Tenth International Adult Aural Rehabilitation Conference
Aural Rehabilitation in the Office and Beyond
The HRF hosted the Tenth International Adult Aural Rehabilitation Conference at the Hilton Boston/Woburn from November 3 – 5, 2019. The conference attracted around 50 registrants from seven countries: Austria, Australia, Canada, Denmark, The Netherlands, the UK, and the US. There were 22 oral papers and 6 posters presented at the conference.
The conference started with a Welcoming Reception at the HRF office on the evening of November 2. This provided the opportunity for the participants to meet each other and share a drink and a snack. Thanks to Kerryn Plant and Sarah Love for their work in preparing and setting out cheese, crackers, and other snacks. Kerryn even baked sausage rolls, and these were greatly appreciated by all who tried them.
Gaby Saunders, from the Eriksholm Research Centre in Denmark, gave the Keynote Address on the first day of the conference. This presentation focused on the need to take auditory rehabilitation beyond the provision of amplification, and provide the support needed to improve the social and psychological well-being of people with hearing loss.
Our other Invited Speaker, Jeppe Høy Christensen, was also from Eriksholm. Jeppe’s presentation looked at the vast amount of real-world data that is being gathered by wearables such as smart watches, smartphones, and hearing aids. This information has great potential to assist in guiding people with hearing loss towards better hearing health behavior. It can also be used to guide research and development in the health care world. Jeppe spoke about the work being currently undertaken, and of plans to use this information to better plan intervention strategies for individual people with hearing loss.
Panel Discussion: “Does Aural Rehabilitation Matter? Consumers’ Perspectives”
It would not be fair to single out specific presentations for comments; the overall standard of the presentations was uniformly high. However, there were a couple of sessions that merit special comment.
The first was a panel discussion, “Does Aural Rehabilitation Matter? Consumers’ Perspectives,” chaired by HRF Board Member Peggy Ellertsen. The panel members – Holly Cohen, Betty Hauck, Toni Iacollucci, and Carol Menton – all have significant hearing losses, and they spoke about their experiences, and the changes they would like to see in the services provided by audiologists and other professionals. In this discussion Betty Hauck spoke about the problems she faced as a professional musician following the onset of hearing loss.
Many participants asked if they could hear Betty play. On the second day of the conference, Betty played a short piece to signal the end of each of the breaks, turning what is always a difficult task into a musical pleasure!
On the afternoon of the second day of the conference, HRF Board Member Joe Montano put together a panel of speakers representing the Academy of Rehabilitative Audiology. The speakers were Kathy Ciencowski, John Greer Clark, Sue Erdman, and Gaby Saunders. They covered a wide range of topics that included stigma, the need to closely monitor a patient’s safety and well-being, Patient Centered Care, and the use of a patient’s photographs to gain insights into her/his life style and priorities.
We thank everyone who took part in the conference. The standard of the presentations was uniformly high, and resulted in a conference that was very highly rated by the participants. We would also like to acknowledge the generous contributions of our corporate sponsors – Oticon US (GOLD), MED-EL Worldwide Headquarters (SILVER), and Widex (BRONZE). Without their support it would be impossible to hold the conference.
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