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EURO-CIU Newsletter. December 2016

Written by EUROCIU on .

December 2016

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EURO-CIU
European Association of Cochlear Implant Users
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Message from the President

Photo of Teresa Amat, President of EURO-CIU

Dear Friends,

In this 2016 last edition, I want to thank all EURO-CIU members for contributing with your news in this newsletter.  Explain to the rest of the world that our activities make us more visible and stronger as a group in our aspirations and demands.

As well, you will find all technical and technological advances from the different CI producers; which put us ahead in connectivity and a future which is already a reality in our present.  We thank them as well for their collaboration in their articles.

We are present in European events and working in the European Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deafblind Platform, as well as active members in other groups inside EDF to work on accessibility, media, transport, the European disability card, to expose our specific needs in the political decision making forums and meeting with MEP’s to present them with our particular demands inside the disability world.

As you will see in this newsletter, we are betting on the #CochlearImplantDay with our new logo we encourage you to use in any activity in your own organisations.

With visibility, participations and communication concepts, we urge you to reconvene in Helsinki in April and in the meanwhile, have a happy holidays and a well-deserved rest.


Mª Teresa Amat
EURO-CIU President on behalf the Board


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Message from the Editor

(Image - looking forward to Helsinki in April 2017)

Many thanks for all your contributions - it's good to hear from a number of different countries!  And we are also grateful to the cochlear implant companies for keeping us up to date.  I know that it's a busy time of year, so it’s good to hear from you.

Please feel free to forward this Newsletter to Members of Parliament, friends, colleagues and members of your own organisations.  We are keen to increase the number of people who can read about the benefits of cochlear implantation.  Let’s get the message across, particularly as we celebrate 60 years of cochlear implants – please see the article about International Cochlear Implant Day.

The next edition will be due in March, so please let me have your articles and jpg photos by Monday 6 March 2017.  Just e-mail them to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

It just leaves me to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a contented and peaceful New Year.

… and see you in Helsinki in April for the EURO-CIU Symposium and General Assembly!

Brian Archbold (Editor)
________________________________________


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Welcome to the 11th EURO-CIU Symposium & GA in Helsinki, Finland

Living with a Cochlear Implant

The 11th Euro-CIU Symposium will take place in Helsinki Finland. Save the date from 20th to 22nd April 2017 for EURO-CIU Symposium & GA. The event is organised by LapCI ry and CiTo/Kuuloliitto ry.

The venue is The Light House, a multipurpose centre owned by the Finnish Association of the Deaf, Finnish Federation of the Hard of Hearing and Service Foundation for the Deaf. There are different-level possibilities for accommodation in the very near proximity.

We will provide you with all the special information package for the EURO-CIU members which includes arrival information, recommendation for hotels and more specific information re the schedule in January.

Registration will be open also in January. More info available here: www.euro-ciu2017.fi/en/.

If you have any questions, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Our symposium topics include: Health Economics, Accessibility to Education and Life-Long Learning, Multilingualism, Peer Support and Rehabilitation, Design for All and Music and Cognitive Development. The symposium will be an interesting mix of scientific lectures and practical, down-to-earth workshops where you can learn by doing.

Seasons greetings from the country of Santa Claus. We are looking forward to meeting you all in Helsinki in April!

    On behalf of the Organising Committee,

    Ulla Konkarikoski          Pekka Lapinleimu
    LapCI ry                        Kuuloliitto ry


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25 FEBRUARY – International Cochlear Implant Day

EURO-CIU would like to celebrate with all of you the International Cochlear Implant Day by spreading awareness about this incredible technology that has given more than 150,000 people in Europe and nearly 400,000 people around the world, access to sounds.  60% implanted in adulthood and 40% as kids.

February 25 has been named “International Cochlear Implant Day” because on that day in 1957, two French doctors, André Djourno and Charles Eyriès, were the first to electrically stimulate the auditory nerve by placing an electrode outside the cochlea.  So we are celebrating this year its 60th anniversary.

The first International CI Day was held in 2009 by the Spanish CI-users organisation ‘Federación AICE’, making this year the 8th one.  Since then, more than 40 different countries all over the world have adopted this day to create awareness and positive media attention to cochlear implantations.

95% of cochlear implant users are satisfied with their device and are able to hear again thanks to it.  EURO-CIU wants to remember, not all disabilities are visible with a simple look.  Cochlear Implant users live in a society full of communication barriers, that is why is so important to us to bring down the communication barriers and have equal access to information and other public services. We are not invisible! Bring down the barriers! We can hear, now it is the turn of society to hear us!

Join our International Cochlear Day celebration on the 25th of February!

Because of this anniversary, EURO-CIU Board has decided to design a "celebratory" logo that we would like all of you to use in your posters / photos, etc.  We would want you to use it as if it is one of your own.  We have in other image formats, pdf & eps, so contact us if you or your designer prefers it, instead of the jpg.

We can also let you have an International Cochlear Implant Day information pack, so you can use it in your own countries as a base if you need to.  A lot of countries have joined on this day already.

The EURO-CIU Board encourages you to do an activity, a press release, a get together with your members, use it as an excuse for a "political" meeting, a conference, etc.  This next year, the 25th is on a Saturday, but you can do your activity during the previous days/weeks or afterwards, and still relate it to the "International Cochlear Implant Day".

In the days prior to International Cochlear Implant Day, we would like to publish information on our website www.eurociu.eu & twitter.com/eurociu, so please, inform us in advance (if it is possible by the end of this year) about your ideas/agenda.  If you do a poster, banner, etc, send it to us, we will publish it and announce it, as well as include your country in the next year’s information pack.

Afterwards, we would like you to send us a picture of the event and prepare some short article for the newsletter.

If you have Twitter, use #CochlearImplantDay hashtag.

If all Europe gets together and shows a united front, society will pay attention.

Make some noise! We are not invisible!  Bring down the barriers!  We can hear, now it is the turn of society to hear us!


COUNTRIES ALL OVER THE WORLD CELEBRATE THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE COCHLEAR IMPLANT American countries Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Panamá, Paraguay, Peru, Santo Domingo, Venezuela, United States, Uruguay. European countries Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Germany, Portugal, United Kingdom, Spain, Turkey Asian countries India, Indonesia Oceanía Countries Australia, New Zealand, Asia Pacific

www.eurociu.eu  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   www.twitter.com/eurociu


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Adult Hearing Loss – Europe’s biggest challenge – “Spend to Save”

Front cover of the Spend to Save report

Have you downloaded your copy of “Spend to Save”, the report launched in Brussels in September with EURO-CIU, The Ear Foundation, EFHOH, AEA and EHIMA?

You can download the full report from: http://www.earfoundation.org.uk/files/download/1427

And a summary of the report from: http://www.earfoundation.org.uk/files/download/1428


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European Day of Persons with Disabilities 2016

(Photo: The winners of the European Access City Awards were announced by the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen and EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis together with the Belgian actor Pascal Duquenne and the Italian Olympic Athlete, Beatrice Vio. This is the European-wide award that rewards cities for their efforts in becoming accessible to all.)

EURO-CIU is participating since the end of November in Brussels European Day of Persons with Disabilities 2016 celebration on the European Commission.  The celebration was done in advance, because officially the date was 3th December.

