This was the first conference I had ever attended and I felt very lucky to be able to be there in person after years of virtual learning. The conference began with a welcome from our hosts and a rendition of ‘A Million Years’ sung by the Cwmbran Deaf Choir – a fantastic start.
The morning began with a fascinating talk by Marco Caversaccio about robotic cochlear implantation as well as a presentation on recurrent seroma in paediatric CI patients by Zara and Azhar Shaida. Lunch was served and we had our first opportunity to browse the posters up in the hall and explore the tech suites. Representatives from Cochlear, Med-El, Advanced Bionics and Oticon Medical welcomed us to their respective displays and we had the opportunity to practise fitting a cochlear implant, as well as playing a medical themed Pac-Man and completing a custom Wordle!
The afternoon began with the Graham Fraser Memorial Lecture, 'Optimising Outcomes in Cochlear Implants', presented by Professor Catherine Birman. This lecture covered many aspects of post-CI care as well as giving insight into Australia’s approach to CIs.
Another highlight of the afternoon was Matthew Winn’s talk on making listening effort visible in the lab and in the clinic. His research into listening effort mapped using eye constriction, as well as retention of information after errors are made in the hearing of a sentence, was fascinating and definitely will improve my patient interactions.
After the first day of presentations was when we really had the chance to discuss our posters with the delegates – a valuable session that was full of many interesting topics spanning across all specialties involved in CI care.
That evening, we were treated to a dinner in the Cardiff Museum. With great food and live music, the first day ended a success.
The second day was similarly filled with interesting talks. Helen Cullington gave an important presentation about improving adult CI referral in the UK – the “leaky pipe” analogy showing how many older patients often miss out on a potentially life-changing implant because of not even getting that first appointment or being disillusioned early on in consultations.
Our day concluded with an expert panel discussion on a variety of topics including who should be considered for CI surgery and the barriers to accessing services. Prizes were awarded to Bridget Ryan for her fantastic presentation on 'Cochlear Hydrostatic Pressures During Cochlear Implantation' and the poster by Cillian Forde et al on 'Cochlear Implant Outcomes in Patients with Meniere’s Disease'.
Overall, the BCIG conference was very enjoyable and educational, and I am hopeful ENT will be in my future career!
Richeldis France, fourth-year medical student, University of Glasgow