GICCA 2015: "The CI-related landscape in Mexico is looking promising"

"We can expect news in relation to implant designs," says Antonio Soda Merhy, president of the Iberoamerican Group of Cochlear Implants and Related Sciences in an interview with Audio Infos Latin America.

The cochlear implant (CI) is a technological innovation which has changed the lives of people worldwide, people who have recovered the gift of hearing. Every year, hundreds of children diagnosed with hearing problems can have a chance for proper development thanks to CIs. It is no surprise, then, that the medical, hearing, and otorhinolaryngological communities keenly await the VI Iberoamerican Conference on Cochlear Implants and Related Sciences (GICCA).

"The entire GICCA congress has particular relevance since it brings together the most outstanding specialists in the area of hearing implants from Spain, Portugal, and Latin America in general, as well as guest professors and world leaders in this field, among whom we can include otological surgeons, audiologists, language therapists, and basic science professionals, making this an international multidisciplinary event," explains Antonio Soda Merhy, president of the Iberoamerican Group of Cochlear Implants and Related Sciences and president of the Hearing Implants Committee of the National Institute of Respiratory Illnesses (ICV) in Mexico City.

Additional activities

GICCA brings several different courses in surgical skills and hearing workshops for programming different implants. "It also has a trade exhibition in which the implant producers presenting Simposium will inform on the latest technological advances," underlines the congress president.

The most important global producers will present many of their products in Brazil: Cochlear, AdvancedBionics, MED-EL, Neurelex, and Oticon, among others.

The role of Mexico

The participation of Mexico is increasingly more important in the congress, "due to the creation of several cochlear implant programmes across the Mexican Republic and in which plenty of professionals have had a hand. Many Mexican professionals are also taking part in independent works, posters, symposiums, and round tables where they can display the experience and knowledge of our country," says Antonio Soda Merhy.

The V GICCA Congress, in December 2013, was held in Mexico for the first time, and with spectacular results. Experts agreed to structure the programme so that the three working groups focused directly on vital programmes: audiology, otorhinolaryngology, and hearing and language therapies. In the plenary sessions, the specialists took the role of co-ordinators or participants, leading to conclusions being established and multidisciplinary comments being integrated.

Far more ambitious and complete is the Brazil programme; bearing in mind that in 2013 there were more than 700 people (comprising professors, speakers, and delegates) representing more than 25 countries, and over 250 high academic level speakers. This year, the congress in Brazil will host more than 1,500 attendees, offering some 260 presentations and practical training workshops.

The GICCA president explains that the priority themes on the Mexican agenda at the congress are:

  • 1. Strengthening existing cochlear implant programmes.
  • 2. Preparing rehabilitation teams across the country.
  • 3. Increasing government support.
  • 4. Stimulating donation culture at the level of foundations and associations.
  • 5. Clinical work and research with publications from different working groups.