More than 7,900 delegates from some 80 countries attended the 60th International Congress of Hearing Aid Acousticians, breaking the 7,500 mark for the first time in the history of the event. The latest news from research, science, technology, and the acoustician's trade was presented in 25 lectures and six workshops. Another record was set by the trade exhibition featuring 133 exhibitors this year.
EUHA President Martin Blecker presented the opening ceremony, giving the floor to Dr Stefan Zimmer of the German Hearing Aid Industry Association (BVHI), Marianne Frickel of the Federal Guild of Hearing Aid Acousticians (biha), and Dipl-Ing Peter Edlhauser of the Association of Austrian Hearing Aid Acousticians (VHÖ). Dr Günther Beckstein, a former Prime Minister of Bavaria, attended the opening ceremony, and would not miss the chance to address a few personal words to the audience.
On this special jubilee occasion, Professor Dr Jürgen Kießling was then giving the keynote address entitled "60th International Congress of Hearing Aid Acousticians – review, current status and outlook", taking the audience on a journey through time. Kießling was offering a glimpse of the future of the Congress and technological development, finishing off on the prediction that the future will turn smartphones into hearing aids.
The broad-ranging programme included presentations on auditory language processing, hearing loss and dementia, diagnostic methods, speech intelligibility, the development of hearing systems, measurement equipment, and a whole lot more.
For all those who could not make it to Nuremberg, the EUHA will be putting together a DVD containing the abstracts and original-language video recordings of all the presentations given at the Congress and approved for release. The DVD may be ordered via www.euha.org.
Martin Blecker decorated Karl Müller, who attended all the 60 Congresses, with the EUHA's Golden Badge of Honour. Many of those present have known Karl Müller as a lively colleague and tireless player at the Lübeck-based Academy of Hearing Aid Acoustics. Müller was excited to receive this special honour, saying that by attending the Congress every year he was acting upon an "inner obligation". One of the pioneering acousticians in Germany, he was amazed to find that looking back his former visions have all been realised and filled with life.
For the sixth time, the EUHA presented the EUHA Sponsorship Award to young talents for outstanding theses with special relevance to hearing aid acoustics. This year, Bastian Schulze was awarded first prize for his Bachelor's thesis on a comparison between the Freiburg speech intelligibility test and a revised version of the Freiburg polysyllabic word test with respect to intelligibility in noise. Second prize went to Melanie Krüger for her Master's thesis on the development and evaluation of an adaptive scaling procedure for assessing subjective listening effort. Juliane Schulz came third for the research conducted for her Bachelor's thesis on the modelling of acoustic and electrical loudness and efficiently calculating loudness based on these audiometric data. The laudation was held by Eva Keil-Becker and the award-winning papers will soon be available at http://www.euha.org/informationen/foerderpreis/ (in German).
The Research Award sponsored by the Research Association of German Hearing Aid Acousticians (FDHA) was awarded by Professor Dr Karin Schorn, who presented two awardees with prizes: Dipl-Ing Reimer Rohweder of the German Institute of Hearing Aids (DHI), and Dr-Ing Tobias Rader, head of Audiological Acoustics at the University Medical Centre in Mainz.
The trade exhibition featuring 133 companies, with 59 exhibitors from abroad, was offering a broad range of products and services, including the latest in hearing aid technology, batteries, hearing protection, and innovative measurement technology. Technical literature and information on training and education for hearing aid acousticians were also presented. In Nuremberg, the whole world of hearing care was featured on 15,000 square metres of floor space.
State-of-the-art in-the-ear hearing systems with innovative features as well as behind-the-ear devices equipped with directional microphones were presented. Advanced hearing systems reduce listening effort by differentiating between speech and noise, thus facilitating cerebral processing.
Furthermore, connectivity between hearing aids and mobile devices such as smartphone, iPad, and Apple Watch was showcased, as were hearing solutions for relieving tinnitus symptoms and increasing tinnitus acceptance.
The 60th International Congress of Hearing Aid Acousticians also met with positive media response. More than 80 representatives of the media including TV, radio, print, and online media, were accredited for the Congress covering all about hearing. On day one of the event, the EUHA offered a special programme for media representatives including a tour of the exhibition, dedicated floor space at the showroom as well as information on dementia and hearing loss.