September 2017Download PDF version
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European Association of Cochlear Implant Users
16, rue Emile Lavandier
L - 1924 Luxembourg
Fax: + 352 44 22 25
Greetings from the President
This summer EURO-CIU demonstrated once again, commitment empowering our youth with the European Friendship Week (EDF), which this year welcomed three new countries, Romania, Estonia and Italy, as well as returning countries from Denmark, England, Finland, Germany and Spain; and supporting music for all cochlear implant users regardless of their ages with the Beats of Cochlea Festival in Poland.
EURO-CIU got involved with EDF campaign trying to get the European Parliament to know which were our demands to try not miss the opportunity to pass a meaningful “Accessibility Act”. With our letters and tweets we believe we helped convince Members of the European Parliament (MEP) who wanted to water it down and as recently as 14th September, we are happy to announce the Parliament accepted most of our amendments for a quite good Accessibility Act that could make us proud.
We have to keep fighting in campaigns like Spend2Save but step by step we are going in a good direction. I want to personally thank everyone in EURO-CIU who has helped improve the future and empower our young, but as well to create a better quality of life for all cochlear implants users today.
Message from the Editor
We hope that you have had an enjoyable Summer. Many thanks to all those who have sent us information from your organisations - your news are of great interest to our readers worldwide.
Our Newsletter is published quarterly, and the next edition will be in December 2017. Your articles and photographs should please be sent to me by Monday 4 December. We look forward to hearing from you.
With kind regards.
Brian Archbold (Editor)
The draft “European Accessibility Act” (EAA) sets out requirements to make a number of products and services more accessible. The list includes: ticketing and check-in machines, ATMs, PCs and operating systems, phones and TV equipment, consumer banking services, e-books, e-commerce, transport, including public urban transport such as underground, rail, tramway, trolleybus and bus, and the related services, such as payment terminals, e-book readers, websites and mobile device-based services offered by audio visual media and tourism services.
The EAA, as the Parliament has said, “is a directive that includes persons with disabilities as well as persons with temporary or permanent functional limitations”, such as elderly persons, pregnant women and persons travelling with luggage, “in order to ensure genuine benefits and an independent life for a wider portion of society”.
The EAA will outline what needs to be accessible, but will not impose detailed technical solutions as to how to make it accessible, thus allowing for innovation.
The voting was held on Thursday 14th September and we are happy with the decisions adopted. A strong Accessibility Act was crucial to make a real difference in the lives of all people in Europe, including 80 million persons with disabilities and 150 million older people.
Led by a report from IMCO (Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committees), most MEP’s were worried that accessibility requirements would impose too many restrictions on business, products and services, so in a lot of cases they wanted to water down several articles or include loopholes for national governments to do their own legislation ignoring European requests, like for example: excluding from the Act local metros, trams or buses, as well as force to have an accessible cash machine but not an accessible bank building, which makes no sense.
During the last few years and mostly this past months, EDF and all the disability movements, including us, EURO-CIU, were trying to reach a bar of minimal standards for all European countries to accomplish in the near future, an accessible environment in all segments of society and after this vote, the EAA is more closely to be approved assuring for example, that taxpayers’ money could only be spent on accessible products and services.
We feel like the European Parliament has given a step ahead to try to improve all our lives in a more profound way, helping in their motto of “freedom of movement for all”, but we are disappointed the final draft law also includes safeguard clauses for micro-enterprises (less than 10 workers) in fear of what they say, could create a disproportionate burden.
"The cost of accessibility should not be seen as a burden but as an investment" Irish MEP Deirdre Clune
“We need a text worthy of this chamber!" Italian MEP Nicola Danti
“Accessibility is the right to education, work and free movement" Spanish MEP Rosa Estaràs Ferragut
“We have to remove all barriers" Hungarian MEP Ádám Kósa
We want to thank all MEPs who voted in favour of the amended text which was approved by 537 votes to 12, with 89 abstentions.
This vote gives Parliament’s team a mandate to start negotiations with Council, which has yet to agree on its position. We will keep you all informed.
Spend to Save: moving forward
(Image - examples of three of the summaries - these ones are in Dutch, Spanish and Turkish)
Spend to Save: moving forward
Our catch phrase, Spend to Save is continuing to capture the imagination and to be used to share our views that if we spend money on managing hearing loss well, we save money in the long-term! The message to politicians and funders is that hearing loss has a huge impact in adulthood, and is linked to depression, dementia, greater use of services and unemployment. Spending money on today’s hearing technologies changes lives, but also saves society money – SPEND TO SAVE.
The summary of the full report is now translated into English, Spanish, Dutch, French, Swedish, Italian, Turkish and German and print and web ready with many more on the way! The plan is to make these available and share the activities in each country, so that we build up a Europe wide campaign on hearing loss and its impact. The World Health Organisation’s resolution, passed in May, gives the calls to action for each country, and Spend2Save is one way of implementing these. These actions include:
The World Health Organisation’s “A Sound Investment” documents also call for greater investment on hearing loss by decision makers. Without changing policy, we won’t change practice, and our full report and summary provides evidence in a format that the decision makers can understand. And user groups are the best people to influence them!
Have a look at the Summary – there is a link to a pdf from the EURO-CIU website – see www.eurociu.org/index.php/en/spend-to-save and the full report with various Adult CI Strategy Reports can be downloaded from http://www.earfoundation.org.uk/research/current-research/adult-strategy-reports. Soon the other translations with work being done with them will be available on the websites.
The full Spend to Save report (Europe’s growing problem) was launched in Brussels in September 2016 by The Ear Foundation with the support of EURO-CIU, EFHOH, AEA and EHIMA; and the summary report was also launched there.
European Friendship Week (EFW) 2017
What did we do?
There was a busy timetable of fun and cultural activities as well as daily sessions developing leadership and self-understanding, as young people who wear cochlear implants. The underlying curriculum focussed upon technology use and how to interact within social groups. There was a strong emphasis upon developing ‘autobiographical memory’ which is linked with positive self-esteem, more successful leadership, positive decision making and stronger resilience.
The week included a lot of fun activities. There was an English countryside day when we completed a long walk, visited an English stately home and an old Pub; and an English city day, walking the walls of York, visiting the Viking centre and shopping for souvenirs. They enjoyed Morris dancing together, learning a traditional English dance. They created and painted pottery tiles to take home which were true masterpieces. They played lots of sport and outside and inside group games. They had a last night banquet together.
EFW is so much more than a holiday. It’s a week when lives change and when the young people put themselves in situations which will stretch and challenge them. This naturally happens because most of them are in the UK having to speak English. But it is far more than this. They focussed upon their leadership skills by each doing country presentations in front of 60 people. They accepted postcard and photo challenges which were off site activities. They undertook team working challenges which required them to work together, show initiative, give opinions and negotiate; one of these was the ‘Great EFW bake off challenge’. They grew in confidence as each of one joined in the EFW’s Got Talent show.
