Welcome to the Oticon Podcast Program

In this series, Don Schum presents short, five to ten minute audio presentations on a variety of topics that define the Oticon approach to hearing care. These presentations aim to provide important glimpses into the way we work to create solutions and support for your patients. New episodes will be published regularly.


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About the host:
Don Schum, Ph.D.

Vice President for Audiology

Don Schum currently serves as Vice President for Audiology for Oticon, Inc. In that capacity, Don has the responsibility to create and implement new Audiological training material, oversee the Audiological training of all employees, develop dispenser support materials and tools, conduct clinical research, and participate in national and international conferences.

Previous to his position at Oticon in Somerset, Don served as the Director of Audiology for the main Oticon office in Copenhagen, Denmark. In addition, he served as the Director of the Hearing Aid Lab at the University of Iowa School of Medicine (1990-1995) and as an Assistant professor at the Medical University of South Carolina (1988-1990). During his professional career, Don has been an active researcher in the areas of Hearing Aids, Speech Understanding, and Aging. Don received his B.S. in Speech & Hearing Science from the University of Illinois, his M.A. in Audiology from the University of Iowa, and his Ph.D. in Audiology from Louisiana State University.





Season 4: Summer 2019:

Managing New Fittings: Stop-Start-Continue


When Season 3 came to an end, the point was made that sometimes the success of a fitting, especially for new users, comes down to getting the details right. Sometimes it is the details of the fitting, but also sometimes it is the details of patient counseling. In this season, will we discuss the best ideas that we have generated as a company to maximize the opportunity for success. We all fall into habits, but sometimes there is value in stepping back and taking a fresh look.


S4E1: Getting Off on the Right Foot   |   Listen to S4E1
At the end of Season 2, we talked about the difference between the Fitting Session and the Fitting. For most new hearing aid users, the loss develops over a number of years. Becoming a successful hearing aid user is not an instantaneous transformation.

S4E2: Gathering the Right Kind of Information   |   Listen to S4E2
Although it seems self-evident, before you can solve a patient’s problems, you need to understand them. The ability of the patient to verbalize their observations sometimes can be tricky.

S4E3: Setting Expectations   |   Listen to S4E3
Despite the widespread surfing behavior on the part of new users, patients and family members can often have expectations that do not always align with what will likely actually happen. We have some ideas that may help.

S4E4: X’s and O’s   |   Listen to S4E4
Despite great strides in digital signal processing, there are still some basic physical and acoustical factors that simply have to be done the right way. A great fitting can go awry if some simple basic techniques are not addressed.

S4E5: Let’s Talk About Targets   |   Listen to S4E5
Targets are a great place to start a fitting. But perhaps too often hitting targets are seen as the end goal of a fitting. And that belief is not consistent with what we know about human perception in the presence of hearing loss. 


S4E6: Programs, Programs, Programs   |   Listen to S4E6
There was once a time when loading up the hearing aid with multiple programs was an important new development. But the ability of adaptive signal processing has made that approach unnecessary except in certain situations.

S4E7: The Personal Response to Sound   |   Listen to S4E7
Modern hearing aids allow for modifications on a multitude of dimensions. Finding the right match between device flexibility and patient needs or preferences requires a high level of insight on the part of the HCP.

S4E8: Reports versus Problems   |   Listen to S4E8
Most patients finally get over their resistance and take the step into the world of hearing aids based on some specific difficulties that they face. In follow-up, it becomes important to make sure the discussions focus on the specific needs that make the most difference to the patient.

S4E9: What to Adjust?   |   Listen to S4E9
As hearing aid technology has developed, so has our understanding about which adjustments make the most difference to patient perception. Fine tuning strategies that made sense 15 or 20 years ago may need to be refreshed.

S4E10: Meeting in the Middles   |   Listen to S4E10
Getting a fitting right means balancing factors along a multitude of dimensions. Some of the concerns stem from the HCPs desire to meet certain audiological standards. But the patient’s agenda may be different. At the end of the day, the goal is the same: to allow the patient to be a successful hearing aid user. 



Season 3: Spring 2019:

The Oticon Approach to Special Fitting Populations


When Season 2 came to an end, a question was posed as to how hearing care professionals could distinguish themselves as the very knowledgeable caregiver. In this season, we will discuss our thoughts about how to approach challenging adult clinical populations – those patients who present with an auditory profile that is more complex than the typical patient. The material will be based on an examination of the assumptions we use when fitting hearing aids and, most importantly, the limits of those assumptions.


