al. Jerozolimskie 65/79
Prof Kurt Stephan and Prof H Skarzynski passing the WCA flag to Prof Hung Thai-Van, president of the WCA 2024, Paris.
The World Congress of Audiology took place in Warsaw after the four-year break from the last WCA due to COVID-19 pandemics. For many scientists, it was the first face-to-face meeting in a long time.
The organisers, the International Society of Audiology (ISA) and the local team led by Professor Henryk Skarzynski and Professor Piotr H Skarzynski did an admirable job considering the difficult worldwide circumstances. The congress was well-attended, and the intensive scientific programme was filled with excellent lectures and sessions.
The traditional high point of the scientific programme was the Aram Glorig Oration, in memory of the founder of the ISA. This year, Professor Ross J Roeser (pictured with Prof PH Skarzynski) from the University of Texas in Dallas presented the lecture 'Establishing Scientific Truth in Audiology.'
The WCA 2022 programme included two round tables, according to the WCA tradition proposed by the ISA and the local organisers. The titles of the round tables were 'International Best Practices in Audiology' chaired by Professor James W Hall III and 'What's New in Hearing Implants?' chaired by Prof PH Skarzynski.
Another customary part of the WCA programme is the WHO session. This year, the keynote address on 'Making H.E.A.R.I.N.G. Care for All a Reality: WHO's World Report of Hearing' was presented by Shelly Chadha, regrettably only as a video recording.
The French Society of Audiology, which will host the next World Congress of Audiology in 2024, organised an excellent two-part session, 'Hearing Impairment in a Society'. The chairmen were Professor Hung Thai-Van and Professor Olivier Sterkers. Presented papers covered the whole range of audiology-related topics, from hearing devices to central processing to the genetics of hearing loss.
Other notable sessions were the ISA Special Session' Sounds for Around the World: Bringing Audiology Together' chaired by Professor Astrid van Wieringen and the Special Session of IERASG 'The State-of-the-Art of the Auditory Waves: from hot AEP-Research to Clinical Practice' chaired by Dr Andy J Beynon, both with fascinating presentations and educative discussion.
An interesting diversion from the strictly audiological topics was provided by the special session with demonstration hearing-preservation surgeries performed by Prof H Skarżyński. The topic of new surgical methods for hearing preservation and improvement of CI effectiveness was continued in opening session with lectures from Prof H Skarzynski, Prof Artur Lorens and Prof. PH Skarzynski. They presented lectures on partial deafness treatment, resultant broadening of cochlear implantation criteria and cochlear implantation in single-sided deafness.
The discussion panel 'New Concepts of Outcome Measures after Hearing Implantation' moderated by Prof Lorens focused on documenting the effectiveness of an intervention as a reduction of hearing-loss-induced deficits of function, activity, and participation. This concept aligns with the International Classification of Functioning, Health, and Disability (ICF), which WHO recommends as a framework for measuring outcomes. The panelists introduced the ICF nomenclature describing the auditory implantation outcomes from the ICF perspective. They concluded that its application could bring about the much-needed development of a uniform language. Prof. Ad Snik has presented a critical review of the literature on currently used outcome measures, highlighting possible confounding factors and provoking introspection in the audience.
The scientific programme was supplemented by six excellent workshops and seven pre-conference satellite symposia. There was also a commercial exhibition, small because of limited space in the congress venue, but well prepared.
Stavros Hatzopoulos PhD, Dept of Neurosciences & Rehabilitation, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.