If you want to publish some information in your own country, you can use the information from the press release as a base, to talk about the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), the European Day of Persons with Disabilities and/or as well the Accessibility City Award to celebrate the winners or encourage cities in your country to present themselves to the award next year.  Please click on http://eurociu.org/index.php/en/inicio-en/78-last-news/395-european-day-of-persons-with-disabilities-2016-crpd-implementation-in-europe-cannot-be-business-as-usual for full details.

The winner of 2017 Access City Award is: Chester, UK. The 2nd prize goes to Rotterdam, the Netherlands and the 3rd prize to Jurmala, Latvia. Cities in Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Italy have receIved mentions as well.

It is important we keep being visible.  Make some noise so we are heard as we can hear them!

Check the press release and if you want more information, do not hesitate to contact our President.


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3rd Edition of the School of Democracy

Date: Wednesday, April 19 - 22, 2017

Duration: 3 days

Location: Italy

Share your opinions with other young people on issues such as the role of Europe in the world, development, migration, fair trade, democratic challenges and experiences and the rise of illiberal democracy.

Submit your application now!

The Group of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament will organise its third "School of Democracy", from 19 - 22 April 2017, in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Over the course of three days, 100 young people from both inside and outside the EU will discuss the major issues facing Europe and the world. From development policies to migration, from fair trade to the challenges of globalisation, from the struggle for democracy in Africa to the rise of illiberal democracies in Europe and the US, participants will have the chance to debate with experts from the political, economic and academic worlds.

To be eligible to apply you have to be between 18 and 25 and be passionate about progressive politics. Travel, hotel and meal expenses will be paid. There will be interpretation in the main languages of the EU, but a good knowledge of English would be an advantage.

Interested? You are advised to apply as soon as possible, as for practical reasons we can only take into consideration the first 1000 applications. The top 100 of these will be selected for the school and will be contacted by late January 2017 at the latest. A detailed programme will be published shortly.

The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament are deeply committed to the promotion of equal opportunities, diversity and multiculturalism. Therefore feel free to tell us more about your economic, social and cultural background when applying for the School of Democracy.

Learn more about the 2016 School of Democracy edition

For more information, please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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AUSTRIA - Reaching older adults to show the opportunities of cochlear implants

(Photo: CI-users Prof. Dr. Michael Frass, Elisabeth Randa and Hans Horak, Ing. Markus Fraisl (father of CI-user) and Dr. Alexander Nahler (ENT-specialist and CI-surgeon) at the round table discussion ©C.Kronewettleitner)

CIA at Vienna trade fair, ‘Zest for Life’

Still many older people with hearing loss are missing out on the benefits of cochlear implants as they are either not aware of them, or feel that they are inappropriate for people of their age. To overcome this lack of knowledge, “Cochlea Implantat Austria” (CIA) decided to approach elderly citizens directly, at ‘Lebenslust’ (Zest for Life) – Vienna’s trade fair for seniors.

The four-day event, which took place 19-22 October 2016, saw 200 exhibitors from all over Austria present on topics ranging from fashion and travel to healthy ageing to over 35,000 senior citizens.

“Older adults could benefit so much from cochlear implants, but we see a huge unmet need particularly among this age-group. People just do not know enough about them, or assume that they are not for them. At this trade fair we are in direct contact with the target group of older adults and can answer their questions from first-hand experience. A great way to raise awareness for our cause!” said Hans Horak, CIA Chairman.

Most frequently asked questions about CIs for elderly

To educate the public on cochlear implants and answer any questions or concerns that people had was the goal CIA had at the exhibition. To truly bring the topic and experience to life, older people who had received cochlear implants were along to answer questions. They were able to give first-hand accounts of the journey from developing hearing loss to choosing to have a cochlear implant and the benefits this has had on the quality of their life.

The most frequently asked questions were:

  • My partner is severely hard of hearing, would they benefit from cochlear implants?
  • What is the risk from surgery and being under anaesthetic?
  • What age is too old for cochlear implants?
  • When it is noisy I can’t hear, even with my hearing aids, would the same thing happen with cochlear implants?
  • What costs are associated with receiving a cochlear implant?

As we see, it is still not widely known that hearing implants are fully reimbursed in Austria if candidate criteria are met.

Knowing these are the most important questions to seniors considering cochlear implants is important in moving forward.

Round Table discussion

CIA also took part in a round table discussion during the trade fair. On the panel were four people who had received cochlear implants, as well as an ENT surgeon. There was a lively discussion, and the audience participated through a dedicated question and answer session. It was clear the audience were impressed by how well the people with cochlear implants could hear and communicate, even in such a noisy environment.

Spreading information

This was a pilot project for the CIA to take its story to seniors in places they traditionally visit, rather than waiting for them to come to it. We were delighted that this effort was a positive experience for all and are encouraged by the interesting conversations that we had. Over the four days lots of people were educated about cochlear implants and have understood the benefits they can bring to older people. These people will hopefully spread the word to their friends, family and people they meet, who might benefit from a cochlear implant.


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AUSTRIA - The beginning of the Advent season in Lower Austria

The Lower Austria branch of the CIA kicked off the Advent season on Friday, November 25th – the Friday before the first Sunday in Advent – with its yearly Christmas Meeting. Up to 50 members met for lunch to chat and say thank you to those who gave their time and energy to the group over the past year.

Like every year, Elisa Lendl-Merheim and her family provided the entertainment. Elisa Lendl-Merheim, whose godmother is CIA-Lower Austria´s chairwoman Gertrude Moser, took jazz and popular music singing classes for six years. A kindergarten teacher during the week, in her spare time she performs with several choirs and a band called “Kuschelrocker”. Once a year, together with her mum and her two kids, she presents a contemplative program at CIA Lower Austria Christmas Meeting. While the temperatures outside were still way above the freezing point, everyone nevertheless joined in singing the song “Little snow flake, little white coat”.

After five hours together, most of the group said their good byes, while some of the regulars stayed for one last coffee and another chat – next year they will see each other again for monthly meetings, excursions and visits to the theatre.


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GERMANY – BayCIV e.V. on a trip to the Hungarian Cochlear Association

Report on our inclusive tour to Hungary from 3 to 8 September 2016

Budapest has brought up many well known personalities such as the satirist Ephraim Kishon, trend-setting Theodor Herzl, the actress Zsa Zsa Gabor (who recently died, aged 99) or the master of organisation Margit Gamberoni.  It was she who guided the tour to Hungary that was arranged according to the needs of hearing impaired people, and was funded by the Bavarian Cochlea-Implant Association.

In the early morning hours of September 3 the bus of „Basel-Reisen“ left from Viereth and went to pick up 50 passengers from different Bavarian locations.  Among them were also 2 children of the age of 8 and 10 who already love travelling.

At the beginning, Mrs. Gamberoni handed out lovingly arranged folders which included much information and a variety of beautiful pictures.  That way we learnt much about the history of Hungary and got to know the different coats of arms in different ages.  Who of us had known before that the national symbol, the crown of King Stephan, weighs 2.5 kg and was never worn by Stephan himself, who reigned the country in 1000 and is also called the Christian King of Hungary.  National pride is very important in Hungary.

