It is my pleasure to introduce myself as EURO-CIU’s new President following the elections at our Workshop & General Assembly in Valencia. It was great to see so many of our members there, including so many confident and inspiring young adult CI users.
Tobias Fischer (1st Vice President) and Anamaria Brașov (Treasurer) were also elected. You can read short biographies of all board members in this newsletter. I am delighted with the line-up of the board and that it is truly international. The refreshed board brings new energy to improve the respectability and visibility of EURO-CIU, so that we can have more collective influence.
Before we can press on with new projects, we must attend to some important housekeeping duties. EURO-CIU is registered in Luxembourg where the rules have recently changed and must be complied with.
We are all volunteers, so please support and energise us so that we can support and energise you; praise is more welcome, effective and motivating than criticism or manipulation.
There are currently around 500,000 cochlear implants in use in Europe. While this is impressive, we are still a very long way from a CI utopia, where everyone has access to implants together with top-notch lifelong support. I hope that we will see advances in Awareness, Access and Lifelong care during my presidency. CI users, existing and future, are front and centre to all we do.
We aim to improve our communication in all areas, particularly because we recognise that people get CI because they value good communication.
In this newsletter you can read preliminary information about our next Symposium & General Assembly in Vienna 4th-5th April 2024, and the EURO-CIU Summer Camp 20th-27th July 2024. Save the dates! More information will follow soon.
The board would like to wish all of our readers and members a wonderful and peaceful Christmas season.
This will be one of my last messages as president. My mandate is almost over and it is time to take stock of this turbulent time, which I hope has been positive for EURO-CIU.
We have gone through really difficult years that with effort and dedication we have managed to increase the value of the “Cochlear Implant” brand and, therefore, of EURO-CIU, creating awareness in Europe and around the world, even when we have defended “oralism”, “integration”, “accessibility” and “design for all”; in addition to collaborating with global projection with the WHO, CIICA, EHIMA, several universities and other organizations as well of course, all commercial brands of cochlear implants.
The COVID, this misfortune that struck the world, deprived us of the celebrations we deserved for our 25th anniversary; but we were able to adapt and re-emerge thanks to new technologies, holding more meetings that connect us even without the human warmth of being in person.
I am pleased to confirm that EURO-CIU has achieved a level of respectability and visibility never before reached thanks to the team that has surrounded and supported me to walk in this direction. We have shown the European institutions (European Parliament & Commission and European Forum of Disabilities) and the World Health Organisation that deafness has different realities. Hearing loss is not synonymous of silence, but on the contrary, we are a powerful collective raising our voice, showing our listening.
After years of work and advocacy, the disability card has finally been presented by the European Commission, as you can see in this newsletter, and we will be able to enjoy it as a collective.
Our path does not end with me and everyone’s participation and involvement is very important.
I remind you that in the next General Assembly there will be elections and I invite you all, but especially cochlear implant users to run for the vacancies on the Board (Presidency, 1st Vice Presidency and Treasurer).
For all this, I am waiting for you at the EURO-CIU Workshop Valencia, the next 3rd and 4th of November 2023, to develop our collaboration, focusing specifically on the following topics:
- Synergies between Cochlear Implant NGO’s and the Cochlear Implant Industry.
- How to approach the Health/Disability Commission in your country and the European Parliament.
- Future Paths & Joint Actions from EURO-CIU Members.
Working together so that the conclusions of these workshops will help to build a future full of sounds for our organizations, our members and our families. I look forward to seeing you!
Teresa Amat (President, EURO-CIU)
It is exciting to see the tasks that our member associations are carrying out, and being able to share these synergies “in person” is the aim that we have set ourselves for the Valencia Workshop: Building bridges of communication.
We also want to learn from each other in order to enrich ourselves and raise awareness of how cochlear implants can change the lives of people of different ages.
The only way this can be accomplished is working on sharing realistic, updated and safe information. We must not forget the political impact that should govern the steps of leaders who must not forget the health of their citizens, as hearing care, prevention and aid must play a part in public policies.
In the last European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities which you can read about below, you will see how EURO-CIU keeps making Cochlear Implant Users visible and includes them on the Disability fight for a better quality of life at all ages and policy support from our administrations. In ESPCI we saw how the world of hearing loss is changing at a fast pace, starting to implant babies at 6-7 month of age.
Our technology is evolving.
Our “hearing” and their “listening” must evolve as well.
Teresa Amat, President EURO-CIU
Seeing so many countries involved in the celebration of the “International Cochlear Implant Day” and how we are moving forward together working to find measures to prevent hearing loss around the world should makes us proud. It also encourages us to continue in this line to achieve our objectives of visibility of involvement of youth and elderly (as we can see in the videos) finding the complicity of Governments so that health policies take us into account and see that untreated hearing loss is counterproductive not only for the health economy but for the economy in general.
We are also proud to belong to the group that works with the Task Force preparing guides for improvement in the different fields related to cochlear implants, from access to programming, rehabilitation, without forgetting maintenance and updates, apart from connectivity.
That professionals do not give up in their objective of researching and making news and studies known, and we also bring the articles below in our newsletter to share them with the entire community.
All good news paving the way for moving forward and leaving no one behind because of severe-profound hearing loss.
Teresa Amat (President)