An excellent two-day conference
I have just come back from an excellent two-day Irish Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists conference that was focused on learning and discussion around the changing face of hearing aid provision in Ireland. The presentations and lectures were excellent as the often are, the tone of many was about customer focused care and the changing solutions based practice that can offer real benefits to Patients.
The exhibition floor had stands from all the big hearing aid manufacturers including GN Resound, Phonak, Oticon, Starkey and Widex. There were also several equipment manufacturers in attendance including GN Otometrics, PC Werth and Interaccoustics. Each of the manufacturers were also included in the learning line up, with each one offering a thirty minute workshop based around individual solutions.
The workshop breakouts that ISHAA offer are really pretty good, in essence the attendees are split into three groups and each group is given the opportunity to attend each workshop. It is a format that ISHAA introduced several years ago and it works exceptionally well. It means that everyone has an opportunity to be exposed to all the manufacturers present. Something that may not necessarily happen in the normal course of things.
As I said, there was a diverse offering of education during the two days, initially on Friday the first two lectures were really focused on the changing nature of audiology. Graham Hilton of Phonak stewarded a recorded presentation from Professor Louise Hickson of the University of Queensland, Australia. The presentation called “Audiological Care for Older Adults: How can we do it better?” was a thought-provoking piece on who exactly are the stakeholders in the treatment of hearing loss. It focused on the need to actually listen to our Patients and the importance of family involvement in the treatment decision and ongoing care.
Second up was Gordon Harrison from Widex who delved into the subject of speech testing including speech in noise testing in a presentation called “Beyond The Audiogram”. Again it was another thought-provoking piece on pure tone audiometry and it’s limitations. It also challenged our own conceptions about test processes as seen by Patients. Speech audiometry and Quick SIN was a focus of the talk and it is clear that as both our profession and innovation within hearing aids move forward that this type of testing will also be a focus of our Practice.
The first day also included six of the thirty minute workshops I spoke about earlier, these really are an excellent opportunity for people to learn of new strategies and features from manufacturers that they might not be familiar with. For instance, I have little or no interaction with Starkey as a manufacturer, however I had an opportunity to learn about their latest Muse technology including their new wireless protocol the 900 Sync Tech and their new remote mic hearing aid. From Resound I learned about the new Enzo 2 and their latest line up of remote microphones, really sexy kit if I do say so. The workshops in this way really are a great idea.
The day was finished with lectures by Starkey on their new strategy for processing music within their latest product range and a lecture from Unitron on their new Stride M hearing aid type. Day two was a mixture of practical learning and updates on changing education offerings within Ireland. Resound offered an in-depth presentation on their new remote mic system and the benefits to users with profound hearing loss that the Enzo 2 and the remote mic combination offers.
There was an excellent lecture on neuromodulation and it’s effect which was followed by a presentation on Facebook and its place in audiology practice marketing. The last presentation was by Mr. Nash Patil, Consultant ENT Surgeon, Sligo General Hospital, offered a close look at chronic otitis media with and without cholesteatoma and a deeper look at sensorineural hearing loss.
I think the ISHAA council should be commended on ensuring that the learning on offer was diverse . I would think that there was not one presentation that everyone took some new learning from. This mixture of technical, clinical and business learning had just the right mix to deliver benefits for everyone, looking forward to the next event.