Catch on Hearing: The 2008 EUHA Congress
More than 2,000 delegates per day, 22 well-attended presentations, and over 100 exhibiting companies, whose booths drew crowds of visitors: this is the success record of the 53rd International Congress of Hearing Aid Acousticians which closed on 17 October in Leipzig. Among attendees were also representatives of the media.
For three days, hearing aid acousticians in particular took advantage of continuing education offered at the conference. They also visited the accompanying trade exhibition to learn about industry innovations in hearing systems. Over 60 media representatives also attended the event. Most of them travelled to Leipzig on the first day of the Congress when the press centre was open and a special programme for media representatives was scheduled.
In the course of a guided tour of the trade exhibition, five hearing aid manufacturers presented their current product innovations. Modern hearing systems equipped with high technology are continually being brought to perfection so as to facilitate better hearing. A new BTE system from Widex is the first device to make use of a two-way receiver to offer hi-fi quality with a perfectly natural sound. A hearing system from Phonak excels through its special multi-program automatic system as well as its feedback management. Another new development was launched by ReSound: formerly, there were either behind-the-ear (BTE) or in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids. The new system combines the benefits of both types in one device engineered with Invisible Open Technology (IOT). The latest design hearing system, catering for those with a modern and active lifestyle, was introduced by Starkey. There were also further developments of in-the-ear hearing systems: Audio Service presented a cutting-edge ITE system including wireless multimedia connection, which facilitates listening to music in hi-fi quality.
The fourteen major German manufacturers presented their latest product innovations in a special showroom. Placed on white columns and labelled with nicely shaped displays, the products were literally put in perspective. Because of the fact that hearings aids are no invention of the 20th century, visitors were also able to marvel at hearing fans, ear trumpets, hearing tubes, hearing sticks, and a whole lot more. Holger Scharnberg, a private collector, delighted the audience by telling entertaining stories about his exhibits as well as short digressions of cultural and historical interest. Two hearing aid acousticians, Albert Moll and Jan-Hinnerk Matthies, provided explanations concerning electric and electronic hearing aids from the 20th century. The latter were loans from the Lübeck Academy of Hearing Aid Acoustics.
In the afternoon, Gerhard Wissler – a former bank manager, and business mediator and manager coach today – gave a reading from his book Wenn die Ohren müde werden (When the ears are getting tired), which was released in April this year.
During the subsequent round table talks, Wissler gave an illuminating report on his personal experience with impaired hearing and hearing aid provision. EUHA president Martin Blecker, who was the second guest at the discussion, added information from an expert point of view.
"The fact that I had to acknowledge my hearing was deteriorating and I would have to wear hearing aids, was sapping my self-esteem," reported Wissler, who lives in Hamburg. For him, it had been a tedious process to be able to accept his hearing impairment and the necessity to use hearing aids. When the host asked him for his assessment of his hearing systems today, he replied: "Today, I feel that my hearing systems are very helpful – and as with every kind of help that you can get: I'm very, very grateful to have these tiny little things behind my ears," adding: "And I'm also grateful to my hearing aid acoustician, who put them there!"