Each day they had sessions which covered the learning objectives of EFW. They broke into small groups to look at different communication situations which they found easy or more difficult. They identified and talked about different strategies they could use in different areas. They shared ideas and thought about how and with whom they communicated most effectively. They spent time everyday developing and reviewing their autobiographical memories. Individual scrap books were used to review their day in more detail. This enabled them to elaborate their thoughts and to deepen their perceptions of what happened and how.
The European Friendship Week events are officially OUTSTANDING
The UK government inspects residential events each year and again in 2017. The Ear Foundation were given the top rating of ‘Outstanding’ in all the 3 areas inspected. This is very hard to achieve and not many residential holiday schemes will be given this award. It is fantastic that the individual care and high-quality events provided by The Ear Foundation have been officially recognised by the UK government.
Highlights of EFW 2017
Young people stepping out and become more confident. Learning to be a team member and learning to be leaders, to negotiate, give opinions, support others and be real encouragers.
Seeing lasting friendships being made. Breaking down cultural differences and language barriers. Valuing diversity and understanding how similar they all are.
Seeing leaders emerge and blossom during the week. There were leaders who are young adult cochlear implant wearers, parents of CI children and professionals.
No one finished the week unchanged.
Delegation groups came from Denmark, Estonia, England, Finland, Germany, Italy, Romania and Spain.
EFW would like to thank each leader for their commitment and enthusiasm in bringing their country group and the organisations supporting their efforts. The leaders themselves had a great time together and gelled fantastically as a leadership team. It was tiring and hard work but also a wonderful privilege to work with together and to see the change and development in each of the young people over the week.
Its Sunday 22nd – Saturday 28th August 2018.
Collaboration between EURO-CIU and The Ear Foundation
The Ear Foundation runs EFW in collaboration with EURO-CIU. We would like to thank them for their ongoing support financially and for their help in advertising the event.
3rd International Festival of Children, Youths and Adults with Hearing Disorders ‘Beats of Cochlea’
Master Workshops in Kajetany, Poland on 10-14 July 2017
The third edition of ‘Beats of Cochlea’ took place in the World Hearing Center in Kajetany on 25th anniversary of the first cochlear implantation in Poland performed by Prof. Henryk Skarżyński. This year, the Festival has been organized in a new formula with four days of Master Workshops involving individual and group classes with music masters and classes in stage image and music memory. In the evenings Festival participants, their families, instructors and many guests coming especially for these events took part in science and music evenings with lectures of specialists in rehabilitation, psychology, speech therapy, pedagogy, musical therapy and with music performances by previous laureates and participants of present ‘Beats of Cochlea’.
This year, the Festival had more than 150 candidates from Poland, Australia, Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Hungary, Singapore, Germany, Kazakhstan, Portugal, United Kingdom, Taiwan, Philippines, Spain, Serbia and China. The preselection jury has chosen and invited to Kajetany 25 participants. In the final Gala Concert 10 finalists and invited guests performed. Prof. Ryszard Zimak, Chairman of the Festival Jury, emphasized that all participants had shown extraordinary artistic predispositions and were very professional on stage.
The crowning event of ‘Beats of Cochlea’ has been, as always, the Gala Concert with performances of Festival finalists. Beside the laureates, in the Gala Concert performed also invited guests, Polish and international artists who have personal knowledge of hearing difficulties, and patients of Prof. H. Skarżyński, laureates of previous editions of the Festival ‘Beats of Cochlea'.
In the finale, participants and guest artists have sung the Festival anthem ‘The World I Can Hear’ with words written by Prof. Henryk Skarżyński and music by Prof. Krzesimir Dębski. It had been performed for the first time in 2016, during the 2nd edition of the ‘Beats of Cochlea’.
The author and coordinator of the Festival and Concert is Prof. Henryk Skarżyński, who has created the ‘Beats of Cochlea’ to celebrate and showcase the musical talents of people with hearing problems using implants. An overarching goal is to make more people aware of the benefits of cochlear implantation so that they can take advantage of it to fully develop their educational, professional and artistic potential.
Prof. Henryk Skarżyński emphasizes the role of music in rehabilitation of hearing implant users, saying that appropriate music therapy conducted by a well-prepared music therapist significantly shortens the process of hearing rehabilitation and improves benefits achieved from a hearing implant.
The audience, including laymen as well as professional musicians, were amazed with the performances of all ‘Beats of Cochlea’ participants, commenting that they have undertaken and successfully achieved a very ambitious task and they are living proof that with wonders of modern medicine and technology, deafness is no obstacle in reaching for our dreams. All ‘Beats of Cochlea’ participants can feel proud of their accomplishments.
A tip from Ervin Bonecz, vice-president of the EURO-CIU: A NEW MOBILE APP, CALLED “AVA", SHOWS YOU WHO SAYS WHAT
AVA is brand new mobile app, available on iPhones and Android phones, empowers deaf and hard of hearing people to an accessible life. It is a small team around the world and they are breaking down communication barriers between the deaf and hard of hearing worlds. Who can benefit using the mobile app? First of all, workers, student and anyone who has problem with the hearing and anyone who has no problem with the hearing because AVA can make possible barrier-free communication between the two parties.
How does life look with this app? You can be an active member of the loop at your work. AVA enables you not to miss relevant information going around a table in the office. Communicate with your co-workers more effectively in meetings, or when having a coffee together. Live caption lectures, workshops and every bit of the student life. Bond with family, friends and newcomers. With AVA deepen your relationship and conversations.
Do not hesitate to download the app and start to use it in the company of your family friends or your co-workers! Developers are very open to any reaction, suggestions and opinions. Maybe AVA could be a real solution for captioning and make possible a much better and easier barrier-free communication.
For further information please visit: www.ava.me
From the Board - new logo and slogan required!
The European Federation of Audiological Societies (EFAS)
Photo: Birger Kollmeier (Foto: Wikipedia)
Prof. Dr. Dr. Birger Kollmeier, physicist and doctor from Oldenburg, has been elected as Incoming President of the European Federation of Audiological Societies (EFAS). This was reported by a newsletter of the University of Oldenburg in July.
EFAS is an umbrella organization of audiological societies in Europe. The aim of the organization is to promote a Europe-wide standardization of audiology. The developments of the concepts of the "General Audiologist" and the "Audiological Specialists" also go back to this.
During the past six years, Birger Kollmeier had already played a decisive role in the fate of EFAS as a general secretary. By the election as the incoming president, he will now be a member of the board of EFAS for another six years. He will assume the office of the President in two years, and after two more years he will serve as Past-President, the role of an advisory board member.
