Music: Improving Perception and Appreciation: Despite the remarkable advances in outcomes in pediatric cochlear implantation, restoration of music appreciation remains elusive. We will explore the metrics by which music appreciation can be measured, the role of the peripheral and central auditory system on this process, and implications of access to music on children with hearing loss. With this understanding, we will explore opportunities to improve access to music in our pediatric CI population.
Technology: Improving CI Results in an Increasingly Interconnected World: Cochlear implantation remains a model for success in biotechnology, providing prosthetic restoration of a special sense. Further improvements in cochlear implantation will occur when we are able to better integrate other breakthroughs in related biotechnology, including improved device design, integrated cellular- or pharmaco-therapy, use of advanced techniques for data collection/ mining, and improved integration with other communication technology. Speakers and panelists from related disciplines will explore pathways to leverage resources and opportunities available in biotechnology fields to the benefit of our pediatric cochlear implant patients.
Cognition: Improving Our Understanding of Language Development and Central Plasticity: The successful development of language remains a central measure of pediatric cochlear implantation. We will bring experts together with diverse expertise in the development of language and how it relates to hearing – from peripheral signal perception to CNS plasticity. The role of early and targeted intervention will be explored, and where habilitation efforts are likely to be most productive to improve outcomes.
Outcomes: Improving the Use of Metrics for Success: Objective assessment of current outcomes is critical to formulating a path to improved future results. We will consider objective measures and determinants of how children perform with their implants—including device/signal processing technology, candidacy issues, surgical techniques, and post-implantation rehabilitation. Taking a multidisciplinary and multifactorial approach to these complex issues will allow the isolation of key factors that may most improve outcomes.
Indications: Improving Hearing in Expanded Populations: The continued improvement in pediatric cochlear implant outcomes has allowed its use in expanded populations of children. Issues such as the indications for implantation in the presence of single-sided deafness, residual functional hearing, and congenital malformations will be examined. Similarly, indications for cochlear implantation in children with concurrent challenges (e.g., cognitive, medical/surgical, socioeconomic) will be assessed in an effort to offer objective guidelines in candidate selection and direct future study.
Delivery: Improving Efficacy, Availability, and Efficiency in CI Care: Outcomes of pediatric cochlear implantation are vitally dependent on access to implantation services from experienced providers. Many children and families affected by hearing loss are at risk for suboptimal results due to economic or geographic constraints. Similarly, many CI centers are under increasing economic pressures in their attempts to provide the highest quality implant care. The clinical and procedural complexity of CI care can make learning the process a challenge for new clinicians. We will examine innovative methods to optimize access to care, in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Current trends and experience in teletherapy and remote mapping will be explored as an opportunity to expand CI benefits to a greater population. Special sessions are planned for new CI clinicians to learn approaches and insights from experienced leaders.