Events | June 2016 Hearing Review
A reported 3,408 audiologists attended the American Academy of Audiology’s (AAA) AudiologyNOW! 2016 convention, held April 13-16 in Phoenix. This year’s AAA event, said to be the largest annual gathering of audiologists in the world, featured a wealth of instructional sessions and workshops. It was preceded by the Academy Research Conference (ARC), which this year focused on central auditory processing disorders (CAPDs), chaired by Frank Musiek, PhD.
At the General Assembly, AAA President Larry Eng, AuD, and AudiologyNOW! 2016 Program Chair Joscelyn Martin, AuD, thanked and recognized Platinum sponsors Oticon, Signia/Sivantos, Starkey, and Widex for their support. Dr Eng reminded attendees that AAA is hosting a special event, “Practice Management Specialty Meeting: The Challenging and Changing Landscape of Private Practice,” in Austin, Tex, on June 17-18 (visit www.audiology.org for details).
Dr Eng also paid tribute to the work of the many volunteers and committee members who carry out the work of the Academy, and he provided a video overview of activities of the AAA Foundation (AAAF), American Board of Audiology (ABA), Accreditation Commission for Audiology Education (ACAE), and the Student Academy of Audiology (SAA). Dr Eng also presented Presidential Awards to Marcia Raggio, PhD, June Uyehara Isono, PhD, Bopanna Ballachanda, PhD, and Kate Thomas, PhD.
Facing the challenges of today and tomorrow. President-elect Ian Windmill, PhD, who takes the reigns as AAA president in July, made an appeal for greater member involvement in the Academy in the face of change, saying that the past 25 years has presented AAA with a variety of challenges that have been overcome by its forward-thinking leadership and active membership, with issues ranging from professional autonomy to reimbursement. He said that, today, audiologists are confronted with possible sweeping regulatory changes for hearing aid dispensing and personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in response to recommendations by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and the upcoming report from the National Academy of Sciences Health and Medicine Division (HMD, formerly known as the Institute of Medicine).
“While both the PCAST report and the [HMD] only provide recommendations, any subsequent policy actions on these proposals could have a very significant impact on our delivery of hearing care in the future,” said Dr Windmill, noting the April 21 FDA workshop that would witness a wide range of viewpoints from consumers, professionals, researchers, and industry (see page 8).
“Tomorrow, we’ll face a new set of challenges,” continued Windmill. “Perhaps the challenges of new technologies such as hearables, or new assessment techniques such as the functional imaging of the auditory system, or even pharmaceuticals for the prevention and treatment of hearing loss. While each of these might present significant challenges to audiologic practice, they also provide us with opportunities to find greater success as a profession.”
Using pharmaceuticals as an example, he pointed out that adoption of pharmaceutical treatment methods by audiologists would require significant changes to the current educational system, licensing laws, and continuing education for existing practitioners wanting to integrate pharmaceuticals into their practices. “In other words, it would be a task that requires every person here to do their part. I’m not standing here advocating that we get prescribing authority. But we do need to ask ourselves whether this should be part of our scope of practice for the future. And, importantly, are we collectively willing to take on this type of challenge?
“So whether it’s OTC [over-the-counter] devices now or pharmaceuticals for hearing loss in the future, it’s time to follow the lead of those who came before us to take on these new challenges, and by all of us working together, turn these new challenges into our new opportunities for success. As in the past, these will require time, and expertise, and the commitment of every person here.”
Perform like a rock star. Orna Drawas, business expert and author of Perform Like a Rock Star and Still Have Time for Lunch, provided the keynote address at the General Assembly and signed copies of her book in the Signia/Sivantos booth in the AudiologyNow! exhibit hall. With over 30 years experience at Epsilon, IBM, Sprint and Time Warner Telecom, Drawas offered entertaining examples of how to control your own destiny, use the power of others, and keep focused on your work goals.
Next year in Indianapolis. The 2017 AudiologyNOW! Convention will take place April 5-8 in Indianapolis, with the ARC kicking it off with a conference devoted to Pediatric Audiology: Assessment and Habilitation on April 5. For more information, visit www.audiology.org.
Original citation for this article: Strom KE. AudiologyNOW! 2016 Highlights the changing landscape of hearing healthcare. Hearing Review. 2016;23(6):34