Birger Kollmeier, Director of the Department for Medical Physics and Acoustics at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universität Oldenburg, studied physics and medicine at the Universität Göttingen, Germany. He received the Ph.D. degree in physics (supervisor: Prof. Dr. M.R. Schroeder) and the Ph.D. degree in medicine (supervisor Prof. Dr. Dr. Ulrich Eysholdt) in 1986 and 1989, respectively. Since 1993, he has been Full Professor of physics at the Universität Oldenburg, Oldenburg, Germany and head of the Abteilung Medizinische Physik.
In addition to his professorship, Birger Kollmeier is the scientiﬁc director of the Hörzentrum Oldenburg GmbH (since 1996), the center of competence HörTech gGmbH (since 2000) and the Fraunhofer IDMT division for hearing, speech and audio technology (since 2008). Since 2012 he is coordinator of the Cluster of Excellence “Hearing4all”. Additionally, he is past-president and board member of the German Audiological Society (since 1997), Secretary-General of the European Federation of Audiological Societies (since 2011), and advisory board member of the German Acoustical Society. For 10 years, he was also board member of the German Society for Medical Physics.
AUSTRIA - In a festive Setting
Photo: CIA annual general meeting – Eckhard Schulz, founder of the AUDIOVERSUM, explains ‘how animals hear’.
On 3rd of May 2017, in the ‘Gardenpalace Liechtenstein’, the annual general meeting of the CIA took place
Johann Horak, Founder and Chairman of ‘Cochlear Implant Austria’ (CIA)
The Herkuleshall in the prestigious Gardenpalace Liechtenstein - a memorable setting. When overlooking the golden theatre style into the hall with its famous ceiling fresco, one can literally feel the history and the long gone aristocratic style of living.
The art museum, embedded in the palace, has for years only been opened to the public for rare and special occasions and guided tours. During MED-EL’s celebration: “A feast for the ears”, visitors had the opportunity to not only visit the ‘all about hearing’ - exhibit but also experience the premises and ambience of the palace. The stunning Herkuleshall, only a majestic stairway away from the exhibit, gave the perfect surrounding for the annual general meeting of CIA.
The meeting was well attended. A telecoil set-up, speakers and this year for the first time a sign language interpreter provided best perspicuity. Subsequent to the formal program, new members were welcomed to the association. Secretary Mag. Michael Wollrab reported from the EURO-CIU Symposium, held in Helsinki in April 2017, on the topic of speech and music therapy as well as rehabilitation.
According to Univ.-Prof. Dr. Wolf-Dieter Baumgartner, acting CIA President, Austria still needs to catch up when it comes to rehabilitation. Despite his many responsibilities, Prof. Baumgartner is still actively involved in the CIA, and this already since its foundation in 1992. During the annual meeting, the renowned surgeon presented the trends in implantation numbers from Austria with special emphasis on Vienna. He mentioned the problem of upcoming retirements of well reputed CI-surgeons. Furthermore, the Austrian Health Insurance is growing more and more conservative when funding hearing implants. These facts may result in under-supply of hearing implants in Austria, the CIA-president pointed out. He furthermore emphasized and positively mentioned the invaluable work of the CIA as an honorary led service-institution.
DI Ewald Thurner, MED-EL, was invited as a guest. He highlighted the good connections of the CIA with all CI-relevant institutions. He expressed his thanks to the extended work of the CIA-board members for the past 25 years. The celebrations were concluded by the entertaining presentation of Eckhard Schulz, founder of the AUDIOVERSUM, Innsbruck, entitled: ‘How animals hear’.
AUSTRIA - More successful than Don Quijote
Photo: The CIA board at the meeting of EURO-CIU 2017 at Helsinki: Karl-Heinz Fuchs, Hans Horak, Hilde Renner and Mag. Michael Wollrab.
Numerous hours of voluntary commitment made the CIA to the biggest Austrian association for people with hearing implants. On May 3rd 2017 the CIA celebrated its 25th anniversary.
It all started with a man who was ‘weeping buckets of joy’, as Hans Horak himself stated when he back then 40-year-old regained his hearing. A cochlear implant finally ended the endlessly seeming 20 years of deafness for him. Already in the 1970s the scientists DI Dr. Ingeborg Hochmair-Desoyer and Prof. Dr. Erwin Hochmair from the Technical University Vienna developed the worldwide first microelectronic multi-channel cochlear implant. On December 16th, 1977 Prof. Dr. Kurt Burian, surgeon and at the time director of the ENT-clinic, General Hospital Vienna, implanted the device for the very first time into a patient. 1988 also Hans Horak underwent the same pioneering procedure successfully.
“Present others the same opportunity”
Hans Horak remembers: “Even after a very short time I was able to detect first sounds – soon later speech understanding returned. After approximately a year I felt the need to present other hard of hearing and deaf people the same opportunity.” As a result, Hans Horak, together with Karl-Heinz Fuchs and Luise Schakata, founded a self-help group which today is known as ‘Cochlear Implant Austria’ CIA. From the very first minute the group cooperated with CI responsible speech therapists and ENT-clinicians. Their self-help group faced great challenges: On the one hand, a lot of the hard of hearing and deaf community had already given up on finding solutions to their hearing problem and on the other hand a lot of misinformation and shady allegations about Cochlear Implants were circulated. “It felt like tilting at windmills”, club founder Horak remembers, but especially this resistance motivated him even more in his doing.
With time also more and more deaf born children got implanted. As a result, the CIA extended their service in the direction of families and posed an important source of information for both, child and parent. Mag. Dominique Sturz remembers her first contacts with the CIA in the nineties: “At the meetings we saw for ourselves active users and how well their devices were functioning. This strengthened our faith in the CI and the Implantation that is required.” Her daughter was implanted in her early childhood and remained an active member of the CIA for many years.
Until today the CIA provides advice and assistance for people who are for the first time confronted with the burden of deafness. The awareness and access to hearing implants has improved dramatically in recent years and therefore the association has shifted its resources also to other duties.
Yearly highlights for the members are besides the Christmas party and the annual meeting, the summer-holidays in Velden am Wörthersee, organised since 2004. All members live the term ‘inclusion’ of the people concerned, relatives and friends with and without CI – long before ‘inclusion’ replaced the term ‘integration’.
Three times a year the CIA publishes the hearing relevant journal ‘Gehört.Gelesen’. The association also enables the purchase of cheaper batteries due to bulk orders.
The support of the CIA for CI users during financial constraints has often been proven to be successful – either by giving advice or by direct interventions, in cases were for example broken parts of the CI could not be replaced due to financial shortages.
