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Oticon International Conference Explores Opportunities, Challenges of Designing Hearing Care Solutions for Individual Needs

SOMERSET, NJ - Over 500 hearing care professionals from over 25 countries recently gathered in Sorrento, Italy to discuss the latest research on designing hearing care solutions to meet the individual requirements of people with hearing loss. In a three-day conference that featured formal presentations, workshops and discussion groups, participating professionals shared the new learnings and expert viewpoints of a panel of leading researchers, educators and hearing care professionals from around the world.

"It takes more than audiology and technology to create the optimal hearing care solution. We know that attention to lifestyle, sound preference and cognitive ability all contribute to a successful design that puts the needs of hearing impaired people first," said Mikael Worning, president of Oticon, Inc. "I am confident that the knowledge sharing that occurred at this international forum will enable us to design the unique hearing care solutions that best serve the individual needs of each patient."

The international conference included a number of distinguished speakers including Graham Naylor, Ph.D., Co-Director of Research for Oticon's world renowned Eriksholm Research Centre. Dr. Naylor provided an overview of research showing that clients' amplification preferences relate systematically to many personal variables, some audiometric and other psychological or lifestyle-related.

Kathy Pichora-Fuller, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the School of Audiology and Speech Sciences and Director of the Interdisciplinary Institute for Hearing Accessibility Research at the University of British Columbia, presented study results designed to assist hearing care professionals in tailoring technology choices and applications to the rehabilitative context of individual hearing instrument users. Her look at the importance of understanding individuals in changing psychological and social contexts demonstrated that success with new technologies is achieved to the extent that it is integrated into a person's identify and life.

Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D., Director of Market Development & Market Research at Knowles Electronics, offered an overview of relevant demography and barriers and solutions to growth of the hearing aid market. Robin Raff, MBA, an expert on the mature market segment and formerly Senior Vice President of Age Wave IMPACT, provided additional insights into the expectations, health enhancement priorities and influencers for adults, aged 50-64, the fastest growing segment of the population.

In his presentation, Claus Eberling, M.Sc.E.Eng., M.Sc.D., General Manager of Research at Eriksholm Research Center, shared early results of research exploring options for accessing individual variables that are difficult to measure in a normal clinical setting. He discussed several approaches to fitting hearing instruments, emphasizing that practical application of the study findings would likely necessitate the development of specialized fitting tools and flexible hearing aid platforms.

Conference workshops featured a number of distinguished lecturers including Jurgen Kiessling, Prof. Dr. rer. nat., Professor for Audiology at the Justus-Liebig University in Glessen, Germany and Edoardo Arslan, Ph.D, Director of Audiology and Phoniatric Service at the University of Padua, Italy.

"The success of our conference will be measured by the degree to which we have enhanced our collective ability to put the needs and preferences of people first, " noted Worning. "Our future success will be measured on how well we use that knowledge to help people with hearing loss live the life they want, with the hearing they have."

Established in 1904, Oticon is one of the world's most experienced hearing aid manufacturers. A pioneer in digital technology, the company introduced the first ear-level digital hearing instrument in 1996. This year, the company launched Adapto, the world's first voice-activated hearing instrument. Oticon is committed to improving the quality of life for those with hearing loss, through research, technological advancement and a focus on the needs of people first.

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