We got to know the Hungarian alphabet together with the pronunciation of every single letter.  We learnt that Hungarian is said to be the fourth-hardest language to learn.  It contains 3½ times more vocabulary than German.  The phrase book everybody got would have enabled us to wander around on our own, but we preferred to stay together with the group, that got on really well amongst each other after quite a short while.  Included in our folders was a long list of typical regional meals and drinks.  And, of course, the translation for „Cheers!“  Mrs. Gamberoni spoke about everything from the folder during our bus-drive.  To enable us to read her lips, she turned to face the passengers and used two microphones: the one connected to the induction loop and the usual bus-microphone for listeners without hearing impairment.

On the trip to our first stop, Budapest, (1,7 million inhabitants) that was formed in 1873 from Buda, Pest and Óbuda, Mrs. Gamberoni told from her childhood in communist Hungary and led us to compare with the present.

We stayed in lovely Budapest, which is embedded in rocks and forests, for two whole days.  On the left and right side of the river Danube there lay the parts of Buda and Pest.  In Buda there is the historic castle with the Church of St. Matthew where Franz Joseph I. of Austria and „Sissi“ were crowned.  Also very well known is the historical building of the „Fischerbastei“.

The main attraction on the side of Pest is the 268m long Parliament Building with its beautiful rooms and the crown of King Stephan.  It is permanently guarded by three armed men.  Moreover, the St. Stephan-Basilica, the market hall and the synagogue are to be found here.  The districts of the city are connected by several bridges, such as the iron Chain Bridge.

On our first evening we played some guessing games to get to know each other.  This was a lot of fun.

On the following evening, the Head of the Hungarian Cochlea Implant Association together with  his secretary and a translator were our guests.  From them we learnt about the conditions and rights that apply to hearing impaired people in Hungary.

On the third night we had a Hungarian guest who spoke in detail about the life of the Roma, which are the biggest minority in Hungary.  Two Franciscan nuns reported on a project to help Roma children to go to day care and school and to support them until they made their choice of profession.  But it was emphasised that the state-controlled duties, such as compulsory school attendance, force Roma people to settle in a fixed place, which undermines and finally destroys their typical way of life.

A special highlight was our visit to the exhibition of a Jewish artist, who, via his paintings, demonstrated the relation between Jewry and Christianity.  He also spoke about his personal opinion on Expressionism in European plastic arts.  After that his partner reflected in detail about the life of the Jews in Hungary.

On day four we continued our journey towards the ‚Puszta‘ near Kecskemét.  On our way we had a special adventure.  While driving along an endless road through the forest, a rider on a white horse wearing traditional Hungarian clothes was waiting for us at a crossing.  He then rode directly ahead of our bus and led us over many bumps and potholes into Kerekegyháza.  We were awaited there as well:  We were received with spirits of the region and a warm baked traditional Hungarian snack.  Afterwards we went through the steppe-like landscape in 5 carriages.  After a horse performance we had a typical Hungarian lunch and were entertained by music.

We had yet another aim: the fifth-biggest palace of Hungary – Festetics Castle.  It houses 101 rooms and is a wonderful baroque palace inside a wide park area.  We drove along Lake Balaton and relaxed in the thermal bath at Héviz.

To conclude: It was a very interesting trip that taught us much about Hungary and the Hungarians.  The focus on accessibility for us hearing-impaired people was realised in many different ways.  Not only inside the bus, but also on land and while shipping on the river Danube, everybody was able to understand using the appropriate headphones.  Even inside the Parliament Building, Mrs. Gamberoni had arranged for a special permit (!!) which allowed us to bring our own communication system.  It was also very impressive that the guide in the Parliament walked mainly backwards to allow us to read her lips.  Inside the synagogue and the Parliament Building the magnetic part of the security entrance was switched off, so that even cochlea-implant users could pass without hesitation.

Our Hungarian guide was very contained regarding politics – except the topic of refugees.  Our folders included citations from Viktor Orbán who said in 2015 that nobody could expect Hungary to change.  The problem was not European but a German one.

We were very lucky with our helpful bus-driver, Harald.  He was able to steer the bus very accurately around obstacles and was very skilled in driving backwards.

Margit Gamberoni not only was very helpful for the needs of every one of us but also was a very emphatic and diplomatic leader for the group as a whole.  Her moving closing words were to read and explain the German translation of the Hungarian national anthem.  The warmth of her recitation was very touching to all of us.


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GERMANY – World Map of Cochlear Implant Users

The Vice-President of BayCIV, Dr  Olaf Dathe informed Reinhard Zille about people in Brazil designing a world map where Cochlear Implant users can voluntarily register themselves and get in touch with other CI-users in their region and worldwide.

Reinhard thought that it would be a good thing for CI-users and other people to see that hearing loss is a global theme.  On reading this article, perhaps many people in Europe will register to get a closer look at that topic.

Here is the link: http://www.cochlearimplantusers.com/en/ciusermap

HERE ARE THE GOALS:

Even though deafness is invisible, we are all over the world.  Soon there will be one million people with cochlear implants.  Amazing, isn’t it?

Technology has changed the way we experience deafness: can you imagine people with profound hearing loss speaking on the phone?  In 2016, this is more common than you might think.

Even though technology has done a lot for us, it has not yet brought us all together in the same place.  This is why the CI Users World Map was created: to connect every cochlear implant user on the planet, wherever they may be, in Antarctica or in Uruguay.

WHAT DO WE WANT

We hope to achieve the following goals with the CI Users World Map:

  1. Showing how common hearing loss is in the modern world.
  2. Promoting hearing health.
  3. Helping cochlear implant users everywhere in the world to break geographical barriers and share the challenges they face, their experiences and successes.
  4. Making hearing rehabilitation through cochlear implant technology known and promoted by the largest number of people.

The joy of hearing once again thanks to a cochlear implant makes us wish to make our aural and personal dreams come true.  CI Users World Map will help you to:

  • Contact other people with implants who may have the answers to your questions.
  • Know new people who have life experiences similar to yours.
  • Find cochlear implant users when you are abroad (for making friends, improving your proficiency, asking for cool things to do, going out, having coffee, asking to borrow a piece of CI equipment…).  Perhaps you may even wish to spend some time abroad and then have your friend spend some time in your country!
  • Find and getting to know other CI users in your city, state, or country!

WHERE ARE WE

We are everywhere!  Even though cochlear implants are still expensive technology, they will become more accessible and will reach places of the world we have never imagined.

Hearing rehabilitation has the power to change lives as well as to create a network of positivity that takes information and solidarity to each new case of deafness.

We believe in empowering people with knowledge so that they may take the best decisions for their lives and become agents who spread information about the new revolutionary technologies available today.

Each new PIN in the map makes us more visible and brings us closer together!  Though we are aware of the cliché, the truth is that together we’re stronger!

PIN yourself to the map and take part in this community.  Help us spread the news among the CI users that you know!


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HUNGARY – Neonatal hearing screening

Hungary finally got national neonatal hearing screening approved.  Congratulations to Magyar Cochleáris Implantáltak Egyesülete (MACIE) for all your work.

It was the end of a long amount of “work” for MACIE.  Over a 9-year timescale, they have met their primary goal of having neonatal hearing screening available, with the objective of accurate and reliable screening for any child born in Hungary.  As this test is now available, without screening, the baby does not leave the hospital.  Babies born at home can be brought into the hospital for the newborn hearing screening test.

At the beginning of this year our Roadshow within our county visited the newborn classes, assessing the effectiveness, helping the new parents, the investigating officer and nurses in their work.  Also by county every nurse in the neonatal hearing screening attended an informative lecture on this subject.  The work goes on, and at the end of the year we will get to the end of “country”

MACIE thanks everyone who helped achieve the dream.

