On the occasion of its 50th anniversary, the EUHA has introduced the EUHA Sponsorship Award which was awarded for the first time this year. The idea was to encourage young talent in the hearing aid trade. The prize is given for outstanding theses with special relevance to hearing aid acoustics and innovative content that can be practically applied by members of the trade and, ultimately, for the benefit of people with impaired hearing.
The award winners were given the prize on 13 October 2010 as part of the opening ceremony of the 55th International Congress of Hearing Aid Acousticians held in Hanover, Germany. EUHA executive board members Eva Keil-Becker and Dirk Köttgen handed the certificates to Torsten Saile (FH Lübeck), Tillmann Alexander Harries (FH Lübeck), and Anja Honisch (AHA Lübeck). After the laudation held by Eva Keil-Becker in appreciation of the three award winners' outstanding achievement, the laureates presented short summaries of their theses. Among the audience was none other than David McAllister, the Prime Minister of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), who was sitting in the front row. In the keynote address he had given at the beginning of the opening ceremony, he referred to the first-class training and advanced vocational training options available for hearing aid acousticians. At the award ceremony, McAllister was given concrete insights into current research work.
In their papers, the three young acousticians were dealing with hearing rehabilitation for hearing losses affecting the auditory communication system. The jury placed great emphasis on the fact that the results should have auditory applicability to customers, procedures, and manufacturing processes, as well as being relevant for hearing aid fitting and customer service. Members of the jury included Martin Blecker, the EUHA president, EUHA executive board members Eva Keil-Becker and Dirk Köttgen as well as Siegrid Meier and Reimer Rohweder from the Lübeck-based Academy of Hearing Aid Acoustics (AHA).
The jury awarded the first prize worth 3,000 euros to Torsten Saile. His paper dealt with the subject of "Target auditory area in hearing aid fitting using percentiles". The work is based on close cooperation with hearing aid acousticians lasting more than four weeks, which not only emphasises practical orientation but also, as Eva Keil-Becker put it, serves as a link between research and practical application.
Tillmann Alexander Harries was awarded second prize (2,000 euros) for his "Examination of percentile analysis and measurements taken of functional elements of non-linear hearing aids using this method". The awardee has clearly demonstrated that percentile analysis is not only relevant to research, but also to the hearing aid acoustician's everyday work.
Anja Honisch's thesis, "Significance and motivation of the young-adult customer segment for first-time fittings", won third prize and prize money worth 1,000 euros. She looked into hearing aid marketing for young adults.
After the award ceremony, the awardees had their photos taken and gave interviews. And those who visited the trade exhibition, had a chance to have a personal chat with the prize winners at the AHA stand.
For half a century, the EUHA has campaigned for bringing together hearing aid acousticians, scientists and laymen with an interest in trade-specific and economic issues. All these stakeholders have made it their business to provide best possible care and support to people with impaired hearing based on advanced vocational training. The EUHA Sponsorship Award draws special attention to young talent in hearing aid acoustics. This is another forward-looking milestone on the EUHA's path to pursuing those concerns that this organisation has successfully implemented during the past fifty years.
Tillmann Alexander Harries (right)
"Examination of percentile analysis and measurements taken of functional elements of non-linear hearing aids using this method"
"Significance and motivation of the young-adult customer segment for first-time fittings"