The 2015 Oticon Pediatrics Conference, held November 6-8 in Denver, Colo, provided a 360° view of the newest research, advances, technology and clinical skills that will enable hearing care professionals to improve the future for infants and children with severe to profound hearing loss. More than 175 hearing care professionals from hospital, educational and private practice settings participated in the two-day conference.
“There have been tremendous advances in our understanding of the nature and impact of severe to profound hearing loss in infants and children,” said Laura Shiplett, AuD, manager, Oticon Pediatrics. “Our goal is to provide practitioners with a wealth of current and clinically relevant information and training that will enhance their clinical skills when working with this special pediatric population so that together we can continue to build a better future for every child with hearing loss.”
Oticon reports that the knowledge-sharing event featured presentations by experts representing centers of excellence in pediatric audiology, interactive workshops, and hands-on instruction—all aimed at giving participants a deeper understanding of the issues facing this special population and new tools to improve access to sounds.
Anu Sharma, PhD, professor in the Department of Speech Language and Hearing, Center for Neuroscience and the Institute for Cognitive Science at the University of Colorado Boulder, shared new research on the role of cortical reallocation in hearing loss. Sharma discussed changes in auditory cortical structure and the implication for early intervention and improved patient outcomes.
Don Schum, PhD, vice president for Audiology & Professional Relations for Oticon Inc, discussed the complex nature of severe-profound hearing loss in infants and children. The presentation gave participants an overview of the range in perceptual performance demonstrated by children with severe to profound hearing loss to help them better identify the range of structures and functions in the peripheral auditory system that may be altered due to severe hearing loss.
Janet DesGeorges, executive director of Hand & Voices Inc, offered a parent’s perspective on the impact of emerging technologies on the decision making of families of children with hearing loss. DesGeorges pointed out the variety of factors that influence decision making including cost, parent support, the benefits that can be expected across various listening settings and the impact on children with multiple challenges. She provided guidance on opening a dialogue with parents that enables practitioners to partner with families in decision making without judgement.
Several presentations looked at new audiological approaches and technologies and their benefits for children with severe to profound hearing loss. Ryan McCreery, PhD, director of the Center for Audiology at Boys Town National Research Hospital, provided a review of research on frequency lowering technology and presented preliminary findings from Boys Town using Speech Rescue frequency composition with adults and children with severe to profound hearing loss.
Boys Town cochlear implant audiologist Carisa Reyes, AuD, provided best practice guidelines to optimize patient benefit when conducting bimodal fittings. Reyes outlined the decision making protocol for appropriate fitting of a power hearing device with a cochlear implant to ensure maximum receptive communication.
The conference also introduced participants to Oticon Sensei SP, a power solution built on the Inium Sense platform that supports Oticon’s BrainHearing technology. The hearing solution is said to offer features developed to help children with severe to profound hearing loss get the most out of their residual hearing abilities while also supporting the child’s brain in making sense of speech sounds. Conference participants were given the opportunity to learn about Sensei SP through case studies from four clinicians who participated in a pre-release field trial of Sensei SP.
For more information on Oticon Pediatrics and the new Oticon Sensei SP, visit the Oticon website.