World Congress for Music Therapy in Vancouver

From July 24 to 29, 2023, the 17th World Congress on Music Therapy WCMT2023 took place in Vancouver, Canada. Every three years, this conference brings together music therapists and experts from related fields from all over the world to exchange ideas, experiences, trends and research results in various fields of work.

Bianca Wirthner, MSc; Clin. Ass. Prof. PD, Dr. Astrid Magele

The selected lectures and poster presentations by a total of 700 participants from 50 different countries ranged from music therapy studies from the fields of neurology, geriatrics, oncology etc. to topics such as "Diversity, equality and integration" or "Telemedicine in music therapy".

At the opening ceremony, which was held in English and French, it became clear just how wide-ranging music therapy is in principle and how many interesting fields of work it is used in worldwide. It is also pleasing to note that there is an increase in the use of MT (Music Therapy) in various medical fields. This is also due to the fact that MT has already established itself as a scientifically recognized form of therapy.

Austrian music therapy study with cochlear implant users

Clin. Ass. Prof., PD, Dr. Astrid Magele, Senior Physician and Head of the HSA, and Bianca Wirthner, MSc, Music Therapist at the ENT Department, presented the music therapy study on "Improved Music Perception after Music Therapy Following Cochlear Implantation in the Elderly Population", published in 2022. This study was conducted at the ENT department under the direction of Prim. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Georg M. Sprinzl at the Universitätsklinikum St. Pölten with CI users older than 65 years. This showed a significant improvement in music perception and quality of life, as can be read on the website (Journal of Personalized Medicine).

Bianca Wirthner (left) and Clin. Ass. Prof., PD, Dr. Astrid Magele have been successfully offering music therapy for CI users for many years. ©Astrid Magele, Bianca Wirthner

Worldwide networking of music therapists

Although the circle of experts in this special field is unfortunately still very small worldwide, a new network and many new contacts were established during this congress. After the presentation, there was a lively exchange and discussion between the experts in this work field. The desire for stronger networking was clearly noticeable among all participants. The networking with music therapists in Canada and Germany, with whom a possible cooperation on a scientific and also clinical-practical level would be conceivable and desirable, should be emphasized.

Happy Austria

There are still few rehabilitation options in the CI sector worldwide and we can consider ourselves lucky to have taken on a pioneering role here at the ENT department in St. Pölten. The reason for this is, of course, that in many countries the use of cochlear implants is not included in medical services and is not covered by the healthcare system. Once again, the participants realized how lucky we are to live in a country like Austria.

Dream city Vancouver

Vancouver, a vibrant multicultural city, showed its best side as a congress venue. Fantastic weather, friendly, helpful and very communicative people, a lively cultural life and culinary delights made the stay around the congress perfect. As a supporting program to the intensive congress program, excursions to Victoria on the neighbouring island of Vancouver Island were offered for whale watching, which many participants took advantage of.

The 18th World Congress for Music Therapy will take place in Bologna/Italy and the ENT team plans to be represented there again with new study results, which should benefit our CI users in particular.

Music therapy at St. Pölten University Hospital

Music therapy for CI users is offered at the ENT department of the University Hospital St. Pölten for all age groups.

The aim is to provide CI users with therapeutic support alongside medical, audiological and speech therapy care, especially in the first year after CI surgery. Music is used as a therapeutic aid and, in addition to the music therapy sessions, the aim is to train hearing and understanding with the CI. No previous knowledge is required, as the aim is to experience and learn with the help of music.


Further information about the University Hospital St. Pölten can be found here!