55th International Congress of Hearing Aid Acousticians presented innovations for optimum hearing
The results of the 55th International Congress of Hearing Aid Acousticians held in Hanover between 13 and 15 October 2010 are impressive indeed:
100 exhibiting companies, 20 expert lectures, a round table talk, two workshops, and more than 60 media representatives made for up-to-date information and an intensive exchange of ideas. Over 2,200 delegates from 70 different countries attended the Congress on each of the three convention days.
Thematically, the Congress focused on prophylaxis, the preservation of hearing, and the rehabilitation of hearing loss as well as optimum restoration of this vital sense of perception. These issues were depicted and discussed in the specialist lectures. Apart from groundbreaking results of the latest audiological and medical research, individualised fitting and user control of hearing systems played a significant part. Moreover, current developments in hearing aid technology as well as technologies specifically adapted to paediatric diagnosis and speech intelligibility were presented.
The International Congress of Hearing Aid Acousticians is famous for offering pathbreaking presentations and discussions concentrating on innovations for the benefit of people with hearing deficiencies. This year, a green carpet was literally showing the path from the foyer to the main attractions of the conference and the exhibition. This path was also avidly taken by David McAllister, Lower Saxony's Prime Minister, who devoted his keynote address to "Making SME concerns heard". During his talk, he not only showed his acute sense of humour, but also gave optimistic prognoses for the future of the hearing aid business.
The exhibition hall had more than 100 hearing aid manufacturers showcasing their innovations in hearing aid technology: tiny microchips accomplishing up to 200 million operations per second compensate individual hearing loss, while advances in technology make for continually improved speech intelligibility. Innovative in-the-ear devices that cannot be detected from the outside can be worn in the ear for up to four months. In general, hearing aids are getting smaller and smaller, may be controlled wirelessly – even by mobile phone –, and are compatible with TV sets, mobile phones, and MP3 players.
For starters, there was a guided tour of the exhibition for media representatives. Several stops were made to listen to short presentations, and hold interviews with skilled hearing aid acousticians or people with impaired hearing, to look at technological refinements, and learn about the technical skills that are required to precisely adjust the miniature computers to individual hearing losses.
Thirteen product highlights from 2010 were shown on illuminated columns in a special exhibition. Presenting the latest design developments, Jürgen Matthies, EUHA vice chairman, praised those technological miracles that are getting smaller and smaller. For the first time, it was possible to also get an inside view of hearing systems, vividly demonstrating how tightly the sophisticated and intricate technological core is fitted inside the housing. Speaking of small: today's hearing systems can be so small that it sometimes seems reasonable to choose bigger variants so that customers may adequately control the features with which the hearing aids are equipped.
The Congress demonstrated the importance of the interaction between the latest technologies, current research and craftsmanship for optimum hearing aid fitting now and in the future. Martin Blecker, president of the European Union of Hearing Aid Acousticians, stressed that optimum hearing can be guaranteed not only thanks to technological developments, but, above all, thanks to the hearing aid acoustician's craftsmanship: he has a good knowledge of hearing aid technology and the skill to program the different devices so as to take account of the hearing aid user's individual requirements.
For fifty years, the EUHA has campaigned for first-class continuing education and advanced vocational training for hearing aid acousticians with a view to guaranteeing a high standard of hearing aid fitting performed by the acoustician on people with impaired hearing. Promoting a vivid dialogue and exchange of ideas in this line of business, the EUHA will continue to do so in the future.
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