S3E1: Assumptions about Prescribed Fittings   |   Listen to S3E1
Standard fitting approaches are built on a foundation of assumptions. How those assumptions shape our fitting approaches deserve a second look. 

S3E2: Ski Fittings: Examining the Situation   |   Listen to S3E2
The most common special population is ski-slope hearing loss. Digging into the nature of this classification shines a spotlight on our standard fitting assumptions. 

S3E3: Ski Fittings: Fitting Ideas   |   Listen to S3E3
At Oticon, we have used a specific approach to these fittings for over 20 years. We will explain our thinking.

S3E4: Rising Audiograms: Fitting Ideas   |   Listen to S3E4
Although not common, these patients require a significant change in fitting mindset.

S2E5: Irregular Audiograms: Fitting Ideas   |   Listen to S3E5
We fit to usable hearing, not to an audiogram. These cases make a very specific point to consider. 


S3E6: Complex Etiologies: Fitting Ideas   |   Listen to S3E6
Patients with complex medical etiologies can have a very poorly performing peripheral auditory system.  But there are opportunities for success.

S3E7: Asymmetrical Hearing Loss: An Alternative Fitting Approach<   |   Listen to S3E7
These cases force us to examine what we actually know about the binaural auditory system in the presence of hearing loss.

S3E8: The Nature of Severe & Profound Hearing Loss   |   Listen to S3E8
Understanding how severe damage will affect the perception of sound is essential to get the most out of the remaining hearing of the patient.

S3E9: Severe Hearing Loss: Fitting Ideas   |   Listen to S3E9
These patients call for some important changes to the way we fit nonlinear amplification. 

S3E10: The Playing Field   |   Listen to S3E10
We round up Season 3 by discussing the mindset of Residual Capabilities.




Season 2: Winter 2018:

The First Time User


In Season 2 we present on the journey of The First Time User


S2E1: The Reaction to Aging   |   Listen to S2E1
Hearing Loss is just one of many potential body changes that occur as adults get older. There are different ways in which a person can react to these changes and understanding the range of reactions is step 1 in being able to help the patient make a positive decision to address their hearing loss. 

S2E2: The Imagery of Hearing Aids   |   Listen to S2E2
Aging can draw out powerful emotions in the adult.  A few years back, we engaged a research group that used a groundbreaking approach to help us better understand what hearing aids mean to the person considering their use. 

S2E3: The Interpersonal Cost of Delay   |   Listen to S2E3
The true effect of hearing loss is not about where a person cannot hear - it is about who they cannot hear.  Hearing loss is a disruptor of relationships, but perhaps this distancing between the patient and friends or family can be exactly the path to a constructive response by the patient.

S2E4: The Cognitive Cost of Delay   |   Listen to S2E4
Emerging evidence over the past several years has shown us that the cost of ignoring hearing loss may be more serious than we used to think.  The natural withdrawal from social & family interactions may have serious implications for the long-term cognitive health of older adults.

S2E5: Changing the Conversation   |   Listen to S2E5
What does it take to help a patient move towards making a positive decision about addressing their hearing difficulties?  It starts with an honest examination of what is really important to them and then continues with developing a plan to move in that direction. 


S2E6: Readiness for Amplification   |   Listen to S2E6
Once a patient agrees to try amplification, it is crucial that they are prepared for the most positive experience possible.  We have some ideas about what it takes to make a patient truly ready to enter the hearing aid world. 

S2E7: Getting the Most Out of the COSI   |   Listen to S2E7
The COSI was a great step forward in the subjective assessment of the effect of amplification.  But there may be more value to this important tool than you may realize.

S2E8: A Good Fitting versus A Good Fitting Session   |   Listen to S2E8
In the long run, the goals of a hearing aid fitting are audiological: the most effective compensation for the impairment as possible.  But the immediate experiences of the patient can set the tone – either positively or negatively – and getting the patient started the right way may involve more factors than just audiological considerations.

S2E9: The First 30 Days   |   Listen to S2E9
The 30-day trial is standard in the hearing aid world, but do we really know what the patient experiences during that first month?  We have dug into the issue and we have some interesting observations to share. 

S2E10: Adapting to the New Identity   |   Listen to S2E10
We wrap up Season 2 by looking forward for the patient – to examine what it will take for the patient to become not just a lifelong user, but even a lifelong advocate for amplification.



