HEAL 2024

Below is a selection of topics that will be addressed:


Speech perception

Speech-in-noise testing with Digits-in-Noise


Genetic issues

Early identification – novel techniques and methods

Auditory Processing Disorders

Listening effort

Cognitive decline

Quality of life and hearing loss

Computational Audiology

Noise exposure


Amplification – technologies and strategies

Implantable devices

Auditory training

Improving Hearing Care and Services

e- and m-health solutions

Remote Care Solutions  

Intervention and Rehabilitation: strategies and methods.





Special Sessions HEAL 2024


Keynote Lecture

Auditory Situation Awareness:  the Conundrum when Your Life Depends upon your Hearing and your Hearing Depends on your Hearing Protector or Earphone

John G. Casali (Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, VA)

Hearing protection devices (HPDs) for prevention of noise-induced hearing loss and earphones for providing music and communications to the ear are both in common use internationally. However, along with their use, concomitant preservation of the user's auditory situation awareness (ASA) is critical for safety and other objectives. The human auditory sense provides key sensory-perceptual inputs, e.g., it is: always “on” and primed for response, reactive to sounds from all directions, renders an “acoustic startle response” for arousal to dangers, and has a relatively low threshold of sensitivity even during sleep. Unfortunately, recent in-lab and in-field human subject experiments have evidenced that certain selective-sound pass-through HPDs and military-fielded Tactical-Communications-and-Protective-Systems (TCAPS) do not provide "transparency," but instead leave an imprint on incoming signals, and thus degrade ASA. Experimental stimuli have included vehicular reverse alarms and a variety of signals of broadband, low-frequency, and high-frequency content. Metrics of ASA performance have included: hearing threshold at detection, accuracy and response time in recognizing/identifying and localizing signals, and intelligibility of communications. Interactive effects of earphone design with the low-frequency interaural time difference (ITD) cues and high-frequency interaural level difference (ILD) cues that are critical to localization are covered.  In addition to device testing results, auditory training is covered, in regard to the ability of both the natural and occluded ear to be trained to achieve better performance. Using a Portable Auditory Localization Acclimation and Training System (PALAT) developed at Virginia Tech, which provides an array of directional loudspeakers and a dissonant tonal complex that is highly localizable, experiments have demonstrated that spatial localization accuracy with the open ear can be improved with training by up to about 30% over baseline in some individuals, and when wearing certain HPDs or earphones, improvements can also be obtained with training.  However, other devices have been found to be insensitive to training effects, giving rise to questions about whether they should be deployed, especially in a military or occupational setting where the user needs to maintain ASA.





Applications, strengths, and pitfalls of Ecological Momentary Assessment
Coordinator: EMA methods in audiology working group (Louise Burke, Klaudia Edinger Andersson, Inga Holube, Maria Iankilevitch, Lorienne Jenstad, Dina Lelic, Graham Naylor, Niels Pontoppidan, Nadja Schinkel Bielefeld, Gurjit Singh, Karolina Smeds, Barbra Timmer, Petra von Gablenz, Florian Wolters, and Yu-Hsiang Wu, Adriana Zekveld).

Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) is a method to evaluate feelings and perceptions in real life. It consists of repeated in-situ questionnaires which nowadays is typically administered via smart phone and often combined with the collection of objective data. While this method has been employed in other disciplines for decades, it only gained popularity in hearing sciences in recent years.
In this session we will look at different applications of EMA. Although EMA has primarily been used in research context, it has great potential for clinical application and as a tool to facilitate the communication between individuals with hearing problems and health care providers. Hearing aids make it easy to discretely collect data on the acoustic environment and currently active hearing aid algorithms. However, the dependence of hearing problems on a quickly changing hearing environment and the fact that situations with hearing problems are often not easy to report in the moment bring some challenges.
We invite talks about different applications of EMA in hearing sciences, with a focus on strengths and pitfalls of the method. The session will end with a panel discussion on the potential of EMA in clinical applications.




Empowering healthcare professionals in supporting older adults with comorbid hearing and cognitive impairment
Coordinators: Dona Jayakody & Rob Eikelboom, Ear Science Institute Australia

The session will share data on current knowledge, attitudes and practices of healthcare professionals (hearing healthcare professionals, General Practitioners, Geriatricians, Geriatric Psychologists/Psychiatrists) in supporting older adults with comorbid hearing and cognitive impairment. The outcomes will be used to develop a training program, clinical guidelines, practices, and policies to upskill these healthcare professionals in supporting older adults with comorbid hearing and cognitive impairment. The presentation will also highlight the importance of using a design-based approach to integrating and facilitating effective communication between complex healthcare systems; hearing, cognition, general practice and aged-care systems to mediate new routines and establish potential new system structures to better support older adults with comorbid hearing and cognitive impairment.


Last udate: 30 October 2023