A special hearing care industry conference, HEAL 2016: Hearing Across the Lifespan, will be held June 2-4, 2016, in Cernobbio, Italy on Lake Como. The theme of HEAL 2016 is “Early intervention: the key to better hearing care.”

HEAL 2016 will provide all delegates the opportunity to meet and share their latest research and clinical information on a range of topics, enhancing cooperation and exchange among all who are part of the multifaceted hearing care community, in an international and multidisciplinary forum exploring all domains of infant, child, and adult hearing.

Online registration for HEAL 2016 is available, with an early registration deadline of April 18, 2016. A call for papers has been issued, with an abstract submission deadline of February 10, 2016. Additional dates and deadlines are available on the meeting website.

To develop the spirit of the meeting, the program schedule for HEAL 2016 will be arranged to maximize opportunities for interaction among participants. The program will consist of several concurrent sessions, with time for interactive discussions to let delegates follow their own preferences for topics and discussions. Poster presentations will be an integral part of the scientific program and shall be organized in topics and sub-topics in a display area designed to facilitate exchange among attendees. The HEAL 2016 program will be complemented by a comprehensive exhibit.

The Scientific Advisory Board for HEAL 2016 includes Deborah Hayes, PhD, University of Colorado, School of Medicine, Denver, Colo; and Sophia E. Kramer, PhD, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The HEAL 2016 conference program will include special sessions as follows:

Listening Effort and Cognition

The concept of listening effort has gained attention in hearing research and evidence shows that listening effort may vary beyond the point at which speech intelligibility is optimized, which makes ‘listening effort’ or ‘ease of listening’ an interesting outcome variable. It has the potential to open up new avenues of research that focus on the benefit of audiological interventions (eg, hearing aids) and offer opportunities to advance our understanding of the factors affecting effortful listening. Topics for this session include, but are not limited to, methods applied to assess listening effort; task demand and listening effort; listening effort and hearing loss; the role of cognition in listening effort; listening effort and hearing aid benefit; acute effort versus long term stress or fatigue, and clinically applicable methods.

Epidemiology of Hearing Loss

Observational (longitudinal) studies focusing on the causes and effects of hearing loss and determinants of hearing health related outcomes are scarce, but highly valuable for the field of Audiology. Topics for this session include, but are not limited to, predicting change of hearing ability over the life span; hearing loss as a risk factor for cognitive decline or dementia;         hearing loss and the co-occurrence of chronic diseases; hearing loss and psychosocial health; hearing loss and participation in society; hearing screening; predictors of hearing help seeking and hearing aid uptake, and the use of internet in epidemiologic studies.

E-Health in Audiology

As in other disciplines, the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for the diagnosis of disease and the delivery of services is gaining ground in audiology. Advances in mobile technology and applications provide new opportunities for the integration of mobile health (m-health) into existing e-health services. Topics for this session include, but are not limited to, use of internet for the interaction between health care providers and patients; automated audiometry; apps for screening/ diagnosis of hearing loss; apps used for preventive purposes (eg, NIHL); self-fitting hearing aids; e-treatment/e- rehab/e-training and effects; computerized adaptive testing, and Ecological Momentary Assessment.

According to the Organizing Secretariat, on behalf of Professor Ferdinando Grandori, former director of the Italian CNR Institute of Biomedical Engineering, the NHS and AHS Conferences (termed HEAL Conferences, since 2012) have become the place where a broad community investigating all components of hearing care across the lifespan can work together to merge contemporary research findings with clinical practice. Since the first NHS Conferences in 2000, the number of delegates and submissions has increased significantly, paralleling the increasing demands of this ever growing field. Exceptional participation and vibrant discussions have made the meetings a great event.

Delegates representing about 60 different countries attended the HEAL 2014 Conference. The Organizing Secretariat reports that the 2014 program included more than 300 presentations in oral and poster sessions, keynotes, and special sessions and satellite events. These presentations covered a mix of topics that included basic research on mechanisms of hearing and hearing dysfunction, medical issues related to program implementation and patient management, psychosocial effects of hearing loss, as well as clinical decision making, quality assurance, and health policies. The Steering Committee for HEAL 2014 included Theresa Ching, Adrian Davis, Louise Hickson, Kathleen Pichora-Fuller, and De Wet Swanepoel.

For additional details and highlights from previous HEAL conferences at Lake Como, refer to the series of Research Forums published in the American Journal of Audiology in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Online registration for the HEAL 2016 Conference is available on the Meet and Work website.

Source: Organizing Secretariat, Ferdinando Grandori, HEAL 2016 Conference

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