The Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing is 18 years old

On January 9th, 2014 it was exactly 18 years since the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing was established after 3 years of activity of the Diagnostic-Treatment-Rehabilitation Center for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired „Cochlear Center”.

The Institute has been created from scratch following the idea, program and principles developed by Prof. Henryk Skarzynski in cooperation with a close group of scientists, physicians, psychologists, teachers, engineers and other specialists. Its establishment was a sign of recognition of success in treatment of hearing disorders and scientific and academic achievements of its creator. Founding decree of the Minister of Health and Welfare from January 9th 1996 has been signed by Minister Jacek Zochowski, Chairman of the State Committee for Scientific Research Aleksander Luczak and Minister of Finance Grzegorz Kolodko. The first seat of the Institute was the abandoned hospital of the huge steel mill ‘Huta Warszawa’.

Pioneering in Poland surgery of cochlear implantation of a deaf patient performed in 1992 by Prof. Henryk Skarżyński was not only a beginning of an opportunity for thousands of deaf patients in Poland, but also a symbolic beginning of the program of treatment of the total and partial deafness in the modern world. The interest of multitude of patients was the incentive for further activities resulting in establishing new, unique on Poland’s scale, institutions: in 1993 the second in Europe Diagnostic-Treatment-Rehabilitation Center for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired „Cochlear Center”, three years later – the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing, in 2003 – the International Center of Hearing and Speech and in 2012 – the World Hearing Center.

Today the Institute, under the direction of Prof. Henryk Skarzynski, is well functioning and organized enterprise employing more than 400 persons, enjoying good standing in Poland and abroad, winner of many awards and distinctions. It is a leading research institute and highly specialized hospital. The Committee for Evaluation of Scientific Units (KEJN) evaluating the quality and effects of Institute’s research and development activities in years 2009-2012 classified it in the highest reference level A+. It is an imposing achievement for the youngest health department research institute in Poland.

– The Institute in Kajetany is the best example of an outstanding unit in all areas of evaluation, moreover, it is doing o lot of good for the whole society. – says Prof. Barbara Rymsza from the KEJN Commission for Sciences and Engineering. – There are many material effects of its activities that we are presently unable to assess. For example, the Institute conducts hearing screening tests among school children. It is difficult to evaluate  today the economic benefits these programs will bring 20-50 years from now, (…) but the society will feel the positive effects of activities of institutions such as the Institute for a long time. –adds prof. Rymsza.

Institute’s scientific achievements speak for themselves: 28 habilitations and PhDs in medicine, health sciences and arts, 60-70 hearing improving surgeries daily, organization of 169 scientific conferences and workshops, 1 295 Polish and international publications, 4 858 presentations and lectures at conferences in Poland and abroad, more than 300 awards and distinctions.

Experience of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing in the field of medical services is staggering. During its 18 years of clinical activity the number of hospitalized patients has grown from several hundred to more than 12 thousand, number of surgical procedures from about 1000 to more than 18.500, number of consultations from several thousand to more than 200 thousand per year. During this time the program of treatment of total and partial deafness had been implemented and nearly 4.000 auditory implantations performed, as well and numerous trailblazing  clinical and research programs influencing state’s health policy and setting the new standards of management of patients with hearing disorders in Poland and all over the world.

Presently, the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing has under its care the largest groups of treated and diagnosed patients and development of several research programs in diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation of different hearing disorders on the unprecedented scale opens new opportunities for research and development. Polish patients – as one of the first in the world – have access to newest, most advanced medical technologies. Only within 20 months of activity of the World Hearing Center of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing in Kajetany there took place three pioneering in Poland surgeries of auditory implants CODACSBONEBRIDGE and Baha 4 Attract.

– One of the foundations of the modern society is the extraordinary progress in interpersonal relations, access and exchange of information, development of information technologies and tools. Unfortunately, present estimates presented on the major global congresses indicate that as much as a milliard people in the world has some problem with hearing. – says Prof. Henryk Skarzynski, director of the Institute. – In the ageing societies, particularly in developed countries, where the average life expectancy grows, we observe increase in the incidence of different partial hearing losses. It is a great challenge and incentive to search for and implement new surgical solutions, gene therapy and new implantable device technologies. The Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing aims to meet all these scientific and social expectations. Our clinical and research teams can boast quite a few international successes. Our medical specialties will develop largely in the direction of regenerative medicine and temporary or regular use of the advanced technologies of nanomaterials and telemedicine. These are also mine and my team’s future goals. – says Prof. H. Skarzynski.