High-tech, constant further development, and innovations: these are the demands hearing aid acousticians are facing every day. As EUHA president Martin Blecker puts it: "One always has to ask oneself: who needs it and will benefit from it? Whatever is useful, must be done. Otherwise, we would still be using the biface."
Between 24 and 26 October 2012, almost 7,000 delegates from 74 countries took part in the 57th EUHA Congress held in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The international atmosphere and the mutual exchange of ideas turned the convention into a special event. To bring themselves up to scratch, delegates had a choice between twenty specialist lectures, six workshops, one roundtable discussion, and a trade exhibition featuring 111 exhibitors. Moreover, general meetings and two evening events provided a chance to meet.
Not only insiders of our line of business took the chance to learn a thing or two. More than forty representatives of the media attended the event to get information about the current state of hearing aid technology and fitting procedures. During the guided tour of the exhibition, three exhibitors – chosen from the many others – presented their innovations. One of the issues was better hearing in strong wind. Journalists were also acquainted with hearing systems that may remain in place for four months, day and night, as well as accessories that transmit phone calls, lectures, or television sound directly to the hearing aid. Demonstrations, moreover, included real-time signal processing features, e.g. for rendering the sound of an electric guitar.
The showroom offered representatives of the media a chance to throw a glance into a hearing aid acoustician's workshop. They watched a video broadcast of an in-ear impression taken for a hearing protector and the manufacturing of an earmould – both the classic method using a milling cutter and the CAD method with computer, scanner, stereo camera, and laser, were demonstrated. "Hearing experiments" conveyed the different aspects of hearing aid fitting by the acoustician using loudness scaling and ANL tests as examples. The "Klangfinder" (sound finder) renders sound differences of hearing devices from various price ranges audible.
Product innovations from the 13 companies that make up the BVHI (German Association of the Hearing Instruments Industry) were presented on white columns with impressive illumination for media representatives to look at – and touch. Moreover, a quick hearing test offered a chance to find out about one's own hearing. Any questions from the journalists were competently answered by the hearing aid acousticians present.
The keynote address entitled "The digital world – between commodity and premium" matched the high-tech industry. Prof. Dr. Gunter Dueck – mathematician, management expert, and lateral thinker – had prepared a particularly entertaining trip into the future for his audience. Digital development will make many professions in the service sector disappear, while others will come into existence. One has to face this development even if many refuse to believe it, as Dueck put it. Martin Blecker is sure that hearing aid acousticians are looking ahead with confidence. After all, it is part of their vocation to use the latest in technology to make people hear better.
We should like to thank the following companies for their support regarding the hands-on zones at the showroom: Acousticon, Egger, Proakustik.
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© Copyright: EUHA / Foto Rechtnitz