The goal of the International Conference on Auditory Cortex (ICAC2020) is to understand the auditory cortical mechanisms that underlie higher-level hearing and auditory cognition and to use this knowledge to mitigate hearing disorders that remain despite treatment with conventional hearing aids. In particular, the organizers of ICAC are interested in attracting all scientists (especially young scientists, women scientists and minority scientists) who (1) bring new methodologies and novel conceptual/theoretical approaches to studies of auditory cortex; and (2) unify fundamental research on the structure and function of the auditory cortex through a synthesis of human and animal research. Although there are many exciting convergent results arising from non- invasive neuroimaging approaches in humans and invasive experimental techniques in animals, there is still no full understanding how to integrate knowledge from one field to the others (such as optical imaging and neurophysiology in animals and EEG and fMRI in humans). One of the key conference goals is to bridge these gaps between the insights gathered with different experimental techniques in human and animal studies. ICAC has a unique constituency and forum: It is the only multi-day conference that focuses exclusively on the contribution of the auditory cortex to perception. Further, because the ICAC meeting takes place in a single conference setting without any parallel sessions, it maximizes formal and informal scientific discourse in a collegial atmosphere. Thus, through this focused meeting, ICAC uniquely spurs and facilitates scientific progress in auditory perception and cognition, communication, with a novel combination of scientific breadth and depth, and provides a venue for relaxed and informal interactions between scientists that spark ideas and future collaborations. Further, ICAC promotes meaningful and educational interactions between junior and senior auditory neuroscientists throughout the program, thereby helping to deepen and spur growth in our research pipeline and to provide career development opportunities. Thus, ICAC is a unique venue for focused and in-depth discussions between junior and senior scientists who are interested in the neural correlates of auditory perception. ICAC2020 continues a conference series that began in 2003 and rotates triennially between different international sites.
Currently hearing impairment is treated by restoring ear functions with hearing aids or cochlear implants, which, unfortunately, have limited success in some individuals for a variety of reasons, one of which is that the role of the auditory cortex for auditory perception is often neglected. Thus, efforts are required to advance the understanding of the auditory cortex to find novel ways to improve the diagnosis and treatment of the range of auditory perceptual dysfunctions causing hearing impairment and that can lead to personal suffering and social isolation, as well as enormous annual healthcare costs of $133 billion in the US alone. The goal of the International Conference on Auditory Cortex (ICAC2020) is to bring together the worldwide leading scientists in this field to present, discuss and debate new findings in auditory cortical function and auditory cognition in humans and animals and apply these new insights to developing more effective new treatments for hearing disorders.