(l-r) Jim Kothe, Oticon VP of sales, Dan Buettner, Oticon President Peer Lauritsen, and Don Schum, PhD, VP of audiology and professional relations.

More than 900 hearing care professionals from across the country attended two recent conferences held by Oticon Inc, Somerset, NJ, which spotlighted the impact of hearing loss on cognitive function and the ability to stay fully engaged in everyday activities.

The conferences, held in Phoenix and Orlando, Fla, previewed the new Oticon Agil hearing solution, a second-generation wireless hearing instrument family designed to improve understanding in noise using a reduced cognitive effort.

The keynote speaker for the conferences was Dan Buettner, author of the best-selling The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. Buettner shared insights gains from his worldwide travels to uncover the best strategies for longevity found in places in the world where higher percentages of people enjoy long, full lives. Key among the strategies he discovered is the importance of maintaining social connectedness.

Buettner pointed out that hearing loss presents a major impediment to staying connected, citing studies showing that as people lose their hearing, they are more prone to depression. “It becomes harder to stay connected with family, with friends, and you volunteer less,” said Buettner. “If you’re starting to lose your hearing, something you can do proactively right now is to get the technology you need so you can hear well. It stacks the deck in your favor for more connectivity.”

The conference featured a series of presentations on the latest research and trends data on


(l-r) Dan Buettner and Oticon President Peer Lauritsen.

The new generation of end users and their focus on maintaining their edge in social and business situations as they age. Discussions explored the new audiological concepts in Agil that are designed to preserve the natural characteristics of speech while enriching the sound quality—to enable the brain to use fewer of its resources for listening purposes, according to the company. When speech understanding becomes more immediate, more cognitive energy is available to engage in day-to-day interactions, helping users to have more residual for other important tasks such as full social interaction.

Workshops allowed practitioners to experience the ways in which the device’s technology enables users to stay connected to modern life through high-tech communication and entertainment devices. Agil connects wirelessly and seamlessly to mobile phones, MP3 music players, and a variety of other communication and entertainment devices.

[Source: Oticon]