Digitisation was the focus of the 63rd International Congress of Hearing Aid Acousticians, held in Hannover from 17 to 19 October 2018. More than 8,000 delegates from 83 countries took part. On 15,000 square metres of floor space, 142 exhibitors presented their innovations.
For hearing aid acousticians and manufacturers of hearing systems, digitisation is nothing new. What is new, in fact, is that thanks to growing acceptance of technological advances and suitable fitting provided by hearing aid acousticians, customers may enjoy a multitude of new possibilities. This means more quality of life for the individual's everyday life. The Congress was also a place to find out how this new age can be made accessible to customers. Among the special features of the Congress were topics such as artificial intelligence in hearing systems, innovative designs, and translation functions.
Technological development is advancing at rapid speed. In order for hearing aid acousticians to know what is possible and will be possible in the future, the European Union of Hearing Aid Acousticians (EUHA) offered a programme comprising twenty lectures, seven tutorials, and a roundtable talk. Over the course of three days, 32 lecturers from Germany and abroad discussed their research topics, innovations and their practical implementation.
Keynote speaker Peter Holzer told the audience how it is possible to remain confident in difficult situations. His point was: if we avoid difficult situations, the problems become bigger. Anyone who wants to manage difficult situations with confidence must assume responsibility. Responsibility for oneself and for one's own self-determined life. Based on the triad of success (sympathy, competence, authority), he showed how we can succeed in leading a more confident life.
During the Congress, a new Executive Committee was elected. The new president of the EUHA will be Beate Gromke from Leipzig. Beate Gromke has been a member of the EUHA's Executive Committee since 2010, and will now steer the EUHA together with Vice President Eva Keil-Becker and Vice President and Treasurer Jürgen Matthies. Her goals for her upcoming term of office are to maintain the high standard of the International Congress Hearing Aid Acousticians, to put the Congress and the EUHA even more in the spotlight on an international level, and to provide better opportunities for connecting EUHA members.
Martin Blecker, the previous EUHA President, was awarded the EUHA's Golden Badge of Honour at the opening ceremony of the Congress. In his laudatory speech, EUHA Vice President Jürgen Matthies referred to Martin Blecker as the "all-rounder" who has advanced the EUHA. "The EUHA's culture has always been one of sharing knowledge and learning from each other," Matthies emphasised. The audience expressed their gratitude to Martin Blecker by giving him a standing ovation.
EUHA Vice President Eva Keil-Becker awarded the EUHA Sponsorship Award for the ninth time. The laudatory speaker emphasised that "all papers were characterised by high sustainability and customer benefit", before she requested thunderous applause from the audience for Leif Johannsen, the winner of first prize. He received the award for his "Examination of microphone directivity of hearing aids in situations with multiple speech signals". Second place went to Sebastian Griepentrog for his "Comparison of the individual benefit of a wireless remote microphone system in the laboratory and with the situation in a classroom". Nikolai Kienitz was awarded third prize for his "Evaluation of noise reduction systems by signal separation in the frequency domain".
Prof. Dr. Karin Schorn presented the Research Award of the Research Association of German Hearing Aid Acousticians (FDHA) to Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Jürgen Kießling. He received the award for his special commitment as editor-in-chief of the German journal of audiology, Zeitschrift für Audiologie – Audiological Acoustics. Kießling received his post-doctoral lecturing qualification in audiology in 1982, and has published more than 300 publications and given some 500 lectures to date. Prof. Schorn asked the prize winner: "Einstein explained to us why the fourth relation exists. Perhaps you can tell us why you are never in a hurry and always admirably calm?" In addition, she paid tribute to a non-prize winner: Werner Köttgen was honoured for his tireless commitment to the Research Association of German Hearing Aid Acousticians.
Almost a hundred representatives of the media from Germany and abroad were present at the 63rd International Congress of Hearing Aid Acousticians, and covered the event in texts, images and sound. The EUHA offered a special programme for media representatives on the first day of the Congress.
Those who did not manage to attend the Congress, or wish to recap in peace and quiet what they heard, will soon be able to watch all the presentations online at www.euha.tv – this is also an achievement of digitisation!
Photos: EUHA/Foto Rechtnitz