“Like a snail in a shell”
Almost 10 years ago, the at the time eleven-year-old Melanie was implanted. Her parents soon used the CIA to get in contact with other ‘affected’ people. During a Panel discussion Melanie’s father described the importance of meeting other CI children in Velden. “At home in Waldviertel she is the only CI user”, explains her father Ing. Markus Fraisl. Especially for regionally separated families the contact and exchange with other users is of tremendous importance. “My daughter was very introverted during her early childhood – just like a snail in her shell”, also Hilde Renner, the active CIA head of Burgenland reminiscences. Only due to the self-help group her daughter learned that she’s not the only one and that she is not alone.
Even when treated with an implant: deafness still poses an invisible impairment, and especially successful CI users are often so well included into society, that their special needs within the community are easily overseen. Therefore, a strong lobby of self-help groups could counteract this problem.
AUSTRIA - Where proximity approved itself
Photo: Female power in the East of Austria – Hilde Renner, chair(wo)man of CIA Burgenland, and Gertrude Moser, chair(wo)man of CIA Lower Austria.
The ‘Cochlear Implant Austria’ (CIA) is an Austria-wide society with members throughout all states. Successful female power in the east of Austria deals with regional groups.
When Gertrude Moser was encouraged by her local clinician to establish a self-help group for CI users she was initially hesitant: “I had no self-confidence whatsoever anymore.” She had lost it with her hearing she reports. Today, the retired primary school teacher taps self-assured on her wineglass to make herself heard. “Thanks to the CI I regained a new life - with and especially through my involvement in the self-help society.” Today she leads the group in Lower Austria for 13 years already.
In 2004 further state-wide self-help groups were established, up to now Lower Austria and Burgendland are active.
Networking – without the need for long travels
When the Renner’s first visited a CIA meeting with their CI implanted daughter Agnes, 3 years of age, she was surprised and full of joy meeting other CI users: “Look mum, he is wearing the same!” Being aware that she is not the only one wearing an implanted hearing device increased Agnes’s mental strength further. Something, Mum Hilde would like to provide all CI users, especially the ones who cannot commute to Vienna for meetings. Every two months she offers a meeting for CI members of all ages in Burgenland. Agnes at 17 years of age is the youngest member and the oldest are already retired – some bring their family members to this inclusive get-together. “When going bowling or hiking we also bring the ones who never request anything from us. And Christmas is a must anyway.”
The ties of friendship in the group of St. Pölten are beyond the usual relationships within societies, Chair(wo)man Moser mentions pleasingly: “We are all 50 years of age and above – together with our shared handicap we sort of match even better.” Every month around 20 CI users get together. The flourishing associative life is accompanied with theatre and wine tavern visits, excursions, Summer and Christmas parties.
Not a discontinued model
Gertrude Moser fears: “We are a discontinued model. The younger generation uses other ways to interact and communicate. Internet – that’s the future.” The personal contact although cannot be replaced by online activities. CIA Burgenland chair(wo)men Renner is happy about new members in her society and hopes, “that it stays as familiar as it is right now.” The fully employed single mother of two almost grown up children is not only the chair(wo)man of the Burgenland society, but also the secretary of the Austrian-wide CIA, she leads a self-help group called ‘Hard of Hearing Centre Burgenland’ and represents in her region the Austrian Hard of Hearing Union, so called ÖSB. Each group has a different focus and the networking among the Austrian-wide main clubs on different levels provides expanded support for all members.
GERMANY - "Hören, Verstehen, Genießen; 20 Jahre BayCIV" ("Listening, Understanding, Enjoying; 20 years of BayCIV")
Photo: from left to right: Regine Zille, President of BayCIV; Hanna Hermann, former editor of Schnecke; Prof. Ulrich Hoppe; Herbert and Else Egert; Renate Genkel; Prof. Jochen Mueller, one of the most experienced CI-surgeons in Germany; Christina Hock; Erika Bogár-Sendelbach; Aleksandar Dordevic; Dr. Martina Junius, former representative of DCIG in EURO-CIU
Roundabout 200 guests joined the 20-anniversary event held in June in Munich.
In the welcome block, Dr. Dietmar Gruchmann, patron and first mayor of the city of Garching, Aleksandar Dordevic, disability commissioner in the district of Munich, Thomas Bannasch, Managing Director of Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft Selbsthilfe Bayern and (with some time offset in the afternoon) Dr. Roland Zeh, President of the DCIG talked from their perspectives of their experiences in dealing with hearing impairments or hearing-impaired people.
Prof. Jürgen Strutz (Regensburg) presented his contribution "hearing screening in Bavaria - the key to success in congenital high-frequency hearing loss and deafness" and Prof. Joachim Müller (Klinikum Großhadern, Munich) - a pioneer of the CI - with its exciting report "The Supply of CI from 1997 to Today".
Prof. Ulrich Hoppe (Erlangen) added the presentation series "From Hearing to Understanding" from the thematic environment "Understanding".
We enjoyed the wonderful soft jazz of "Barbara Roberts & Band" up to the coffee time in the afternoon. Beautiful pieces of music, emotionally intoned by Barbara with her velvety, very gentle and melodious voice, full of emotion. Accompanied by her band on the piano, the double bass, the drums and the saxophone.
You can find an article with pictures on our homepage:
Please watch our short video of the event:
HUNGARY - 10th Anniversary of MACIE
Hungarian Cochlear Implant Association (MACIE) celebrates the 10th Anniversary on 26 October 2017 in Budapest at the Attila József Theatre. Organisers have invited the professionals of the CI life to celebrate the anniversary at a whole day event.
The participants can listen to interesting presentations among others by professors, speech therapists, CI user children and adults, etc. The event’s two guest speakers are Ritva Torppa and Minna Huotilainen, researchers from the University of Helsinki. Teresa Amat, president of the EURO-CIU will be at the event virtually and open it by a video message.
MACIE in co-operation with Lapcy from Finland will present a photo exhibition about CI user children at the event. The exhibition will be available for a month at the gallery of the Attila József Theatre. It is a unique opportunity to introduce and promote cochlear implantation in a cultural milieu.
EURO-CIU members can attend the event free of charge. English translation will be available during the whole day. If you would like to make a long weekend in Budapest maybe it is a good reason to go.
SPAIN – Summer CampAICE
Each summer Federación AICE participates in the EURO-CIU / The Ear Foundation European Friendship Week summer camp, but the last 3 years, organizes as well a Spanish summer CampAICE. Nearly 40 participants from all over Spain gather to have 10 days of fun, friendships, day trips to closest cities and monuments and workshops to teach them, in a relaxed environment, topics like bullying, noise, etc.
This year the small town of Munébrega of only 400 habitants, close to Zaragoza, was chosen to welcome our teens, to run along their streets in games and treasure hunts. During the evening events, they became detectives to try to find the culprit of a murder between the suspects, leaders dressed up as accused who told them stories about the animosity between the town citizens.