Season 1: Fall 2018:

The Oticon Approach to Signal Processing


In Season 1, we present on a variety of topics that describe the Oticon Approach to Signal Processing


S1E1: The Oticon Brain Hearing Approach   |   Listen to S1E1
We have long believed that the role of amplification is to fully support the natural cognitive system.

S1E2: OpenSound Navigator™   |   Listen to S1E2
OSN set a new standard in how complex environments need to be managed and we examine the background of why we created this important approach.

S1E3: The Reality of Complex Environments   |   Listen to S1E3
In order to solve a problem, you need to understand it and we have specific beliefs about the situations that patients struggle in the most.

S1E4: Speech Understanding and Sensorineural Hearing Loss   |   Listen to S1E4
Hearing care is a clinical discipline and all effective treatment must start with a realistic understanding of the condition we treat.

S1E5: The Aging Cognitive System   |   Listen to S1E5
For the older adult, there are important implications of the aging process of the central nervous system that will fundamentally affect the work that hearing care professionals do.


S1E6: What are Patients Really Facing?   |   Listen to S1E6
When patients are seeking help, what sort of assistance are they looking for?

S1E7: How the Cognitive System Organizes the Listening Situation   |   Listen to S1E7
Fundamental to our BrainHearing™ approach is an understanding how perception actually works in complex environments.

S1E8: Piecing Together the Message   |   Listen to S1E8
One of the most impressive functions of the cognitive system is its ability to take incomplete information and create understanding and meaning.

S1E9: The Effort of Listening   |   Listen to S1E9
Listening is not passive, as the listener controls how much effort is worth it.

S1E10: The Best Signal Processor Around   |   Listen to S1E10
We wrap up Season 1 by getting back to a discussion of the power of the human brain in allowing the listener to operate effectively in difficult environments


Technology Videocasts



Technology Videocasts

with Don Schum, Ph.D., Vice-President, Audiology

OpenSound Booster – Oticon Opn S™   |     Watch Video 1
With Opn S, a new Very High setting offers even more help in everyday situations to those patients who need it most. Patients also have the option to select extra support from OpenSound Navigator™, regardless of their pre-defined setting. Whenever patients feel they need an extra boost, they can activate the OpenSound Booster, available in the Oticon ON App.

OpenSound Optimizer™ – Oticon Opn S   |     Watch Video 2
OpenSound Optimizer technology gives you the flexibility to provide up to six additional decibels of gain in an open fitting without the risk of feedback. With optimal gain, open fittings and no feedback, the OpenSound Optimizer brings the open sound experience to the next level for your patients by delivering up to 30% more speech cues to the brain.* This helps improve speech understanding without compromising clarity or sound quality for your patients.

OpenSound Navigator - Oticon Opn Play™   |     Watch Video 3
Oticon Opn Play gives your child 360º access to the world and helps your child differentiate between meaningful sound and irrelevant, disturbing sound. Our OpenSound Navigator technology improves speech understanding in noisy environments and supports incidental learning by giving your child access to multiple speakers in the environment. We developed OpenSound Navigator to allow the child to get the most possible out of the rich world of sound.  

OpenSound Booster – Oticon Opn Play   |     Watch Video 4
With Opn Play, a new Very High setting offers even more help in everyday situations to those children who need it most. Extra support from OpenSound Navigator can be selected, regardless of their pre-defined setting. For a child, it may be when they are worn out after a long day at school, but still need to hear at home.  Some added help is provided through OpenSound Booster, available in the Oticon ON App.

OpenSound Optimizer – Oticon Opn Play   |     Watch Video 5
Children are often unable to attain the prescribed gain due to the risk of feedback.  Hearing care professionals are often restricted in their fitting and forced to make compromises due to the limitations of conventional technology. By amplifying speech with up to 6 dB more in an open fitting or by enabling more stable gain for a closed fitting, Oticon Opn Play provides the brain with up to 25% more speech cues, supporting language development for children with a hearing loss.

ConnectClip – Connectivity Options   |     Watch Video 6
Oticon Opn Play connects seamlessly with modern smartphones and tablets. With the optional ConnectClip, your child’s hearing aids turn into a high-quality headset. This gives your child access to wireless streaming for music, movies, phone calls and more from smartphones, tablets and laptops.



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