We commit to continue tracking the infant classes so that all will work the professional-human way.


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SPAIN - XIX Edition of the AICE Awards alongside the AICE’s 20th anniversary

From left to right: Glòria Salvadó, Joan Zamora, Dra. Nuria Miró, Mª del Puerto Gallego, Cristina Espinosa and Carlos Alaiza. Lower row: Carles Campuzano y Lucía Aznar

(Photo - From left to right: Glòria Salvadó, Joan Zamora, Dra. Nuria Miró, Mª del Puerto Gallego, Cristina Espinosa and Carlos Alaiza. Lower row: Carles Campuzano y Lucía Aznar.)

On November the 5th was held at the Hotel Catalonia Barcelona Plaza in Barcelona the ceremony of the XIX AICE Awards.  The event was chaired by the Carles Campuzano, President of the Commission for Integrated Policies for Disability in the Spanish Congress of Deputies, and Joan Zamora, President of Federación AICE.  The awards are given to people and entities that during the year were highlighted by one of the objectives that the organisation considers priorities in the world of the cochlear implant, deafness and/or disability in general.

Over 130 people, including 48 cochlear implant users of all ages, families, deaf, entities and various authorities, attended the dinner sharing experiences and laughter.  As usual, the ceremony was accessible to communication thanks to live transcription.

The event also served as a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the creation of AICE.  All attendees received, as a gift, a pen reminder of this date.  A commemorative cake, prior to the award ceremony itself, served for everyone to celebrate together the anniversary, which, as Joan Zamora recalled, "it is not easy to exist for two decades and this is only possible with the effort and volunteer work of many people".

These were the winners:

Institutional Award.  It went to Mª del Puerto Gallego due to her effort and dedication since she compromised to make our voice heard in the Spanish Congress of Deputies and thanks to that, Federación AICE appeared in the Commission of Disability.  In her speech, Gallego told that when Joan Zamora called her “I couldn’t believe it because, in these days, there aren’t many awards given to politicians. I have only done my work that it’s to serve the people and help them”.  She finished her gratitude words saying that “we want to be the owners of our presents and the participants of our future”.

Accessibility Award. It went to the company Grupo Balay for being one of the first Spanish leading companies to hire people with disability and to subtitle their commercials.  The award was picked up by Cristina Espinosa, responsible of Communication in Balay, and Carlos Alaiza, a deaf employee of the company and leading role of one of their commercials.  Espinosa emphasised “the sensitivity we have for many years and it should be an example for other enterprises”.  In turn, Carlos, who used the Sign Language to talk and was interpreted by his partner of the dinner, explained that he was “very moved and I hope that this can help to integrate all the persons with any kind of disability. I’ll never forget this”.

Medical Award. This year we wanted to honor Dra. Nuria Miró from Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol in Badalona (Barcelona) and her team.  Her leadership has been essential to maintain open this Cochlear Implant Program in particular.  There has been a lot of administrative and politics obstacles, but with hard work and persistence this team has avoided the closing of this CI program.  Dra. Miró remembered when this Hospital started to implant, with only one CI per year, and little by little this number increased to the 20 CIs per year that they have nowadays.  “They are a lot but they aren’t enough since we have waiting list.  The Generalitat de Catalunya has never considered us as a CI center but Federación AICE has always done, to whom we really grateful for”, she told us.

Volunteer Award This prize is for those people who give their time to work with the Federación AICE, and so we want to show them our appreciation.  The award was presented to Lucía Aznar.  She was one of the first persons to do the live transcription for us in live public events, like the Forum of Cultures in 2004 in Barcelona.  Since then, she has travelled the Spanish geography making accessible many events.  She is always willing to collaborate in any thing we asked her to.  She didn’t have any clue she was awarded this year and it was so unexpected that Lucia, very moved, only managed to say “thank you very much; it is my pleasure to collaborate with you”.

By the end of the ceremony, Carles Campuzano, who was awarded with a ceramic souvenir created by Glòria Salvadó who is a Cochlear Implant user, wanted to address to the public saying that “these awards are a wise move since they sum up very well some ideas that are fundamental to progress in our society.  It has always fascinated me the force of the cause, so I want to congratulate you for the work and for these 20 years and for having a philosophy and attitude that makes this country better”.

A collective toast was going to be the end of the XIX Premios AICE event, but, completely enexpectedly, Pere Salesa, Vice-President of Fundación Pedro Salesa Cabo, presented a plaque in recognition of the work done by Federación AICE on its 20th anniversary in favour of the hearing impaired.


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SPAIN - The Federación AICE was invited to the taking office ceremony of the new Spanish Minister of Health and the Secretary of Social Services

Dolors Monserrat with Alberto Rodríguez. Mª Teresa Amat, Mario Garcés and Fernando Giménez.

(Photo - Dolors Monserrat with Alberto Rodríguez. Mª Teresa Amat, Mario Garcés and Fernando Giménez.)

The new Spanish Legislature has started for the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, which invited the Federación AICE to each act of taking office.

On November 4th Dolors Montserrat took office as Minister of Health, Social Services and Equality. Montserrat is an old friend of our association, since she has chaired in several occasions the ceremony of the AICE Awards. This is why Federación AICE was invited, and it was Alberto Rodríguez who went, as our representative, besides he is the president of our delegation in Madrid, called AICCAM. 

Later, on November 24th, Federación AICE was invited when the new Secretary of State for Social Services and Equality, Mario Garcés, took office.

The Minister of Health, Social Services and Equality, Dolors Montserrat, chaired the event and she explained that she has chosen Mario Garcés for this position because he is a great agent. Garcés vowed his position assuring that he is willing to “make a fairer society”.

This time, the representatives of Federación AICE were Mª Teresa Amat and Fernando Giménez, Coordinator and Secretary of our organization respectively.

Julieta de Miche took also office as Chief of Cabinet in the same event. She was chosen because “her capacity of work and commitment”.


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SWEDEN - NCFIE – Nordic Conference from Family Intervention to Education

Dr  Shani Dettman

(Photo - Dr  Shani Dettman)

Report from Barnplantorna in Sweden

Improving and developing education and family intervention for deaf and hearing impaired children is a great teamwork.  We all need to be involved in this, including the parents and parent organisations like Barnplantorna, to be active participants for the benefit of every child.

The gap between the hearing technology and intervention is still big.  That means that many children with cochlear implants or hearing aids do not take advantage of the whole potential of what the technology can offer in hearing, to develop language and be an active part in preschool and school.

The NCFIE conference is accomplished every second year through a teamwork between Barnplantorna organisation and Sahlgrenska university Hospital/ENT/CI department.  The program committee includes researchers, doctors and teachers from Sweden as well as Norway (University of Oslo) and iCARE (research group with EU).

This time 260 participants (professionals as well as parents) from Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland met in Conference Centre Wallenberg in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Every child is an individual

The purpose of the conference was to highlight that every deaf child is an individual and they all have different needs.

Professor Ona Bo Wie from the University of Oslo pointed out that the variation within the group of children with cochlear implants is so huge that we have to look at every child.  She reported in lots of data concerning hearing, language, cognition and life quality to have the evidence to state that the variations in the group is huge.