As always, the leaders took care of the cochlear implants during the water activities, the swimming pool as well as the adventure activities, zip-lines and tree climbing, to ensure no harm comes to any devices, and the activities were accessible thanks to live transcription.
Comments from the kids:
UK – The story of Holly Loach’s cochlear implant, as described by her grandmother, Lesley Loach
August 2000 I am sitting in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Guy’s Hospital, London. My granddaughter, Holly, was rushed here by ambulance at 2.30 this morning from St Thomas’ hospital. She has been diagnosed with pneumococcal meningitis. My daughter and I were not allowed to travel with her in the ambulance. We followed in a taxi. The ambulance tore through the deserted London streets, its siren blaring and its lights flashing. Hannah and I are silent. We are beyond speaking.
Holly’s eyes are closed. At just fourteen months old, she looks tiny and vulnerable in the big cot. There are tubes everywhere and a nurse is sitting at the end of the cot looking at a screen intently. I don’t know what to do. I stroke Holly’s head cautiously. She flinches. I stroke her hand with one finger and sing quietly. I know what her favourite songs are. I imagine she is listening to me, but I can’t be sure.
I think it was when we were back in St Thomas’ after leaving the Intensive Care Unit at Guy’s that Hannah and I suspected that Holly was not hearing anything. It was noisy in the children’s ward but the noise seemed to have no effect on Holly. She just lay in her cot oblivious. I dropped the side of her cot one day with a great clang. Holly didn’t flinch and Hannah and I just looked at one another. That same day Hannah asked the doctors to test Holly’s hearing, which they did, and soon after they told us that Holly was profoundly deaf. A few days later, Hannah and Holly left St Thomas' Hospital. They had been there for two weeks.
The effect of Holly’s illness and subsequent deafness on the family was dramatic. It changed all our lives. None of us knew anything about what it meant to be deaf. It was particularly cruel for Mike and Hannah, both of whom are musicians. They were totally traumatised, as indeed was Holly, and they needed a lot of support. All our time and energy was focussed on them, to the exclusion of almost everything else. The entire family was involved. We went everywhere and anywhere for information. We talked to anyone who would listen to us. We attended seminars and study week-ends. We didn’t enjoy these occasions. It took a lot of effort and determination from us all to attend. At this early stage, we were still hoping for a cure and seemed unable to acknowledge the fact of Holly’s deafness. Her future seemed bleak.
However, we were advised by the many people we met at this time to do more research, and we started searching the internet for information. It was then that we began to learn about cochlear implantation. This is a sophisticated device which simulates sound electronically rather than magnifying it. And, with the help of some very caring people, we began to recognise that a cochlear implant was Holly’s best option. And so we got in touch with the Paediatric Cochlear Implant Team in Nottingham.
The implant team in Nottingham offered Holly a cochlear implant in her right ear, and the operation was performed in February 2001, when she was twenty months old. The operation was more of a success than we had dared to hope, and Holly was quite accepting of the equipment she had to carry around with her. (The Nottingham team offered Holly another implant in her left ear in 2007 when she was eight years old but, because of the build-up of ossification over the years, she has only eight electrodes in the left cochlea.)
Six weeks after being implanted, Holly was switched on. She had become deaf at fourteen months. She was a normal, hearing baby until she contracted meningitis, and she had a few words – mama, dada etc. Since her illness she had lived in a silent world for eight months. When she was switched on after the operation, she had to learn to listen and interpret the sounds she was hearing. This was a long and slow process, and required a great deal of hard work. Every sound had to be explained to her – the telephone ringing, the dog barking, the bacon frying, the loo flushing. She had every kind of therapy available and the whole family was involved in her development from a silent, angry little girl to the person she has become.
Holly's life was very busy. She spent three mornings a week at the Speech, Language and Hearing Centre in Euston, she had music therapy at the Nordoff -Robbins Centre in North London twice a week, and she attended a little ballet class. She had visits from speech and play therapists at home in Peckham. And she had to be re-tuned in Nottingham several times a year. These visits varied from being very exciting to being very traumatic. They were always exhausting. It was like treading on egg shells. Sometimes Holly was co-operative and responsive. Sometimes she was withdrawn and suspicious. Sometimes she simply fell asleep. She had a lot of tantrums and her tantrums were spectacular. She got very tired and very fed up. We all did. We were exhausted. We were always worried about her, always anxious, always watchful.
Looking back over these years, and Holly’s fight back into the hearing world, it now seems quite simple – it was a case of constant repetition. Her life was organised around simple tasks and sounds, and each task and sound was repeated again and again. Not a moment was wasted. We took hundreds and hundreds of photographs – of Christopher Place, Nordoff Robbins, all our houses – to try and communicate with Holly, and to explain where we were going or what we were planning to do.
We read to her constantly and reading stories to Holly took a long time. On the bus, in the tube, waiting at the hospital, wherever – we read stories. We read slowly, pointing to each word, pointing to each picture, and saying the word. Holly loved it. She revelled in it.
Not long after Holly had started attending the Hearing Centre at Christopher Place, Euston, we heard about a course in Los Angeles, which we were told Holly might enjoy and which might help her to find her voice. It was a three-week intensive course at the John Tracey Clinic, and we had a wonderful time. Holly had not started using her voice at this stage, but she was hearing and learning to listen. The day began in the main room of the clinic where the children played games and sang songs, with the therapists doing most of the singing. The children's equipment was tested and adjusted each morning, and in the afternoons, after an hour’s nap, each child was given a one-to-one session with their therapist. The mothers, fathers, and grandparents were able to watch the activities from a small enclosed balcony above the main room, unseen by the children.
One morning we watched as one of the therapists offered Holly a drink. "Orange juice or apple juice, Holly, which would you like?" she asked. Holly pointed to the apple juice. She poured Holly a drink, asking her to say ‘stop’ when the glass was full. Holly looked on in silence and the woman continued pouring until the glass was full and apple juice overflowed onto the table. Holly became very anxious at this point. The same thing happened the following day. "What would you like to drink, Holly?" Holly pointed to the apple juice again and, as soon as the woman began pouring, Holly yelled "DOP" at the top of her voice. I don’t know who was the most surprised – Holly, the therapist or Hannah and me in our little room. For sure we were all overjoyed.
Holly began her music therapy at the Nordoff-Robbins Centre just a few weeks after her implant. She and I went there twice a week. Our first session was after her operation but before she had been switched on and, although she was hearing nothing, she enjoyed every minute of it. Again, progress was slow, and again it was a case of constant repetition. She experimented with the many, different instruments and she sat on the piano while Jasenka, her therapist, played to her. We would make loud sounds, soft sounds, start a sound and stop a sound; we practised turn taking. It was all very basic. And this would be done again and again.
