA recipients that it's okay to use a brush, but that depends on the doc and on the amount of numbness in the site area. 

Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: on February 08, 2018, 02:11:15 pm
Well I had aha Implant put in.

Processor  will not snap on

what next
Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: alabamajane on February 08, 2018, 04:55:26 pm
Sorry for your problems,,
Didn’t your audiologist have the processor customized for you ? When I received my processor, the audiologist ran a program on the computer to adjust the settings etc just for me,,,,

But if you don’t have an audiologist for some reason,  I suggest you find one with experience with the BAHA,, not all audiologists are familiar with them,, ,, but even before that,, take it to the doctor who did the implant and have him show you how to snap it on,,
I think you need someone to help you get acquainted with your BAHA.

Goood luck ,
Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: Kjayhill on March 31, 2018, 07:01:55 am
I went with the PONTO over the Cochlear mainly due to the MIPS.  The surgery was a breeze and I had no issues.  I was not ready to get cut into so the thought of the minimally invasive procedure helped.  Also, the PONTO seemed to work well and clear for me during the headband test.   I had the surgery in August and received the PONTO in November.  It took a few times going back to the Audiologist to have it adjusted to get it to a point that I am very happy with it.  She has done two programs and I use the 2nd one in noisy restaurants.  I also received the microphone and TV adapter and stream everything to it.  I love answering the phone and playing music thru the streamer too.
I hear very clear and do better with the device although of course it will never be like perfect hearing.  It has helped a lot as I can hear people on the bad side.  Sometimes I still am not sure which direction but most of the time I do realize it.
Good luck in your decision!
Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: Abetpds on June 07, 2018, 09:11:43 pm
Hi I'm having surgery done on the 26th at UCSD and wanted the Oticon implant but when I met with my audiologist in GA she recommended the Cochlear BAHA 5  Said that it can be connected to my phone via blue tooth for volume control unlike the Oticon which needed something hung around your neck  Felt that the Baha 5 is a slick design and not as large as the Oticon processor. I do not have time to test so just going with what inputs I get.  She sent the order in for the Baha but it will not be ordered until next week .Thos of you have the BAHA -would really appreciate your inputs as to issues you've had   Thanks so much
Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: CHD63 on June 08, 2018, 05:19:13 am
Hi Regina .....

Choosing between two options for bone conduction hearing assistance is a big deal because you cannot change to the other processor later.

Admittedly, I have not actually seen the new Baha 5 processor, which is much smaller than the previous models, but my Ponto is very small.  If it was any smaller, my arthritic fingers would be unable to change the battery in it.

I have had my same Ponto for 7 years and have had zero issues with it.  About a year after I got it, I fell and whacked my head against the wall, damaging it.  Oticon Medical overnighted a replacement, already programmed with my settings, free of charge.

I would love to get the Ponto 3 with the streamer (which can be paired with any smart phone), but since what I have works just fine, I have not made the effort to check on it.

Hope that helps.

Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: leapyrtwins on June 08, 2018, 10:17:50 am
The BAHA 5 (Cochlear) is awesome. 

And it is smaller than the Ponto.  At the time I got mine, April 2015, it was the smallest most powerful BAHA on the market.  I believe Cochlear has come out with a more powerful version - for those who have less hearing in their "good" ear than I do (I have 100% normal hearing in my good ear) - but not a smaller one. 

It works through your iPhone, which is a feature I love - and the available accessories are incredible.  At the time I got my BAHA 5 it came with a free accessory; not sure if that's still the case.

Cochlear's customer service is stellar and they are THE manufacturer of BAHA's.  They only make - and have only made from the start when they bought out Entific - CI's (cochlear implants) and BAHAs.  They don't "dabble" in hearing aids - which is the industry that Oticon owned for years before they decided to manufacture BAHAs.

My money is, and has always been, on Cochlear.  They have a long, well-earned reputation for quality BAHAs.  In my opinion, as a BAHA wearer for the past 10 years - who has upgraded 2x by choice because Cochlear's technology just keeps getting better - you can't go wrong with Cochlear.

And, it's important to remember that I have the old "hardware" and have actually demo'd Cochlear and Oticon products side-by-side. 

Title: Re: BAHA vs PONTO
Post by: alabamajane on June 16, 2018, 05:29:21 pm
I agree with everything Jan has so enthusiastically said  ;)

I upgraded to the BAHA 5 power unit last June 16th and have loved it. Such a great upgrade from the 4. The BEST new feature ,, beside obvious increase in power and clarity,, is the ease of putting in the battery. The older units needed a separate tool for the battery,, but this unit you just place the battery in the slot and close the door and it boots up. Very simple!

Overall great product and customer service is excellent and very helpful. I can’t speak to the Oticon though and I know Clarice has always been very satisfied with hers.