- Published on 03 December 2018
The AICE Federation (Spanish Association of Cochlear Implant Users) held its annual awards ceremony at a gala evening in Barcelona on November 24. It was attended by some 140 friends, family members, professionals, and firms related to this technology. This was the 21st such ceremony, and the winners were former Health Minister Dolors Montserrat, the ORL team at Valladolid's Río Hortega Hospital, Spanish MP Pablo Iglesias, Audio Infos and Audioenportada, Maite Amigo, and Sheila Templado.
The 21st AICE Awards were the grand finale at a gathering of 18- to 30-year-olds with cochlear implants who, as the national Federation puts it, "shared experiences and became empowered to continue to fight for communication accessibility in sectors such as leisure and education." These annual awards are given to "persons and bodies who have stood out during the previous year in meeting one of the objectives AICE prioritises in the world of those with cochlear implants, deafness and/or disability in general."
Sector by sector
In the order in which the awards were handed out, the first was received by Sheila Templado, winner of the Pedro Berruecos Villalobos Award (in memory of the Mexican audiologist who "devoted his life so that audiology and speech-language therapy could be regarded as a separate medical specialty"). Representing the late Mexican professional at the gala event was Lilian Flores, who presented the commemorative plaque and a cheque for 500 euros for the only cash prize among these awards. The other winners all received a bronze-finished sculpture of Amaia Conde Chiralt, portraying a head "slightly tilted, serene, alert, open to the world".
Next came the turn of Dr. Luis Ángel Vallejo, representing the Río Hortega Hospital of Valladolid, where he leads the ORL team chosen for the Medical Award. Since 1999, when this state centre carried out its first implant, the service has taken part in a total of 213 operations.
The Communication Media Award this year went to the magazine Audio Infos and its website Audioenportada "for giving accurate information on audiology, cochlear implants, and the needs of the deaf, as well as for providing visibility for the AICE Federation". The writer of this article, José Luis Fernández, chief reporter of the magazine, accepted the award on its behalf. "The communication media are a valuable tool for connecting to the world, as well as for creating awareness and informing society as a whole about our collective," AICE underlines.
The Institutional Award for this year went to Dolors Montserrat, "for the work she has done from her position as MP in Congress and later as Minister of Health, helping persons with hearing loss to achieve rights equality" and for promoting the enlargement of basic coverage of orthopaedic health services, among other actions.
Another parliamentary representative, Pablo Iglesias—who could not attend the event on November 24 (later shown on the Spanish national La2 channel on Sunday, December 2) because of obligations to campaign events in the Andalusian regional elections—addressed those present by video, expressing his gratitude for the acknowledgement, which he put down to his awareness of the problems faced by implant patients thanks to the senator Pilar Lima, who suffers from hearing loss. This Accessibility Award was given to Iglesias as "the only political leader of Spain's four national parties who publishes all his messages in video and on social networks complete with subtitles, recognising deaf persons as citizens with full rights and as prospective voters," says the AICE.
Finally, the Volunteer Recognition Award, the only one the jury decides on without communicating the decision to the winner, the surprise on this occasion being for Maite Amigo, Mexican-born speech and hearing therapist working in Catalonia. The annual prize is given to recognise "one of its colleagues, as a gesture of gratitude for the selfless effort shown by all in contributing to the functioning and development of the body."
Audio Infos, a news project enjoying its coming of age
First published in France in 1993, and present in Spain since the year 2000, Audio Infos has grown to become the leading magazine for audiology and hearing care professionals. Since that time, we have been informing our readers on subjects of interest, detailing the profession's perspectives and development. We have correspondents in different countries for the dissemination of our editions in several continents (print editions in Germany, Italy, UK, Holland, Russia, Brazil, Latin America, and at international congresses along with Audiology Worldnews; and also on websites in Italy, Germany, Brazil, Spain, and Latin America, and of global scope with a strong presence in the USA through Audiology Worldnews and Audioenportada).
"The entire Audio Infos team, spread across at some ten countries, receives this acknowledgement with gratitude and pride. We work to provide a voice for everyone familiar with our sector, whether they be audiologists, producers, distributors, associations, researchers, etc. But those who make this sector special are the users or patients, and their families. We also want to be a channel for the prime interested parties in therapies and technology, i.e. the families that know how to discern a good professional. This is why this award really hits the spot," declared Judith Escales, International Editions Coordinator, from France, base counry for the head office of Parresia, publisher of Audio Infos.