Holly became fully committed to her music sessions at Nordoff-Robbins and the therapy worked well for her. I don’t really understand how or why it worked for her - her implant is programmed for speech only, and not music - but music therapy had a huge impact on her behaviour and development. It seemed to open a door for Holly, and before long she was playing and practising the piano almost every day. She is lucky because her mother is a pianist and she works with Holly on a daily basis. Neither Holly nor Hannah has a day off. The work is ongoing. Both Hannah and Holly are totally committed.
In May 2009, when Holly was ten years old, she entered a national piano competition held by the European Piano Teachers’ Association (EPTA). Holly got through the heats, and she then went on to come joint first in the finals in London. In his summing up, the adjudicator described Holly’s performance as ‘very musical’ and praised the fact that she appeared to ‘listen’ to the ‘sound’ she was making – words we never expected to hear in relation to Holly. He went on to say, "Some excellent articulation and balance – conveying the story line with conviction and charm." He asked us, the audience, if we had noticed her arms, which he said reflected her musicality. Her whole body, he thought, was involved in the process of making music.
Holly is profoundly deaf and she has to work hard to keep up with her peers, yet she refuses to be defined by her deafness. She tells me that it is much harder for her now she is a teenager. When she was little, she didn't notice what she was missing, what she wasn't hearing. Now she's older, it is very apparent to her. And so she thinks the hardest part of being deaf is yet to come. However, she is feisty and determined and lives life to the full, enjoying every minute. And she is confident and principled.
Holly is eighteen now. She left school with three good A levels and has been offered a place at Bristol University to read English. She has faced the loss of her hearing with bravery and an infectious zest for life. Her miraculous ability to overcome her difficulties has been remarkable.
UK - Congratulations to Sue Archbold
Photo: Dr Sue Archbold with Professor Sir David Greenaway, Vice Chancellor of Nottingham University
Sue Archbold received her MPhil degree from Nottingham University in 1989 and her PhD from Radboud University Nijmegen in 2010.
She has now been given an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Nottingham University, in recognition of her work in the field of cochlear implants over many years, particularly with deaf children since 1987. Until the end of October 2016, Sue was Chief Executive of The Ear Foundation.
Congratulations Sue, from all of us at EURO-CIU.
UK - Felicity Morris – Rugby and Football player
Photo: Felicity Morris (second row on left, in blue) training at Manchester City Football Club
My name is Felicity and I am currently at University studying to be a sport PE teacher/coach. In my spare time, when I am not at work or university, I like to play sports. I play Rugby for the England women's Deaf team; I also play football for the Great Britain Deaf women's team and the Manchester City Deaf women's team.
Please click on my Facebook page, as I am trying to raise funds for my trip to Australia to play rugby:
UK - Bringing assessment support resources online
At the University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service (USAIS), we support a large geographical base across the South of England and the Channel Islands. In response to patient feedback, we have created a range of online resources to provide accessible information to meet their needs without having to come to the centre for extra appointments.
The assessment for a cochlear implant can be a very emotional time for patients. The decision to proceed often involves more people than the cochlear implant user alone. Online resources provide the ability to pass on the information to friends and family. It also allows them to review the information as many times as they like, in the comfort of their own home.
Our experience over nearly 30 years is that all cochlear implant manufacturers offer reliable devices with great outcomes, and so we encourage our patients to choose their own brand of cochlear implant. Their feedback told us that lifestyle factors rather than technology details is the usual determining factor in selecting their brand. As a supplement to the brochures and online materials offered by the cochlear implant manufacturers, we have always offered a device information and discussion appointment as part of the pre-operative preparation.
Previously this was done in a group session, however due to the amount of information; the challenges of making communication fully accessible and the variety of questions it was not possible to cover everything to make the session valuable for all.
Instead, USAIS developed a device choice website which has detailed information on each of the devices on offer and their strengths and limitations. The online tool encourages patients to think about their lifestyle and what is important to them to see which cochlear implant device would be best. It is designed to be read in conjunction with the manufacturers’ websites. There are sections on sports, swimming and telephone use as well as others. Regardless of the reason people have for making their decision, we hope to support and empower patients to do this with sufficient information and time. By having these resources accessible at home, they can refer back as often as they need to make an informed choice.
There is still the opportunity to ask questions and get hands on with the processors in a one to one ‘choosing my device’ appointment, as part of pre-operative counselling.
Visit the website at: http://aisdevicechoice.soton.ac.uk
Cochlear implant experiences
We include in the assessment process an opportunity to find out more about life with a cochlear implant. One of the most popular sessions is the opportunity to meet a current cochlear implant user and hear their first-hand experience. USAIS hold these sessions throughout the year with the assistance of volunteers. However, as every cochlear implant user will have a different background, hearing history and outcomes, some stories may be more relevant than others.
Using volunteers from our patients we have filmed and put online a bank of cochlear implant user experiences to supplement in-person meetings. The cochlear implant experiences website contains a repository of stories from adult cochlear implant with a variety of backgrounds, age groups and hearing histories. Their stories are personal and highlight the variety of individual outcomes. There are also compilation videos around more general themes such as the operation, accessories and early days with the device. This website showcases that no two experiences are the same, but allows the patient to build a picture and hopefully have realistic expectations.
Visit the website at http://aisexperiences.soton.ac.uk
We have had great feedback from patients about the tools which have been developed so far and many more of our patients have asked if they too can volunteer to share their stories to support others joining the USAIS cochlear implant community. We plan to make even more information available online in the future.
UK – Using radio aids with young deaf children: exciting implications for spoken language
The first few years of a child’s life are an exciting and important time for development. Babies need interaction with their parents for communication to develop; hearing is also essential for spoken language and the earlier a child can hear speech, the better their opportunity to learn to listen and talk. Hearing technologies such as cochlear implants and hearing aids can provide the necessary hearing; however early speech and language development takes place in all the routines of daily life, which are full of difficult listening conditions such as playing outside, travelling in the car or a buggy and even around the house. Using a radio aid is one way to help overcome these difficulties by transmitting the speaker’s voice directly to receivers on the child’s hearing technology to improve the Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR). Using radio aids with children in school is well-established practice; however, despite encouraging research findings, provision of radio aids for babies and young children during their critical period of language development is inconsistent and inequitable.
This study conducted by The Ear Foundation recruited twenty-one families to explore the benefits and challenges of radio aid use with a deaf child aged 4 years and under using any form of hearing technology. Using both quantitative and qualitative measures, the study investigated potential differences in behaviours with and without radio aid use and sought parents’ insights into the experience.
