StromOne of my dearest friends is a font of knowledge regarding sports trivia. He can tell you the jersey number of an obscure player who played for an obscure team—in water polo during the 1950s. Thus, arguing with him about sports statistics is often a futile and demeaning endeavor. To make matters worse, he has the rather annoying habit of finishing many of his points with the words, “Everybody knows that.” However, in the heat of an argument, he can become a formidable bluffer, and I’ve recently found the one phrase that drives him absolutely crazy: [Slowly getting up from the table] “I’m going to look that up on the Internet.” All bluffing ceases at that point. Talk about the Internet improving your way of life!

Today, the Internet has assumed such importance that, when your server crashes, it’s nearly as bad as losing the electricity. The article by Brad Ingrao, MSEd, (p 18) shows how integral the computer and the Web are becoming to everyday office procedures. Ingrao details how NOAH and eTONA can now track your orders and ensure that order and repair forms are accurate, while helping your practice conform to HIPAA Security standards. New capabilities also include the ability to attach electronic earmold impressions to the orders, and the system takes the bluffing out of where Mrs. Jones hearing aid can be found. Now if HIMSA can just figure out a way to include baseball stats…

• The Hearing Aid Tax Credit Act. Carole Rogin of HIA says that the Hearing Assistance Tax Credit Act is one of the few legislative initiatives in memory (with the possible exception of UNHS) that every hearing-related consumer, professional, and trade organization has endorsed. This is a relatively small industry, so we all need to do our part to ensure that our Senators and Representatives know that hearing care professionals support HR 414 and S 1060. Turn to page 16 (Associations in Action). If your legislators aren’t listed there, please call and fax them in support of HR 414 and S 1060.

• Practical Information for Your Practice or Clinic. Francis Kuk, PhD, shows in his article that starts on p 24 why you should be careful about verifying automatic adaptive directional hearing instruments using short speech-in-noise segments. He offers an example of how one might verify these types of aids for directional performance. Manuel Don, PhD, presents an excellent article (p 30) on an elegantly simple screening tool, the Stacked ABR, and shows how it can be used to screen for small acoustic tumors. Additionally, Brian Taylor, MA, presents a thought-provoking article (p 36) on quality management in hearing healthcare and “process” is of paramount importance.

• A Quarter-Century of Pediatric Implants. It was 25 years ago that Dr. William House implanted the first child with a cochlear implant. HR takes a brief look at the events surrounding that landmark (p 40), then interviews hearing scientist Laurie S. Eisenberg, PhD, a member of Dr. House’s original (and controversial) pediatric implant team.

• The “Skinny” On Motivating Patients. Like family members who can provide a wealth of “inside information” on your own history, as well as insights into who you are, there are a number of classic “hearing aid dealers” who we should put in front of a tape-recorder so they can tell us all they’ve learned. Roy Bain’s The Book on Dispensing Hearing Aids is a personal, lively, and frank account that revolves around his 45+ years of dispensing experience and one cold hard fact: If a client needs hearing aids, but you can’t educate and motivate them to purchase and use the devices, then you’ve done very little. I recognize that a few professionals might object to some of Bain’s terminology (eg, “sales” and “close”), but the wealth of practical information in this book make it a great resource for those looking for tips on consultative selling from someone who has taught “hearing aid sales” for nearly a half-century. Bain’s article starts on p 50.

• UWB Technology. Francis Beecher, a retired dispensing professional and electronics technician, predicts how access with hearing aids might change with the advent of ultrawideband (UWB) technology, and even ventures a look at a futuristic UWB system. As always, we look forward to your comments.

Karl Strom
Editor-In-Chief