About 300 professionals participated in the seventh Swiss Hearing Day held on October 22, 2020 (Note: these webpages are in German and French only). For the first time it took place virtually and it was moderated by the well-known Swiss radio and television presenter Mrs. Christine Maier. It was a unique event and participants were able to actively participate and give their opinions on different topics. This way everyone was involved, which made the whole experience even more exciting for everybody.
Under the motto “Hearing – your brain never stops listening”, various speakers from Switzerland and abroad presented. Horst Warncke from Germany discussed the question of whether hearing aids are intelligent. Book author Thomas Sünder and scientist Dr. Andreas Borta from Germany took the participants on an exciting journey into the world of hearing. An interesting round table discussion on the topic "Hearing training - pro or contra” took place. Furthermore, we were able to observe via live stream link a cochlear implant surgery taking place at the university teaching hospital in Bern. Finally, Josefine Jensen from Denmark gave a lecture on how the brain organizes sounds, based on EEG research. It was a very varied and interesting program at this exciting virtual event.
Here are some highlights of the event for you in the hope that those who were not able to attend will still get some insights from it.
Everything about our hearing and how it keeps us mentally fit
Thomas Sünder was a DJ and played at more than 500 weddings - until a sudden hearing loss damaged his ear and he finally had to give up his job due to vertigo attacks. He took this existential experience as an opportunity to learn more about hearing together with scientist Dr. Andreas Borta.
Topics such as how our brain is formed, how hearing was created as well as why our ears age were presented during their exciting lecture at Swiss Hearing Day. They also presented research about dementia. The latest research confirms that hearing loss without the compensation of a hearing aid can increase the risk of developing dementia by up to four hundred percent! They made one thing very clear: taking care of your hearing can be very effective against dementia.
They made one thing very clear: taking care of your hearing can be very effective against dementia.
If you want more information about their book “Ganz Ohr” (available only in German), you can find it on the following webpage.
Hearing training - pro or contra?
The program continued with the podium round in which the following question was debated: hearing training pro or contra? A total of four people from the industry were invited to express their opinions and to explain what the benefit of hearing training is. The audience also participated actively and asked questions which were integrated into the discussion. The invited guests from industry and the audience were not always in agreement: the online survey showed that 56% of the participants are contra and 44% are pro hearing training. There is, therefore, still a need for more discussion on this topic.
Cochlear implant live operation from Bern
In the second part of the event, we had the opportunity to follow a cochlear implant operation live. The highly specialized operation was done by Prof. Dr. med. Georgios Mantokoudis and commented on by Prof. Dr. Marco-Domenico Caversaccio. During the live transmission, it was also shown what the difficulties of this operation are and what requires special attention. Focus was placed on the facial nerves, the taste nerves, and the electrodes fully inserted into the cochlea. It was very interesting to see how such an operation is done and how much accuracy it requires.
A virtual vs. physical event
The event was opened by Christine Maier, who greeted all visitors with a warm welcome. She wanted to know from Christina Pesenti who organized the event together with her organization team, if she had considered canceling it like many other event organizers in Switzerland and abroad. Christina replied: “cancellation was never an option for us! But in the current situation we had to look for alternatives and make the best of the situation.”
Cancellation was never an option for us!
Interview with Christina Pesenti: General Manager Marketing & Sales, Demant Switzerland.
Bernafon headquarters (HQ): Why do you organize this event with such passion?
Christina Pesenti (CP): The Swiss Hearing Day is one of the largest events in the acoustics industry in Switzerland. Every year, we have several hundred participants from the industry who close their stores for this one day to be part of the event. With this event, we offer not only information from science, research, medicine, acoustics and industry, but also an important networking platform for the participants. It is simply a great pleasure to make this possible, especially because we always receive a lot of positive feedback.
HQ: What is the highlight of this event?
CP: One of the highlights is certainly the surgery streamed live. Highly impressive and interesting for participants.
HQ: What are the aims of Swiss Hearing Day?
CP: To bring up topics that concern the industry, bring people together, highlight different perspectives from technology, medicine, science, industry, patients, and acousticians and different points of view within hearing health. All in an informative and entertaining way.
HQ: This year the event took place for the seventh time. But this time it was completely different. What did you like most about this year's event?
CP: It was fascinating to be part of the production of a virtual event. It was like producing a television show. A look behind the scenes was very exciting and above all very instructive.
HQ: When did you decide to do the event virtually?
CP: We decided to switch to virtual about 2 months before the event. The decision was difficult for us, because we know how valuable networking is for our audience. In retrospect, however, it was clearly the right decision. The main reason for the decision was the uncertain situation with the corona virus and the risk that people could get infected at this event.
HQ: What hurdles did you have to overcome during planning and what did you learn from them?
CP: Rather than hurdles, we had some challenges to overcome. We had to design the program in such a way that it would remain exciting and interactive for the participants even from home on the screen. Since every minute has to be interesting, we packed more content into it for a much shorter event than the physical one. Individual contributions must remain short and crisp. In addition, it takes a lot of persuasion to get participants in front of their screens. In the end, the effort was many times greater, but we think the learning opportunities were also significantly greater than at a normal, physical event.
HQ: Thank you Christina Pesenti for this interview. It is great to see how much commitment and passion you and your team put into organizing this event every year.
The next Swiss Hearing Day will take place on October 28, 2021.