AAA

AudiologyNow! 2017

By Kathleen Wallace

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The American Academy of Audiology’s (AAA) annual conference, AudiologyNow!, took place in the Indianapolis Convention Center in early April. Although four days of lectures addressed nearly every aspect of the audiological scope of practice, one overarching theme emerged this year: How will the field of audiology evolve from here?

This past year has posed various disruptions to the field of audiology, such as how over-the-counter hearing aid legislation will change delivery of services, how the continued interest in personal sound amplification products (PSAPs, also called “hearables”) will guide consumer choice, and how to improve evaluations and interventions to best serve individuals with hearing loss. These questions, along with many others, fueled an exciting dialogue among professionals from around the country.

AAA President Ian Windmill, Ph.D., urged members of the academy to embrace disruptions to the field, including the recently introduced legislation for nonprescription hearing aids. Although these changes may appear as an encroachment on the audiological scope of practice, Dr. Windmill urged that these may actually be beneficial to the field.

Dr. Windmill said hearing healthcare has never been more in the public eye or as highly discussed by health officials, politicians, and consumers than in this past year. This increased awareness could lead to the prioritization of hearing health, as consumers grow more cognizant of the repercussions of hearing loss. Furthermore, the introduction of hearing solutions at various price points and technology levels may improve accessibility. If audiologists were to embrace these alternatives to intervention, they will successfully evolve with the field while simultaneously demonstrating to consumers their dedication to patient-centered care.

This sentiment was echoed throughout the conference’s sessions. Additionally, multiple lectures discussed how audiologists could improve delivery of patient-centered care by improving counseling skills, utilization of self-assessments, and consumer education to shift the locus of control from care provider to joint decision-making between the consumer and the hearing provider.

Lastly, leading professionals in the field encouraged a return to the audiologists’ roots as rehabilitative professionals. In the years since the audiological scope of practice expanded to include the ability to dispense hearing aids, audiologists have slowly shifted their focus from providing rehabilitative services to a device-driven service centered on hearing aids. However, the delivery of unprecedented auditory rehabilitation to foster successful communication strategies will enable our profession to succeed in the face of the many disruptions to hearing technology.

AAA’s willingness to acknowledge the challenges facing hearing healthcare is very promising to its successful evolution as a field. Although the field of audiology is currently experiencing some growing pains, many hearing healthcare professionals are embracing this opportunity to rethink the delivery of care and how to improve patient satisfaction by challenging the status quo.

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Hearing Health Foundation Announces "Pledge for Hearing Health"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HEARING HEALTH FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES
“PLEDGE  FOR HEARING HEALTH”

Occurring in Conjunction with National Better Hearing & Speech Month

New York, NY (May 1, 2013)—In honor of Better Hearing and Speech Month this May, Hearing Health Foundation (HHF), a non-profit dedicated to finding a cure for hearing loss through innovative research, has launched a campaign to encourage individuals to pledge online to get their hearing, or a loved one’s hearing, tested. To take the pledge, please visit: http://hhf.org.

Nearly 50 million Americans experience hearing loss, yet the average person has trouble hearing for seven to ten years before having their hearing tested by a hearing healthcare professional. HHF will provide resources to help those taking the pledge find local hearing healthcare professionals as well as topics to discuss with their providers. In addition, for every person who takes the pledge, HeathyHearing.com, a leading online resource for hearing health, will donate $1 to HHF to support groundbreaking research to prevent and cure hearing loss.

Also joining Hearing Health Foundation as partners in this initiative are the four major professional hearing associations: Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), American Academy of Audiology (AAA), American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) and American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

“We are thrilled to have the support of all these incredible organizations, uniting together to support a very important health initiative,” said Andrea Boidman, Executive Director of Hearing Health Foundation. “Nearly every single person is affected one way or another by hearing loss. While our Hearing Restoration Project works to find a cure for hearing loss, our goal is to make hearing health a national priority. There are so many treatments available to help people hear better, and we want to encourage Americans to have their hearing tested and speak with a hearing healthcare provider about what options are available.”

"Most people have their teeth and eyes checked every year, but neglect to check their hearing. Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in America behind high blood pressure and arthritis," said Paul Dybala, Ph.D., President of HealthyHearing.com. "We wanted to support this initiative with Hearing Health Foundation to encourage people to visit a hearing care professional to get their hearing checked regularly."

As people often delay treating hearing loss, HHF notes several critical reasons to have your hearing tested, including:

  • Only 16% of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss.

  • 20% of preschoolers fail hearing screenings.

  • 72% of people attending senior centers fail the hearing screening.

  • People with a mild hearing loss are twice as likely to develop dementia; the likelihood to develop dementia increases with the severity of the hearing loss.

  • Hearing loss can lead to depression and social isolation.

In 2011 Hearing Health Foundation launched the Hearing Restoration Project (HRP), a consortium of scientists working on cell regeneration in the ear. The goal of the Hearing Restoration Project is to find a biologic cure for hearing loss within the next ten years through innovative research surrounding inner ear hair cell regeneration. Most non-mammals spontaneously regenerate these specialized cells after they are damaged, which allow them to restore their hearing, but humans do not and the Hearing Restoration Project aims to understand why. The Hearing Restoration Project brought together a consortium of 14 senior scientists at leading universities around the country, requiring them to share data in order to find a quicker path to a cure.

For more information or to see how you can get involved please visit: http://hhf.org

About Hearing Health Foundation
Hearing Health Foundation is the largest private funder of hearing research, with a mission to prevent and cure hearing loss through groundbreaking research. Since 1958 Hearing Health Foundation has given away millions of dollars to hearing and balance research, including work that led to cochlear implant technology and now through the Hearing Restoration Project is working on a cure for hearing loss. Hearing Health Foundation also publishes Hearing Health magazine, a free consumer resource on hearing loss and related technology, research, and products. To learn more, subscribe to our magazine, or support this work, visit www.hhf.org.

Follow the Foundation on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/HearingHealthFn and like the organization on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/HearingHealthFoundation to stay current on hearing research, trends, technology and breakthroughs.

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