Douglas Beck, AuD, director of professional relations for Oticon Inc, recently presented “The Tide Is Turning—Issues in Cognition and Audiology” to hearing care professionals attending two international conferences. On November 9, Beck presented an in-depth 3-hour seminar at the 2013 Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) Conference in Bonita Springs, Fla. Earlier in the week, he had delivered a keynote address on the same topic via satellite to audiologists attending the British Society of Audiology (BSA) Twilight Series Meeting, held in Birmingham, UK. 

News Beck.Lauritsen.ADA.2013Slideshow
Oticon Director of Professional Relations Douglas Beck, AuD, and President Peer Lauritsen at this year’s Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) Conference. Oticon Inc was a sponsor of this year’s conference held in November in Bonita Springs, Fla.

Beck’s presentations explored dynamic top-down (cognitive) and bottom-up (auditory) processing from contemporary audiology literature, and addressed how cognition and audition work together to create auditory perceptions, language, and cognitive processes. Dr Beck guest-edited the September 2012 edition of The Hearing Review on the same topic, featuring notable experts including Frank Lin, MD, Larry Humes, PhD, and Kathleen Pichora-Fuller.

Dr Beck noted that hearing care professionals provide sound through hearing aids, cochlear implants, ALDs, and remote microphones—all of which physically and physiologically alter the brain. In fact, neuroplastic brain changes occur across the entire lifespan secondary to sensory input. “What we now know based on the translational and peer reviewed literature is that each brain is different, thus emphasizing the need for personalization in each hearing device fitting,” said Beck. “One cannot simply place sound in the ears and presume what the cognitive impact and global image of that sound will be.” 

He pointed out that the brain and the auditory system work together in a complementary and synergistic fashion. The give and take between brain processing (top-down, cognitive processing) and auditory processing (bottom-up, sensory processing) occurs simultaneously and each changes the other based on knowledge, exposure time, emotional content, spatial cues, background noise, attention, working memory, and much more.

“Cognition and audition work together to create our unique auditory perceptions, as well as our unique language and cognitive abilities,” he explained.

In speaking to hearing care professionals attending the ADA seminar, Beck detailed the ways in which cognitive and sensory interactions are directly impacted by the acoustic and processing ability of modern hearing aids. He also shared specific examples and benefits from extended bandwidths, adaptive directionality, advanced noise reduction circuits, remote microphones, and FM systems.

Source: Oticon Inc