XXXII World Congress of Audiology in Brisbane

XXXII World Congress of Audiology organized every two years by the International Society of Audiology (ISA) is one of the biggest in the world meetings focusing on scientific debates, exchange of knowledge and experience in the area of audiology. The Congress brings together specialists in audiology and related disciplines such as ENT doctors, speech therapists, hearing rehabilitation specialists, special education specialists, hearing prostheticians and clinical engineers.

This year’s Congress gathered over 1400 professionals in the field from the whole world. A delegation from the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing consisting of 5 attendees (Prof. Henryk Skarzynski, Dr. Artur Lorens, Dr. Piotr Skarżyński, Dr. Magdalena Sosna, Dr. Katarzyna Pietrasik) actively participated in the conference presenting 17 papers in lecture and plenary sessions.

Long-standing dedication and contribution of the Institute’s team to International Society of Audiology has been recognized by the ISA board and it was decided that the future 35th  Congress will be organized by the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing in Warsaw in 2020.

This year’s main topic of the congress concerned plasticity of the central nervous system. Newest research results on information processing in prelingually deafened children, postlingually deafened children and adults were presented. There is a significant number of research on brain changes caused by deafness conducted in the world. The brain being severed from acoustic stimuli changes its organization to obtain possibly highest performance using the provided deprived signals. During rehabilitation we try to recover more physiological organization. This means that the more we know about neural changes in cases of hearing impaired people the more efficiently we can help them.

During the congress Prof. Henryk Skarzynski presented his concept of partial deafness treatment and discussed hearing preservation classification in partially deaf patients. The classification was elaborated by members of a Hearring Group (a network of leading centers in the field of cochlear implants) under supervision of Prof. Skarzynski. The classification has been published in December in „Acta Oto-Laryngologica”.

Ass. Prof. Artur Lorens presented the issues of a new electrode – Straight Research Array (SRA), designed by the Cochlear company according to indications of Prof. Henryk Skarzynski. It is a soft electrode which can be safely inserted to a cochlea without destruction of other important structures in the cochlea. This specific type of electrode is used in cases of partial deafness when it is necessary to preserve existing hearing. Previously used electrodes were not designed for this kind of operation. The electric-acoustic hearing is still a subject of intensive research and the SRA surgeries open new possibilities in exploration of this issue.

Researchers from the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing elaborated a method of recording acoustically and electrically evoked potentials applying the electrode already inserted in the cochlea.

Part of the research presented in Brisbane was supported by Polish National Science Centre, decision no. DEC-2013/09/B/ST7/04213.