Professor Astrid van Wieringer from Belgium answered the important question among all; what can we expect?  As Ona Bo Wie she stated that the children are all individuals and to follow up on every child a team of professionals need to cooperate.  She also stated that the group of children with CI continues to change because of earlier CI surgery, bilateral CI and an on-going process of technical developing of implants and processors.

She highlighted that children with SSD (Single Sided Deafness) lag behind on complex language tasks (in addition to spatial hearing).  Van Wieringer said that:

“detailed analyses of the expressive language tasks show similar patterns of errors for early implanted children and children with SSD.  Understanding the strengths and weaknesses in different skills of children with different degrees of deafness allows us to develop or improve targeted interventions.  In all children with hearing impairment these issues should be addressed at a young age in order to obtain age-adequate performance.”

She pointed out a “red flag” that, because of early surgery, professionals might think that no intervention is needed and stated that we must never forget the link between auditive and cognitive processes.

Challenges for intervention teams

Dr Shani Dettman, speech pathologist from Australia, highlighted the importance of parents and pointed out the need for the parents to commit themselves to be good communicators together with their child.  She also spoke about the brain development and gave meaning to the participants to Carol Flexer’s famous comment ”It´s all about the brain”.  The brain needs stimulation; use it or lose it.

Professor Ulrika Löfkvist from Norway introduced the LENA method, (LENA-Language Environmental Analysis); www.lena.org.  Through LENA analysis parents are given the proof how much good language their child is exposed to during a day.  This gives professionals, together with the parents, important tools to guide parents how to increase the communication and the quality of the language input to the child.  Löfkvist stressed that to make a difference in cognitive and social development, research shows that you must focus on the three first years of the child's life.

Dr Elizabeth Fitzpatrick from Canada gave important insights from early detection and intervention.  Screening and early intervention have raised expectations for better auditory, language, and literacy outcomes for children with hearing loss.  Reality is that more families look for listening and spoken language options and most children are included in classrooms with their normal hearing peers.

Factors that impact learning for children with hearing loss, continuing questions, and our current level of knowledge was highlighted by Dr Fitzpatrick.  Ongoing challenges for auditory and language development, including hearing aid use was presented.  She also gave meaningful reflections on supporting families.

CI users story – who is in the driver´s seat of intervention?

Jacob Johanen, social worker and CI-user, gave the participants, through his own experience, meaningful information and reflections of how everyday life can be for a person with a cochlear implant.  He described how he developed his own intervention plan!  How can you challenge yourself and dare to step out of your own comfort zone.  He has had great use of listening to audio books.  Maybe a challenge to intervention teams; change is needed!

Christian Örn, headmaster in a school for hearing impaired children talked about challenges with a heterogenic group of children and to always see the individual needs of each child and sometimes you have to think outside the box.

This was only a selection of some speakers input.  Other presenters were professor Claes Möller (SE), Lone Percy Smith (Dk), Heiki von Lochow (SE), Jonas Brännström (SE), Karin Johnsson (SE), Christian Örn (SE), Ursula Willstedt Svensson (SE), Fredrik Hedström (SE),Pia Thomsen (Dk).

Barnplantorna nominated members of honour

One great moment for Barnplantorna is to nominate member of honour in our organisation.  Some distinguished professionals over the years have been nominated within medicine, research, education etc.

This time the four proud persons to enter the stage o be nominated was Jan Ander´sen, psychologist in the CI-clinic in Gothenburg; Rigmor Heneskog, special teacher,; Ulrika Löfkvist professor and speech pathologist.

Posthumously chief MD Jan Grenner in the CI clinic in Lund was acknowledged through his colleague Jonas Brännström.

NCFIE well-established

NCFIE- a conference established through cooperation between different professionals representing various disciplines.  Through the whole conference some meaningful reflections were given, such as:

  • children are different and have different needs
  • professionals have sometimes to think outside the box
  • professionals have  to keep up with research and technological advances and adapt their work continuously
  • parents have to update themselves
  • professionals and parents have to work together

It is indeed exciting times to work within this field.  Never have the possibilities been as huge for deaf children, but never have the possibilities demanded so much from professionals in creative thinking.  It´s all about the brain – use it or lose it!

The programme committee is already working on NCFIE 2018, 1-2 October 2018 being one step ahead!  More information about NCFIE; www.barnplantorna.se/ncfie

Ann-Charlotte Gyllenram
President

BARNPLANTORNA


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TURKEY – exciting new changes in bilateral implantation for children

In our country cochlear implantation has been implemented since 1986 and it is a way of overcoming hearing disability.

During all these years, our cochlear implantation clinics gained experience and their surgical performances reached international success.

In our country cochlear implant surgery expenses of individuals with severe to profound hearing loss and also rehabilitation fees of 8 hours per month are paid by two government agencies: Social Security Institution (SGK – Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu) and General Medical Insurance.

The population of Turkey has reached nearly 80 million and the number of cochlear implant users reached 16,500 in 2016, approximately, 80% of them are children.  The age of first cochlear implantation is 12 months old and individuals who meet the criteria are also implanted with CI when older.

One of the drawbacks in our system was bilateral implantation.  Because our government supported bilateral implantation in only a few exceptional conditions, such as blindness, meningitis, corpus callosum agenesis.

Recently, as a result of the efforts of all the parties concerned, SGK changed the system and has started to pay for bilateral implantation since December 2016.  However, in the beginning, there is a restriction for post lingual hearing loss and only children aged 12 - 48 months old can benefit from the system.  Also patients with special conditions such as blindness, meningitis and corpus callosum agenesis will continue to benefit from bilateral implantation.

Cochlear implant centers have started the surgeries for second implant for children who meet the criteria.

It is a pleasing start for 12 – 48 month old children with congenital hearing loss, but 48 month restriction is a new challenge for bilateral hearing.

Now, we have started to fight against age restriction and we will resolve the difficulties together.

Our main aim is going to provide our children the best life standards and support them to hold on to life.

We send you our love from our cochlear implant users and their families.

We wish you healthy and happy new year with full of sound in 2017


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UK - CEO Appointment at The Ear Foundation

(Photo - left to right, Sue Archbold and new CEO Melanie Gregory.)

At the end of October, Melanie Gregory took over as Chief Executive of The Ear Foundation from Dr Sue Archbold, who has now retired from The Ear Foundation.  Sue, who was the first employee at The Ear Foundation when it was founded in 1989, said: “We have been extremely fortunate to recruit Melanie, and having got to know her well over the last few years, I am happy that I couldn’t be handing over to a better person.  I know The Ear Foundation and its great team will be safe and grow in her hands.”

Melanie has expressed her delight at the exciting and challenging role that she has taken up.  She said: “I am privileged to have joined an organisation which makes a difference in the lives of children and adults with hearing loss”.

As a qualified speech language therapist and audiologist, Melanie brings 20 years’ experience working with adults and children with hearing loss and their families.  She formerly worked with the IDA Institute in Denmark and has worked extensively with cutting-edge hearing technologies.  She has seen the wealth of choice and opportunity that technology brings to those with hearing loss, providing access to language, education and reaching personal potential.

Her background and experience make her the perfect person to lead and take forward the work of The Ear Foundation, continuing to work closely with the charity's many partners and stakeholders.


