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12th - 14th Nov 2021

Conference type: Virtual

Conference administration: Bangalore, India

Report by: Dr Shivam Sharma, MS, DNB (ENT), Senior Resident, Department of ENT, SMS Medical College and Hospital, Jaipur, India

The 6th World Congress of Cochlear Implants in Emerging Nations under the aegis of Global Cochlear Implant Access Network (GCIAN) and the 18th National Conference of the Cochlear Implant Group of India, under the aegis of the Cochlear Implant Group of India (CIGI) was held recently on the 12th, 13th and the 14th of November 2021 at Bengaluru, India. The theme for the meeting was ‘Implantable Hearing: Refined and Redefined’, and what an extravagant feast it was for anyone connected with cochlear implants! Right from the diagnosis of suitable candidates correctly and early, until the last step of rehabilitation process every aspect was covered in a variety of didactic lectures and interactive discussions, all under one roof in just three days!

The conference was held virtually with a very user-friendly interface simulating one’s experience exactly similar to just like walking through a conference while being physically present there with dedicated halls and counters for each and every specific stream. There were three separate halls, one each dedicated to Surgery, Audiology and Rehabilitation with various types of lectures and deliberations going on concurrently in all three.

The Scientific Programme included integrated panel discussions on various topics, keynote addresses by luminaries in the field of CI (Dr Thomas Lenarz, Germany; Dr Karen Gordon, Canada; Dr Fan-Gang Zeng, USA; Dr Sue Archbold, UK), instructional courses, masterclasses, invited lectures (especially from experts from Emerging Nations) and free papers and posters. A unique feature in the surgery hall on Day 1 was the unedited Video Masterclass session where the surgeon shared his/her video with minimal or no editing and gave a live commentary as though the surgery was being performed live; this concept was very well received by the CI surgeons of CIGI and GCIAN.

The conference had an instructional course on radiology relating to cochlear implant surgery and outcomes, which was wonderful with many national and international faculties teaching young enthusiastic surgeons even the very miniscule details of reading a CT scan or MRI both pre- and post-operatively.

The prestigious CIGI Oration this time was awarded to Dr Madhuri Gore from Bangalore for her outstanding work on audiology and electrophysiology related to cochlear implant sciences.

“World Café” was a new concept for me and my personal favourite in the conference. These were Expert Committee Meetings in which all the senior-most and vastly experienced surgeons/audiologists/rehabilitationists came together to discuss a particular topic which was chosen carefully having conflicting views or newly emerging trends and they were then moderated by another senior faculty, thus giving an exhaustive and concluding view on the most debated topics related to Cochlear Implant Surgery, Audiology and Rehabilitation. Seven interesting themes were covered that included: CI in anomalous cochlea; CI or ABI in CN hypoplasia; ANSD; Programming in Challenging Situations; Mainstreaming and Bilingualism-Multilingualism.

To add to all this, there were a variety of oral papers and poster presentations by candidates from all parts of the world, each presenting a new outlook or a new case or some even giving an insight into few on-going studies in large centres which might change our decisions regarding many aspects of Cochlear Implants in the future. I personally was very happy to get a chance to present my E-Poster in front of such a large audience and Senior faculty and was grateful to receive the first prize.

There were 607 registrations online and most halls had more than 200 attendees on average each day. There were 140 faculty members sharing their wealth of knowledge and experience from across the globe including 54 international faculty. This virtual conference, a first of its kind in the history of CIGI was organised by a superb team that included Dr Sunil Narayan Dutt (Organising Chairman, President CIGI and GCIAN), Mr Apurv Kumar (Organising Secretary), Dr Shankar Medikeri (Chairman, Scientific Committee), Dr Sumit Kumar Gaur (Honorary Treasurer), Dr Mohnish Grover (Co-Chair, Scientific Committee), Mrs Nishita Mohandas (Secretary, CIGI), Dr Himanshu Swami (Chair – Surgery), Dr Madhuri Gore (Chair – Audiology) and Ms Rashmi Deshpande (Chair – Rehabilitation).

In short, it was nothing short of an enlightenment to attend the 6th GCIAN and the 18th CIGICON for anyone who wished to learn and grow in the ever-developing field of Cochlear Implants in all aspects of CI, whether surgery, audiology or post-operative rehabilitation.

The next CIGICON will be in New Delhi in October November 2022 and we are hoping this would be an in-person conference. Please visit the official cigi website for further updates.

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