This study backs up existing evidence that using a radio aid improves hearing for speech in noise and at distance, which means that the child hears more of what their parents are saying to them. However, it also provides a new and fascinating insight into their interaction suggesting that when using the radio aid, the child is more responsive, their parent to use more words and to make more of everyday opportunities for language. These factors of increased quantity of language and parent-child interaction are predictive of successful language outcomes, which suggest that using a radio aid can help young children with hearing loss to achieve their linguistic potential. Findings also showed a positive impact on the well-being of both the child and the parent.
Parents told us:
‘Speech-wise she is picking up on more; she is using more language because she can hear what we are saying more. She is definitely more vocal with it, more likely to communicate’
‘As a parent, it is a massive, massive reassurance to walk down the street with him and know he can hear me.’
Recommendations from the study include:
GLOBAL NEWS – American Cochlear Implant Alliance Focusing on Research, Advocacy and Awareness
CI 2017 – 15th Symposium on Cochlear Implants in Children
American Cochlear Implant Alliance, Stanford University School of Medicine and University of California San Francisco collaborated on the 15th Symposium on Cochlear Implants in Children held on July 26-29, 2017. The meeting was a huge success with over 1,300 attendees meeting to share information on topics that have the greatest impact on improving outcomes for children with cochlear implants.
Sessions in the areas of medical/surgical, audiology and therapy/education allowed in-depth exploration of challenging clinical topics. Cochlear implant companies offered technology talks over breakfast each morning. The exhibit area provided opportunities for CI companies, other companies, and various providers to share information on hearing devices, professional services, educational programs and hearing health products. An afternoon poster session provided additional learning opportunities on a wide-range of topics on cochlear implantation and related hearing devices, early intervention, educational issues, device programming, music perception and appreciation, and surgical issues.
CI 2018 DC – Emerging Issues in Cochlear Implantation
Four CI2018 DC Emerging Issue Topics:
1. Parental Engagement in Paediatric CI Outcomes
2. Quality of Life (QOL) Associated with Cochlear Implantation
3. Cochlear Implant Practice Management: Maximizing Value for Optimal Delivery of Care
4. CI Candidacy in 2018
ADVANCED BIONICS - Hearing with Two Ears - The Naída Family of Hearing Solutions
Hearing your best is important and you shouldn’t settle for anything less than a complete solution. This means that you want to keep both of your ears working together and contributing to your hearing experience.
The Naída CI sound processor is the only cochlear implant system capable of automatically establishing a wireless network with the hearing device on your other ear, using Phonak Binaural Voicestream Technology™. This network allows you to simultaneously adjust your volume or change programs in both ears with a single button press, keeping you perfectly synchronized. The devices can share audio signals, allowing you to stream phone calls to both ears and enjoy better speech understanding in really noisy backgrounds.
The Naída CI can communicate with another Naída CI, a hearing aid, or even a wireless CROS microphone worn on the other ear. With the right combination, you are sure to enjoy the sounds from both ears, no matter where you are on your hearing journey. The Naída CI sound processor can meet your personal hearing needs. If you have hearing in your other ear or even if you don’t, there is a Naída solution for you.
ADVANCED BIONICS - Advanced Bionics extends their portfolio of solutions for CI users with the introduction of the Naída Link CROS Solution
Advanced Bionics (AB) and Phonak announced an industry first for cochlear implant users. The Phonak Naída™ Link CROS, a wireless audio transmitter, was introduced to provide full access to sounds for unilateral cochlear implant candidates with no hearing in their opposite ear.
Approximately 30%– 45% of cochlear implant recipients¹ are single-sided listeners who are at a significant disadvantage when positioned with their “hearing ear” away from the speaker, as might happen in automobiles or at meetings or group dinners. A second cochlear implant would be beneficial but access may be limited due to medical indications or cost. The Naída Link CROS is a tiny, ear-level device that picks up signals presented to the “non-hearing” ear and instantaneously transmits them to the cochlear implant system on the “hearing ear.” A recent study demonstrated that the Naída Link CROS provided immediate improvement in speech understanding in quiet and noise and a better overall hearing experience².
The Naída Link CROS allows unilateral cochlear implant recipients to hear from wherever they want and walk into any listening situation with more confidence. It is so discreet and easy to use that they can just switch it on to enjoy hearing from both sides and wear it without being noticed.
Not all products are available in all territories. Please contact your local AB representative for availability in your region.
COCHLEAR - Cochlear™ Nucleus® 7 - the world’s first and only Made for iPhone® cochlear implant sound processor
The smallest cochlear implant sound processor and SmartApp deliver clinically proven hearing performance with Made for iPhone® technology that allows direct streaming from iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
As Cochlear launches the highly anticipated Cochlear Nucleus 7 System, they also introduce a new message to recipients and those who care for them. This is not a cochlear implant system designed simply around what technology can deliver. Cochlear has listened to the people who rely on cochlear implants to connect with the hearing world and has heard and considered the needs of experienced professionals in the industry, then sought out and developed the best technology available to meet those requirements.
Nucleus 7 is an exciting new system designed and built to let you do things your way.
Find out more about the exciting new Cochlear Nucleus 7 System here >
COCHLEAR – Graeme Clark Scholarship Award supports promising mathematician
“Being recognised for my achievements has brought home how important my Cochlear implantation has been for me. The technology is giving me the opportunity to reach my full potential.”
Student Angus Redford from Angus, is the winner of the £6,000 2017 Cochlear™ Graeme Clark Scholarship Award for outstanding students who have overcome hearing loss. The Ceremony was held in Edinburgh on 16 June 2017.
Angus, 19, who is studying for a Masters in Mathematics (Honours) was deafened by pneumococcal meningitis when he was just 16 months old, beat contenders from across the UK & Ireland to win the award, and, is recognition of the struggles he has overcome to win a place at the prestigious St Andrews University.
On his second birthday Angus was implanted with a Cochlear™ Nucleus® implant system.
Angus attended mainstream school, and with the support of family, friends and hearing healthcare professionals at the Scottish Cochlear Implant Programme – as well as lots of hard work and determination – achieved excellent exam results and won academic awards, including the prestigious Dux Award for Academic Excellence before continuing to advanced education.
As well as achieving academically, Angus has realised personal success by competing in bowling and curling championships for his local club. In his spare time he also enjoys rock climbing and running.
On hearing that he had won the award, Angus said “I am over the moon at being awarded the scholarship. Being recognised for my achievements has brought home how important cochlear implantation has been for me. The technology is giving me the opportunity to reach my full potential.”
“Although I have achieved academic success, for me personally it’s more about being integrated into the hearing world. It’s about having wider choices and opportunities. It’s about sharing jokes with my family and friends. It’s about being included and not side lined.”
