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Release: May 25, 1999

UI hosts International Hearing Aid Conference

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Technology has greatly improved the quality of hearing aids over the years. To make sure that advancement continues, the University of Iowa plans to present its fifth biannual International Hearing Aid Conference June 4 - 6.

The goal of the three-day event, titled "Beyond Traditional Amplification," is to bring together researchers, clinicians and engineers from around the world to discuss what is new and exciting in hearing aid technology and research.

"It is important that we share information so that in the end we can better serve the patients and help improve their quality of life," said Richard Tyler, Ph.D., UI professor of otolaryngology, and speech pathology and audiology. Tyler is a member of the committee organizing this year’s conference.

Tyler will present a special session titled "Cochlear Implants for People Who Use Hearing Aids." His discussion is one of several talks on how researchers and caregivers are thinking beyond traditional amplification. Cochlear implants were first used in treating only deafness, not hearing loss; however, researchers are recognizing that the devices can help individuals who do not response well to hearing aids alone. As Tyler explained, for individuals with profound hearing loss, using a cochlear implant with a hearing aid may sometimes be beneficial. A cochlear implant is an electronic device that a physician surgically places in a person’s cochlea. The device, which receives signals from a processor worn outside the body, takes the place of damaged or absent cochlear hair cells. The device converts acoustic information into electrical signals that can be transmitted to the brain and perceived as sound.

Some of the other conference session topics include "Do Hearing Aids Aid Hearing?," "New Approaches in Noise Reduction," and "Implantable Hearing Aids."

The conference is sponsored by the UI department of otolaryngology — head & neck surgery, the UI department of speech pathology and audiology, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Audiology and Speech Pathology Services.

The conference is open to audiologists and hearing aid dealers. Continuing education credit is available. For more information, contact Cheryl Schlote, conference secretary, at (319) 356-2471 or by e-mail at