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ADVANCED BIONICS - Introducing the New HiRes Ultra Cochlear Implant

Advanced Bionics recently introduced the new Hires™ Ultra Cochlear Implant. It features the thinnest implant profile from AB which makes it suitable for all recipients, even for the youngest. And because it also exceeds industry standards for impact resistance (3) and is compatible with routine MRI procedures (4), you will have the peace of mind you and your child deserve.

HiRes Ultra is built on the proven upgradable HiResolution™ electronic technology that delivers greater music appreciation and more natural sound than any other system.

A cochlear implant user is able to enjoy music and perceive a natural sound when the CI accurately represents the physical parameters of music – Intensity, Time and Frequency.(5)

  • Intensity is the energy or volume of a sound. In our environment we encounter sounds in a range of intensities, from very soft to very loud ones.
  • Frequency represents the perception of high or low sounds, otherwise known as pitch. Better frequency resolution will result in more dynamic speech or music perception.
  • Time is the duration of a sound. The faster the sound is transmitted (stimulation rate), the better you are able to pick up on the more subtle aspects of speech (voicing and intonation) and music (rhythm, harmony).

HiResolution™ is the technology that lets Advanced Bionics implants match these three parameters in the closest possible way to natural hearing. As a result, AB recipients are able to enjoy music and perceive all natural sounds like no other technology currently enables them to.

Capture more of the acoustic environment, so you can hear the softest and loudest sounds, as well as talkers near and far.

Capture the entire frequency spectrum in high resolution, so you can better appreciate music and hear in noisy environments.

Capture the subtle aspect of speech and music, so you can have a natural listening experience.

 

HiRes Ultra is available in most countries in Europe. Ask your center about HiRes technology and your personal Advanced Bionics hearing solutions.

References


(1) Spahr A, Dorman MF, Loiselle LH. 2007. Performance of Patients Using Different Cochlear Implant Systems: Effects of Input Dynamic Range. Ear and Hearing 28:260–275.
(2) Haumann S, Büchner A, Lenarz Th. Does the Input Dynamic Range of Cochlear Implant Processors Influence Speech Perception in Adverse Listening Situations? Oral Presentation at the 10th International Conference on Cochlear Implant and Other Implantable Auditory Technologies, San Diego, CA. April 10–12, 2008
(3) EN 45502-2-3:2010. Active Implantable Medical Devices. Particular Requirements for Cochlear and Auditory Brainstem Implant Systems.
(4) Magnetic Imaging Resonance (MRI) Market by Architecture (open MRI, closed MRI), field strength (low-to-mid field, high field, very high field, ultra-high field) & applications (brain, spine, cardiac, breast, abdominal) - Global Forecast to 2020, 2015.
(5) Levitin DJ. (2006) This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession. Dutton/Penguin.


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ADVANCED BIONICS - Naída CI Q90 Electric Acoustic Stimulation (EAS)

Now available by Advanced Bionics, an all-in-one cochlear implant and hearing aid solution designed for the CI users who continue to have residual hearing in their implanted ear.(1)

This integrated hearing solution places the Phonak hearing aid technology within the Naída CI sound processor. This allows you to enjoy the full, rich sound quality of a hearing aid in your implanted ear. Recipients experience with the Naída Q90 EAS solution report subjective feedback of improved speech understanding as well as music and overall sound quality. With the Naída CI Q90 sound processor and its built-in EAS* capability, you get the best of both worlds.

When the Naída CI Q90 sound processor with EAS is combined with the Phonak Naída™ Link hearing aid in your opposite ear, you can experience the benefits of two powerful Phonak hearing aids, even after implantation, bringing more sounds to life.

Visit AdvancedBionics.com to learn more about the Naída CI Q90 EAS solution.

References
(1) Hunter JB, Gifford RH, Wanna GB, Labadie RF, Bennett ML, Haynes DS, Rivas A; Otology and Neurotology 2016; 37(3):235-40.

* The Naida CI Q90 Electric Acoustic Stimulation (EAS) capability is not yet available in all regions. Please contact your AB Representative for approval status in your region.


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COCHLEAR - Can you find Kanso™? Kanso is the discreet, simple and smart new sound processor from Cochlear

Can you find the word KANSO in the grid?
It’s not as easy as it looks. (Standard word search rules apply.)

Kanso™ is the latest innovation from Cochlear – a sound processor that’s so small it’s barely noticeable and so comfortable you can forget you’re wearing it. Just like this game, Kanso is designed to stay hidden.

Kanso, the smallest and lightest off-the-ear sound processor available
We’ve called it Kanso – a Japanese word that means ‘simplicity’. Although this sound processor certainly lives up to its name, Kanso is about much more than simply being easy to use.

There is no compromise in hearing performance technology. Kanso incorporates all the industry-leading technology of the Nucleus® 6 Sound Processor, including dual microphones and SmartSound® iQ. It’s also compatible with the full True Wireless™ range and, like Nucleus 6, has an Aqua+ accessory so you can still swim with your sound processor on. Which is why we say, ‘Kanso hidden. The joy of hearing found.’

Some of the things people are saying about Kanso

  • "My self-esteem has gone through the roof with Kanso."
  • "I love the quality of sound."
  • "I actually forget I have it on."
  • "My friends couldn’t see it!"
  • "I love the feeling of having nothing hanging over the"back of my ear.’

Curious?

See how Kanso fits in with life, look for #‎kansohiddenjoys‬ on Facebook and Twitter and check our website Cochlear.com


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COCHLEAR - Cochlear™ True Wireless™ Devices

Even for people benefiting from the best hearing implant technology, some listening situations can still be challenging:

  • Hearing speech in noise and over a distance
  • Understanding conversation on a mobile phone
  • Enjoying TV viewing at own preferred volume

Cochlear™ True Wireless™ Devices have been specifically designed to further improve recipients’ hearing abilities in these challenging situations. They are also the only devices in the implantable hearing space that offer True Wireless technology – direct connectivity from the wireless device to the sound processor, without the need for an intermediate streamer or receiver device. They work on a 2.4 GHz proprietary protocol which offers clear, robust and reliable audio transmission for secure private communication.

Better hearing, even in the most difficult situations

The True Wireless range includes the Cochlear Wireless Phone Clip, the Cochlear Wireless TV Streamer and the freshly launched Mini Microphones 2 and 2+.
Compared to the original Mini Microphone, the Mini Microphones 2 and 2+ allow even better hearing in challenging and noisy situations as well as over distance. Numerous improved benefits include:

  • Being able to keep up with the conversation – even better than before – in noisy and crowded places thanks to the new directionality feature of the microphones.
  • Having the freedom to sit where you like in a meeting or at school thanks to the improved 25-metres range (clear line of sight).
  • Enjoying better sound quality in all situations.
  • Enhanced ease of use and convenience for friends and family members thanks to its smaller size and design improvements.
  • Having the peace of mind provided by an average battery life of 10 hours.

Options to meet different recipient needs

In addition, the Mini Microphone 2+ offers full connectivity (line-in, built-in Telecoil, FM-compatibility) as well as a Table Mic functionality, making it ideal for both one-to-one and group discussions.
Now with both Mini Microphones, find the solution that best answers your needs:

  • If you are looking for the smallest, most discreet Mini Microphone, go for the Mini Microphone 2, optimised for personal, one-to-one conversations.
  • If you are looking for the most complete Mini Microphone, go with the Mini Microphone 2+, optimised for both personal and group conversations and ideal for educational and professional environments.