Stuart Thomas, General Manager adds, “At Cochlear, our mission is simple, we help people hear and be heard. We empower people to connect with others and live a full life. We help transform the way people understand and treat hearing loss and we innovate and bring to market a range of implantable hearing solutions that deliver a lifetime of hearing outcomes. The scholarship is a great way to demonstrate our commitment to this mission and recognises outstanding academic success as well as Cochlear’s ideals of leadership and humanity. It is a great achievement to receive the award and we are extremely proud to honour Angus. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for him.”
A support team of hearing healthcare professionals from the Scottish Cochlear Implant Programme attended the ceremony. Agnes Allen, Head of Service/Consultant Clinical Physicist said, “The Cochlear Implant Team are extremely proud of Angus. We have known him since he was a toddler and it has been a pleasure and a privilege to see him grow up and achieve so much. He is a highly intelligent, good humoured young man with a great positive attitude and we would like to congratulate him on this award and wish him well in his future studies.”
The scholarship was established in honour of Professor Graeme Clark to thank him for pioneering work that led to the first multi-channel research implant ‘bionic ear’ being ‘switched on’ in 1978 and the first Nucleus® Implant in 1982.
MED-EL Launches Themed Lesson Kits
MED-EL is excited to announce the launch of a new rehabilitation resource available on the MED-EL Professional Blog, free to download at: https://blog.medel.pro/rehabilitation-resources/
“Themed Lesson Kits” is a new initiative to support rehabilitation specialists and speech therapists working with young children with hearing loss. The kits offer a series of lessons around a general topic (home, animals, transport etc.) with multiple activities that can be used over several sessions. Each lesson kit has three levels, so learning can be tailored to the abilities of the child.
To find out when the next lessons are available, subscribe to MED-EL’s Professional Blog:
MED-EL - Interview with Ingeborg Hochmair: Birth of the modern CI and the life-changing impact it has had on tens of thousands of recipients worldwide
Photo: Ingeborg & Erwin Hochmair
Ingeborg Hochmair is the Chief Executive Officer of MED-EL, an industry leader in hearing solutions. She co-founded the company with her husband, Erwin Hochmair, in the late 1980s, and previously studied at Vienna Technical University. She became the first woman at the institution to receive a doctorate in electrical engineering. Together, Ingeborg and Erwin’s pioneering research led to the development of the world’s first modern cochlear implant (CI), which was successfully implanted on 16 December 1977.
Interviewer: How have modern Cis impacted the lives of people with hearing loss?
IH: The amazing thing about CIs is that they are the only medical device capable of replacing a sense. For people affected by severe or profound hearing loss, a CI is often the only technology that can enable them to hear, thereby significantly enhancing their quality of life.
The CI is not a life-saving device, but I would say that the impact on recipients is life-changing. It can open up a world of communication and allow users to connect with society in a way they might not have been able to before. It is connected with every child’s human right for education, and can alleviate isolation and cognitive decline in older adults.
Interviewer: Your work led to the development of the modern CI and it was implanted in 1977. What motivated you then and is it the same thing that motivates you now?
IH: What motivated me and my husband then was our desire to use science and technology to remove hearing loss as a barrier to people’s communication. While the company, and the team that make it all possible, has grown this is still the driving force behind all that we do.
It’s all about bringing technology to patients who can benefit from it and continually improving the technology for the end user. We focus on every aspect of the device to make them easier to fit and re-fit, perhaps via remote fitting, which is a new trend. Over time everything should become easier to use, smaller and more efficient.
Interviewer: MED-EL’s products are designed to be fully backwards compatible as well as future-ready. Why is this?
IH: This is very important and has always been at the heart of our values at MED-EL. Patients who received a multi-channel implant over twenty years ago can still be upgraded to the newest sound processors and benefit from the latest research. For instance, at MED-EL we have a coding strategy called ‘Fine Structure Processing’. It’s coding of the fine structure element of the sound signal that helps with more complex sounds, such as music.
There should also be a responsibility on developers to research and preserve the tiny delicate structures of the inner ear for future technologies. This is particularly relevant for children born today, when huge advances may be made over their lifetime.
This research is characterised by our diverse portfolio of hearing systems such as the Vibrant SOUNDBRIDGE and now ADHEAR, we’re continuing to open up a whole new world of sound to people with different types of hearing loss, enabling more people to overcome hearing loss as a barrier to communication.
I am passionate about clinical medical research in the field of CIs because of the close contact and trustful cooperation with the users, which is not only essential but also fascinating.
Interviewer: What would you like to see happen in the future with regards to the development of hearing implants?
IH: What I would really like to see is improved global access to hearing implants so that everyone who is eligible has the opportunity to experience the benefits. Hearing loss should not be a barrier to communication and at MED-EL we are working hard to widen access to our implant technology.
There are still so many children around the world born deaf who don’t have access to hearing implant technology and we are working with professionals in many countries to increase the access to children by 2020. Young adults and the elderly can also benefit greatly from this technology. Untreated hearing loss can contribute to cognitive decline, so, for instance, in the U.S., 12% of recipients are older than eighty years old. However, there are still so many people who should receive a CI that don’t – mostly because they haven’t heard of this therapy. So I wish not only to continually improve the hearing implant technology but also increase accessibility and awareness to benefit more people.
MED-EL supports hearing impaired musicians to attend one-of-a-kind international music festival
‘Beats of Cochlea’ music event helps people with hearing loss to fulfil their musical dreams
This July, 24 musicians living with hearing loss attended the ‘Beats of Cochlea’ Festival – the 3rd International Music Festival for Children, Youths and Adults with Hearing Disorders. Sponsored by MED-EL, a leading hearing implant provider, the festival celebrates music enthusiasts from around the world who are able to hear and enjoy music with the help of a hearing implant.
This year’s ‘Beats of Cochlea’ Festival highlighted that hearing loss is no longer an obstacle to developing a musical talent or appreciating music. Taking place from 10-14 July at the World Hearing Centre in Kajetany, Poland, the festival was a unique opportunity for those living with hearing loss to share the gift of music with others.
Hearing implant recipients from countries such as China, Austria, Singapore and Kazakhstan applied to participate. Twenty-four qualified to attend the festival, including Eva Costa aged 39 from Portugal who played the flute and Chingiz Agibaev aged six from Kazakhstan, who performed a vocal piece.
This year, the festival adopted a new and improved format, which included vocal and instrumental masterclasses with professional musicians from around the world. Across the four days the musicians shared their experiences with festival attendees. The event concluded with a gala concert where participants performed the musical pieces they developed during the masterclasses.
Johanna Pätzold, MED-EL’s in-house musicologist, said: “Beats of Cochlea helps people of all ages from more than two dozen countries fulfil musical dreams that may otherwise not be possible. The unique format of the event enabled attendees to learn from the experts and share the gift of music with others going through similar experiences. As a leading provider of hearing implant solutions, we are proud to support a truly global event that celebrates music and enriches the lives of people living with hearing loss.”