Pediatric Hearing Loss Takes the World Stage
More than 400 hearing health and education professionals from 40 countries gathered in Madrid, Spain to share information on the latest research and findings related to hearing loss and spoken language development, as well as the latest advancements in hearing technology. This was the first time the event has taken place outside the United States.
AG Bell developed the event program with globalization in mind on topics many professionals around the world are looking to address in their own practices, including audiology, neuroscience and hearing technology, listening and spoken language (LSL) development and strategies for acquisition, mentoring, parent guidance and coaching, and tele-practice.
As a particularly strong heatwave reached the Spanish capital, attendees filled the air-conditioned halls of the NH Madrid Europbuilding eager to find ways to make valuable changes in their home countries.
Vahishtai Daboo, a LSLS Cert. AVT from India, traveled to the symposium to learn about the latest research in other countries and to learn about new ways to help children in India. “[The symposium] provides us with a global platform by being here and interacting with people,” said Daboo. “Listening to the new research that is being done and the wonderful work that is being portrayed gives us a lot of knowledge about newer ideas that we can implement.”
The event included a Research Forum entitled, “The Impact of Hearing Loss on Childhood Development and Family Constellation.” The forum addressed several factors affecting family involvement, as well as related recent evidence that allows professionals to make more specific recommendations to families in order to reach a desired LSL outcome.
World-renowned audiologists Dr. Carol Flexer and Dr. Jane Madell closed out the symposium with a presentation on their lifelong learnings and expertise gained from their decade’s long careers in the LSL field, as the field gives rise to new professionals dedicating their own to careers to helping today’s children with hearing loss learn to hear and speak.
Madrid’s Prado Museum – A Private Tour with Historic Charm and Elegance
Velazquez. El Greco. Goya. These are just a few of the famous artists attendees experienced during a closed-door, private tour of the Prado Museum (Museo Nacional del Prado). Dressed in their best, attendees explored Spanish masterpieces, such as Velazquez’ Las Meninas and Juan Sánchez Cotán’s Still Life with Game, Vegetables and Fruit, considered to be the first surviving still life painting.
As attendees completed their tours, they moved to the museum’s main hall and enjoyed a cocktail dinner with traditional Spanish tapas and cocktails, as well as good company with colleagues and friends. During the dinner, AG Bell honored world-renowned audiologist Dr. Carol Flexer with the 2019 Honors of the Association award for her lifelong career and contributions to help children who are deaf and hard of hearing worldwide learn to hear and speak.
Looking Towards the Future
In many countries, few hearing health and education professionals are qualified to help children with hearing loss learn to hear and talk. However, plans are in the works to change all that. AG Bell, AG Bell International and the AG Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language are working together to prepare professionals worldwide by publishing its world-renowned Listening and Spoken Language Certification exam in more languages, bringing together professionals from around the world to share their knowledge and expertise, and by developing global affiliates and chapters in other countries to address the needs of children who are deaf and hard of hearing right where they live.
“Through this symposium, professionals from around the world had the opportunity to learn from each other and present research regarding practices in their home countries,” said AG Bell CEO Emilio Alonso-Mendoza. “Based on what we have learned from this global gathering, we can now take those findings and continue to help hearing health and education professionals improve outcomes for children who are deaf and hard of hearing that put them on the path to success.”
AG Bell closed the first-ever global symposium with a bright vision for the future of Listening and Spoken Language for children with hearing loss worldwide.
“We at AG Bell, AG Bell International and the AG Bell Academy [for Listening and Spoken Language] cannot move our missions forward alone. You are all part of that mission. Let’s spread Listening and Spoken Language around the world together,” said AG Bell Chief Strategy Officer Gayla Guignard, M.A., CCC-A/SLP, LSL Cert. AVT, during the closing ceremony.
AG Bell plans to bring together attendees from around the world at its next Global LSL Symposium in Baltimore, Maryland in July 2020.