For more information please visit: http://www.cochlear.com


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COCHLEAR - Superior Outcome with Cochlear™ Nucleus® Profile with Slim Modiolar Electrode

Our mission is to help people hear and be heard by empowering them to connect with others and live a full life. We transform the way people understand and treat hearing loss. Already 290,000 recipients worldwide benefit from Cochlear’s broad portfolio and implants that are up to 11 times more reliable than others. (1,2,3)

A new electrode meets new patient needs

To further accommodate different patient needs we have launched the Cochlear™ Nucleus® Profile with Slim Modiolar Electrode (CI532). This new ground breaking implant has been designed in close collaboration with surgeons, audiologists and leading scientists worldwide to underpin the latest scientific and technological advances. The CI532 comes with the world’s thinnest Cochlear Implant body incorporating sophisticated electronics, state of the art technology and the world’s thinnest full-length pre-curved electrode array. The electrode matches the natural shape of the inner ear and sits close to the hearing nerve (modiolar) to optimise the hearing performance outcome.(4,5)

Positive results from preliminary research

Preliminary research results shows superior surgical outcomes.(6) This has been proven by optimal insertion properties, consistent placement in the inner ear in all cases and closer proximity to the hearing nerve than any previous Cochlear Implant.(6) Furthermore, interim study data reveal preservation of the delicate inner ear structure as the basis for optimised hearing performance for Cochlear Implant recipients. To summarise, the preliminary research results already indicate a huge step forward for the progress of improved surgical and hearing performance outcomes with Cochlear Implant recipients to Hear now. And Always.

(1) Cochlear reliability report - D829375 1
(2) AB reliability report - D829375 1
(3) ME-DELreliability report - D829375 1
(4) Holden L.K., Finley C.C., et al. (2013). Factors affecting openset word recognition in adults with cochlear implants. Ear Hear. 2013 May-Jun;34(3):342-60.
(5) Dowell R.C. (2012). Evidence about the effectiveness of cochlear implants for
adults. In Wong LW & Hickson LH (eds), Evidence-Based Practice in
Audiology: Evaluating Interventions for Children and Adults with
Hearing Impairment. San Diego, CA, United States: Plural Publishing,
141–166.
(6) Aschendorff A. (2016, May). Clinical investigation of Nucleus® Profile with Slim Modiolar Electrode (CI532). Presentation at the 14th International Conference on Cochlear Implants and Other Implantable Technologie, Toronto, Canada.


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COCHLEAR - “I want to be involved and in the thick of it!”

Michelle Mohring

(Photo: Michelle Mohring)

Severely hearing impaired German university student, Michelle Mohring (23), reports on her studies abroad in the USA at Cochlear Germany’s recipient blog www.hoerreise.net. [Hörreise, eng.: hearing journey]

Studying in the USA with severe hearing loss? What sounds like a massive challenge is everyday life for Michelle Mohring (23). The student of special needs education is moderately to severely hard of hearing in the left ear and bordering on completely deaf in the right. She felt well prepared for her four-month programme at Bethany College in West Virginia thanks to, if nothing else, her bimodal cochlear implant (CI) and hearing aid. Michelle Mohring, who is also involved in the German Cochlear volunteers programme, uses a Cochlear™ Nucleus® 6 system combined with the ReSound LiNX² hearing aid. In the coming months she will tell her story of her semester abroad in America at www.hoerreise.net, Cochlear Germany’s recipient blog.

The country and people, meeting students from all over the world, college life and shared housing, day trips and sporting activities, American food and shopping or the general situation of hearing-impaired students in the USA... – Michelle Mohring tackles these subjects in her blog at www.hoerreise.net and fills it with a variety of experiences and impressions. But it took a lot to exchange her familiar surroundings of Heidelberg, her hometown in Germany, for those of the USA: “Many of my friends who studied abroad in Australia, Canada or New Zealand came back more self-confident, more open and it gave them a thirst to discover more of the world. I, on the other hand, had never been longer than two weeks abroad. I’m pretty shy in unfamiliar situations and I’ve never had the courage to run head-on into an unsure adventure – let alone on my own.”

Despite the reservations, Michelle Mohring dared to make the jump into her semester abroad and clearly has no regrets. “It’s exciting to find out what it’s like to have to come out of my comfort zone, especially with these ‘floppy ears’”, she writes in her blog. “I see my semester abroad as the perfect opportunity to experience and try out lots of new things and to find out more about myself.”

Semester abroad with smart, bimodal hearing-aid technology – Cochlear Nucleus 6 and ReSound LiNX²

In her daily life, Michelle uses the latest audiological technology which includes the wide range of possibilities offered by wireless networking. She is well-equipped with the Cochlear Nucleus 6 System and ReSound LiNX² (bimodal). Additionally, she uses the latest wireless devices for telephone and TV and an external, multifunctional microphone. Michelle can couple all of these devices with the sound processor of her CI as well as with the hearing aid. She can, for example, easily make a call on her iPhone and hear the caller in both ears. During seminars and classes the instructor’s voice is transmitted via the external microphone up to 25 metres to the sound processor of the CI and to the hearing aid. Michel Mohring benefits from the joint development endeavours of Cochlear, the global market leader for hearing implants, and the cutting edge technology of hearing aid manufacturer ReSound. Since 2016 both companies have formed a joint strategic alliance.

Author: Frederec Lau, Marketing Manager, Cochlear Germany
Global office location: Hannover/Germany
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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COCHLEAR - Helping You Hear, from Afar

(Photo: David Hackshall)

Helping You Hear, from Afar

Distant, disconnected, aloof.  Those have long been the primary meanings of the word “remote.”  However, technological advances are transforming what that term stands for, shifting it to convey a sense of being intimately connected, albeit over long distances.  And the field of profound hearing loss is a primary mover in this seismic transformation via telemedicine and digital connectivity.  Here, I examine just some of the ways digital technology is improving CI outcomes.

Digital Performance Monitoring to Maximize Device Value

Using technology to connect HCPs with a CI patient in real time will have a revolutionary impact.  The change agent will be real-time data and data analytics that transmit valuable information back to the clinician or audiologist, which can help bridge the gap between the infrequent checkups a patient typical has.   For example, an audiologist can understand whether a child is constantly taking their processor off at school when the parent’s not around.  An audiologist wants to know that information when it’s happening, not six months later.  Being able to be proactive in real time would be a game changer and could be a near reality.

Using Secure Cloud Computing to Efficiently Improve Patient Care

The patient experience is already being enhanced today through digital technology because replacement parts can now be ordered and shipped much more expeditiously.  A cloud-based technology platform pioneered by Cochlear called Cochlear™ Link streamlines customer service for patients, reducing the time someone may wait for a replacement part from a week to just 24 hours.  That’s a significant reduction of the stressful, “off the air” period a patient must spend living in total silence.

Gamification to Enhance Rehabilitation / Training

Another area where technology is helping to enhance hearing performance and keep CI patients engaged with their progress is by re-designing the training or rehabilitation experience.  Traditionally this process has been only available with a trained professional. Increasingly gamification is being considered as a means for making the rehabilitation / training experience more accessible, enjoyable and stimulating for CI recipients.  The gamification models are allow for more flexible learning and training by being accessible at the convenience of the user. Importantly these can still be monitored remotely by the audiologist and could make the rehabilitation process far more rewarding.

