Fre 19 aug / År 40 / Nr 3 2022

Oticon Medical’s bone-anchored hearing systems – the world’s most advanced

Oticon Medical relies on more than a century of experience in audiology and sound processing, combined with the last decades’ development in bone-anchored medical systems technology. The development of bone-anchored hearing systems has accelerated over time and just like the wide-spread dental implants, these systems are based on Per-Ingvar Brånemark’s discovery that titanium has the ability to interact with living bone.

Oticon Medical has access to owner Oticon’s outstanding experience in audiology and sound processing, based on prominent Danish research. Combined with the Swedish pioneering experience in hearing implant technology, the bone-anchored hearing systems developed by Oticon Medical are the world’s most advanced – and tailored to each patient’s needs.

The origins of bone-anchored hearing systems
Headquartered in Gothenburg, often referred to as the capital of bone anchored implants, Oticon Medical has access to decades of experience in the field of bone anchored hearing systems – not only by members of the company’s own development team but also by support specialists operating both here and worldwide.
Patrik Westerkull has been a driving force in the development and success of bone anchored hearing systems during the last two decades. This hearing concept was originally developed in the early 1980s in a research collaboration between Anders Tjellström at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg and Bo Håkansson at Chalmers University of Technology. Based on innovations on both the titanium implant design and hearing technology – the system was developed further at the hearing division of Nobel Biocare. The division was lead by Westerkull and he became one of the enthusiasts striving to bring the revolutionary bone-integrated hearing system to a commercial market break-through.
“Due to the multidisciplinary complexity of this technology, the development and breakthrough of bone anchored hearing systems came later than the development of the dental implant application. Except from the Brånemark implant technology, bone anchored hearing also included sound processing and advanced transducers as well as a number of complex market aspects that all had to be internationally considered since more than 95 percent of the products are exported through our own sales people around the world”, Westerkull explains.
The latest development of bone-anhored hearing systems was initiated by Westerkull through a project initiated by his company Otorix in 2004. The project was sold to Oticon in 2006 and thus resulting in the founding of Oticon Medical in Gothenburg and Westerkull is since then working as a Senior Consultant to Oticon Medical.

The Ponto System
The system developed by Westerkull has been refined and introduced on the market in 2009 by Oticon Medical as the Ponto System. The system is a wide-spread solution to children and adults with conductive and mixed hearing loss or single-sided deafness. Patrik Westerkull explains that the Ponto bone anchored hearing system is designed to use the body’s natural ability to transfer sound through bone conduction.
Westerkull continues: “Technically, the sound processor picks up sound, converts them into vibrations, and sends them through your skull bone, directly to your inner ear. This bypasses any problems in your ear canal or middle ear. The response from patients has exceeded all expectations, and we are also very proud of the iF Product Design Award that the product was awarded this year”.

An innovation for the future
The Ponto Bone Anchored Hearing System, as the patented product line is called, includes implants, abutments, surgical tools and sound processors, as well as software and other innovative components. In fact, the Ponto processor is built on Oticon’s RISE platform, the most advanced digital sound processor platform available today.
“The system supports an active life-style and takes a tremendous step away from the traditional, rather bulky similar type of hearing aids. This is an innovation for the future, and we look forward to developing the solution further, making the systems even better and the design even smaller and more discreet”, Patrik Westerkull concludes.