Remote Mapping to Maximize Device Benefit

It is well documented that the first year a patient receives their cochlear implant is the most important, and wireless connectivity applications that enhance this period are an area of great focus.  “Mapping” (the first year adjustment process), is an integral part of restoring hearing, but this needs to be done frequently and professionally by trained audiologists.  But not everyone can see an audiologist in person as frequently as they should during that early period.  That means that developing remote mapping functionalities to fine tune cochlear implants for first-year patients could mean many more recipients could completely maximize the benefits of their devices.

I’m excited about the ways telemedicine and digital connectivity are supporting audiologists in maximizing device benefit, as well as the future potential to further enhance hearing outcomes.

David Hackshall is Chief Information Officer at Cochlear


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MED-EL - Bluetooth wireless connectivity with your cochlear implant

MED-EL cochlear implant audio processors are designed to connect to Bluetooth devices via feather light, easy-to-use neckloops. There is no need to change devices when switching between media sources, such as a phone or television. The Artone 3 MAX Bluetooth neckloop can connect to any device that has Bluetooth capabilities, thus giving the user true freedom.

The battery life of a Bluetooth neckloop

A Bluetooth neckloop uses an energy-efficient means of streaming sound. This keeps the battery drain on the audio processor to an absolute minimum, allowing the user to enjoy hearing for longer periods of time.

Affordability of the Bluetooth neckloop

Because the Bluetooth neckloop can connect to any Bluetooth enabled device, it means the recipient can use one neckloop across many different devices, reducing the need to buy multiple devices.

“With assistive listening devices, the key question is ‘How can we help someone with hearing loss enjoy music, television programmes and talking to friends on the phone?’” said Helmut Bosetti, Senior Product Manager of MED-EL. “A Bluetooth neckloop can make their listening experience even better by connecting them to the media they love – wirelessly.”

Don’t just take our word for it – hear what Mary Beth thinks of the Artone 3 MAX Bluetooth Neckloop…

Mary Beth is a Teacher of the Deaf and a MED-EL cochlear implant recipient. Mary Beth shares why the Artone 3 MAX Bluetooth has become her preferred Bluetooth neckloop. She was asked to review the product across a range of criteria while using it at home with her bilateral MED-EL cochlear implants. See the table below for Mary Beth’s verdict.

Attribute followed by Mary Beth’s comment Stars (maximum 5)

Wearing comfort Very good. I have never worn a lighter neckloop. I don’t even know I am wearing it.  5

Battery life & charging
Easy to charge.
I used it throughout the day for several hours and then recharged it.  Ease of charging: 5
Battery life: 4

Ease of use Very easy to use control buttons.  5

Versatility & synching Pairing the Artone 3 MAX Bluetooth devices is simple. Unfortunately, you can only pair with one device at a time.  Ease of synching: 5
Versatility: 3*

Distance I can pair with my iPad which I leave on the first floor and go up and downstairs and still remain connected. 5

Sound quality  The sounds quality is great. There is no noticeable lag time for me when I am streaming direct from my Bluetooth enabled devices to the neckloop. For my iPhone I needed to be on maximum volume to hear it.  Sound clarity: 5
Streaming: 5
Volume: 3.5

Phone compatibility  After your phone is connected to the Artone 3 MAX, incoming calls will connect automatically. You just press the centre key on the Artone 3 MAX.  5

*A new upgraded version of the Artone 3 MAX was released a few months ago, with double the volume and longer battery life. It can be connected to two devices at the same time (with 8 devices in memory).

In summary

Best features

  • Small and light design
  • Easy to use and versatile
  • Crisp sound quality

“Overall, the Artone 3 MAX is a very good product and I strongly recommend it to other cochlear implant users who are looking for a comfortable, light, easy-to-use Bluetooth neckloop. It has become my preferred neckloop,” said Mary Beth.

For more information on Bluetooth Wireless Connectivity and MED-EL implants, visit www.medel.com/bluetooth-wireless-connectivity-and-your-cochlear-implant/


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MED-EL - MED-EL study highlights French parents ignore the symptoms of hearing loss

Recent research from MED-EL yielded surprising results when it comes to parents’ perceptions of hearing loss in children. More than 600 parents of children from across France, both of whom could hear and who had been fitted with a cochlear implant/s, were surveyed in the IPSOS study, ‘Parents’ perception of hearing loss in children in France’.

It’s not unexpected that less than half of parents surveyed (43%) said they are worried about hearing problems in their child, but what is surprising is that over half (57%) think that parents of children who are experiencing the symptoms of hearing loss do not realise their child’s hearing is deteriorating and wait several weeks or even more before consulting a professional. The well-being of children is a central concern for French families, so what is preventing parents from treating hearing loss?

The research found that many parents are concerned that if a child is diagnosed with hearing loss they will face stigma associated with hearing aids. In fact, 80% of parents think that it is psychologically difficult for a child to wear one.

However, hearing loss is not a rare condition. In March 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 5% of the world’s population suffered an incapacitating hearing loss – 328 million adults, 32 million children. In France, five million people are living with hearing loss (of whom two million are under 55).

Parents of children with implants described a more optimistic experience when they learned their child was eligible for implant surgery following initial treatment with hearing aids, a feeling that was maintained thereafter. Considering the negative impact of hearing loss and the positive impact treatments like hearing implants can have on a child’s well-being, overcoming parent’s hearing loss misconceptions is important to ensure the condition does not impact the development of children in the future.


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MED-EL - MED-EL Supports Russia’s First International Music Festival for Children with Hearing Loss

‘Magic Symphony’ highlights that hearing loss is not an obstacle to appreciating music or developing a musical talent

On September 14 2016, 72 children took to the stage alongside internationally renowned artists, including famous Russian singer and actor Mikhail Boyarsky, in Russia’s first international festival for children with hearing impairments, ‘Magic Symphony’. With support from MED-EL, the festival celebrated that hearing loss and deafness do not have to be barriers to singing, dancing or playing a musical instrument.

Organised by St. Petersburg Research Institute of Ear, Nose and Throat, and the parent association “I hear the World”, the concert aims to inspire young budding musicians with hearing loss to believe that music is accessible to them and not to give up dreams of performing.

Johanna Pätzold, MED-EL’s in-house musicologist, said “Music in an integral part of these children’s lives and thanks to their cochlear implants they are able to participate and enjoy music after complete loss of hearing. We’re pleased to support the festival and hope it becomes an annual celebration of their many talents.”

‘Magic Symphony’ festival by numbers

Children from Russia and other countries including the Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Georgia applied to participate and took part in the qualifying stage. Eighteen finalists were chosen to perform on stage in the gala concert in front of an audience of more than 800 children, their parents and specialists on 14 September at the State Academic Capella in St. Petersburg. Several thousands more watched the concert on the TV channel “City+”, and for hearing impaired viewers the festival was accompanied by a professional sign language host.

‘Magic Symphony’ – the winners

All 17 finalists were MED-EL users, including Aigerim Tutova from Kazakhstan who performed a song. Having lost her hearing in childhood, doctors encouraged Aigerim to take up singing, which has grown into her passion. Aigerim won the prize of a professional recording of her songs in a studio as well as a video. Tatiana Lobach, who also participated in the festival, lost her hearing at three years old through a viral disease but now performs in dance groups, studies Japanese and has ambitions of starring in a movie.

To learn more about MED-EL and the programmes and initatives the company supports, visit www.medel.com


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