The 8th annual meeting of the American Auditory Society (AAS) will be held March 5-7, 2006 in Scottsdale, Ariz. This annual meeting has evolved into a unique educational and learning experience advancing the expectations of a multi-disciplinary attendance, including audiologists, dispensing professionals, medical doctors, engineers, and the hearing research community.

Where Hard Science Meets Clinical Experience in a Friendly Environment
In reality, there are a limited number of forums that provide an opportunity for interactions between basic and clinical researchers, and between both basic and clinical researchers and clinicians. The AAS meeting is specifically designed to fill the void between meetings focused on basic science and meetings focused on clinical or professional service. One of its key purposes is to provide a forum in which ideas can be exchanged among basic researchers, clinical researchers, and clinical service providers. Furthermore, the AAS meeting has its emphasis on translational and clinical research; it does not address professional or “political” issues that are frequently a focus of other professional meetings.

The efforts of the AAS to encourage translational, clinical, and interdisciplinary research have been fostered by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Conference grant, which has provided support for translational research lectures, special sessions, and student/resident research presentations over the past five years. Unique is the meeting design to provide a forum in which basic scientists present their research to a clinically oriented audience, with the intention of increasing the translational value of their research. While there are meetings at which basic scientists present their research to other basic scientists and at which clinical service issues are addressed, what has been lacking in the hearing care field is a forum in which basic scientists can present their work to an audience whose focus is clinical research—with the goal of translating research into clinical applications.


Fostering Research Exchange and Interdisciplinary Collaboration
More than 50 podium presentations will be offered at this year’s AAS Scientific Meeting (some abstracts of these sessions will be presented in the January issue of HR). The meeting will also feature a special multi-disciplinary session on a topic of broad interest (in 2006 the focus is on hearing aids) in which speakers representing the diverse membership of the AAS participate. This session fosters interactions and cross-fertilization of ideas, resulting in synergy among the professionals represented in the AAS membership (eg, audiology, otolaryngology, hearing science, engineering, industry, etc).

With NIH support the meeting also provides travel to students and residents engaged in research, enabling them to present their work to an audience that includes both basic and clinical research scientists. A further motivating factor is to encourage those individuals who are considering clinically related research careers by demonstrating to them that such efforts are valued. It is hoped that these efforts will help to increase the number of individuals who embark on research careers, especially those that involve clinical research.

The Carhart Memorial Lecture is a centerpiece of the AAS meeting, as is the awarding of a Life Achievement Award. This year’s Carhart Memorial Lecture will be presented by Joseph B. Nadol Jr, MD, and Marion Downs, MS, DHS, will receive the AAS Lifetime Achievement Award. The Special Session on the topic of hearing aids will be presented by Todd Ricketts, PhD, Ruth Bentler, PhD, and Jim Kates, PhD. Technology Updates, Mentored Student Posters, General Posters, and Podium Presentations round out the meeting offerings.

A preliminary program, along with meeting registration is available online at www.amauditorysoc.org, or contact: American Auditory Society, 352 Sundial Ridge Circle, Dammeron Valley, UT 84783. (435) 574-0062; email: [email protected].

—Submitted by Wayne J. Staab, PhD

AAS Meeting Highlights, March 5-7

The meeting will feature the following distinguished events:

Carhart Memorial Lecture:              Joseph B. Nadol Jr, MD

Special Session: Hearing Aids:        Todd Ricketts, PhD
                                                        Ruth Bentler, PhD
                                                        Jim Kates, PhD

Translational Research Presentations:      John Rosowski, PhD
                                                                  Ruth Litovsky, PhD
                                                                  Douglas Cotanche, PhD
                                                                  Steve Armstrong, BSEE

Life Achievement Award Recipient:       Marion Downs, MS, DHS

Podium Presentations:                            52+ submitted papers

Introduction to NIH Research:                 Fred Bess, PhD

NIH Research Forum:                              Daniel Sklare, PhD

NIH Mentored Student Posters:                15 posters

General Posters:                                       Variable

Technology Update Sessions                   16 sessions (30 minutes each)


Representative Ryun Testifies to House Ways and Means Committee on the Hearing Aid Assistance Tax Credit Bill
Alexandria, Va—Rep Jim Ryun (R-KS) testified on the merits of HR414, the Hearing Aid Assistance Tax Credit, at a major House Ways and Means Subcommittee hearing November 16, according to the Hearing Industries Assn (HIA). He discussed why this legislation deserves favorable consideration. The hearing was conducted by the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee, chaired by Rep Dave Camp (R-MI), and focused on a limited number of tax proposals introduced in 2005 which were specially selected by the subcommittee chair for inclusion.

 HIA Executive Director Carole Rogin and Director of Government Relations Andrew Bopp of HIA present Representative Jim Ryun (right) with HIA’s “Representative of the Year” award during “Hearing on the Hill” which was held in May.

HIA reports that Ryun did an excellent job presenting HR414. He noted that most insurance companies provide no coverage for hearing aids, and he referenced the need for children to have access to hearing aids as they move through their developmental years. He also noted the need for older Americans to maintain their communicative abilities at work, and with their family and friends via amplification devices.

HIA submitted testimony for the Committee record, expressing its support for the tax credit. HIA Intern Eddie Sierra submitted a statement chronicling his experience with hearing loss and the improvement hearing aids have made to his life.

Speculation on which representatives might be invited to testify before the Ways and Means Subcommittee was of keen interest to organizations with tax-related proposals since the hearing was first announced in August. Congress reconvened after Labor Day, and HIA has been diligently working with hearing coalition partners to increase overall visibility and support for HR414—holding 53 Congressional meetings and garnering 14 additional co-sponsors along the way.

HR414, and its companion bill in the US Senate (S1060), would provide a tax credit up to $500 per hearing aid to hearing-impaired individuals ages 55 and older, and to families with dependents. HR414 currently has 84 bipartisan cosponsors, a number expected by HIA to increase. Co-sponsors Mark Foley (R-FL) and Tom Reynolds (R-NY) are Subcommittee members. Additional cosponsors of HR414 serving on the full Ways and Means Committee include Reps Phil English (R-PA), William Jefferson (D-LA), John Lewis (D-GA), Richard Neal (D-MA) and Jim Ramstad (R-MN). If enacted, HR414 “will help millions of Americans enjoy something most of us just take for granted,” said Sen Norm Coleman (R-MN) when he introduced S1060 in the Senate during “Hearing on the Hill” which was held May 17-18 in Washington, DC (see July 2005 HR, p 10).

HIA urges all dispensing professionals who live in a Congressional district represented by a member of the Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee to contact their representative to ask them to co-sponsor HR414. Representatives who are currently not co-sponsors of the bill and need to hear from constituents are:

Rep Dave Camp (MI) – ChairmanRep
Eric Cantor (VA)Rep
Chris Chocola (IN)Rep
Lloyd Doggett (TX)Rep
Melissa Hart (PA)Rep
John Larson (CT)Rep
John Linder (GA)Rep
Mike Thompson (CA)Rep
Stephanie Tubbs Jones (OH)Rep
Jerry Weller (IL)

To find out if your representative is a Subcommittee member, visit www.congress.org. For more information, see the Aug 2005 HR, p 16


ITEM Endorses Hearing Aid Assistance Tax Credit
In related news, the Independence Through Enhancement of Medicaid and Medicare Services (ITEM) Coalition, a consumer-led coalition comprised of national and state-based consumer and provider nonprofit organizations, issued a press release on the importance of the hearing aid tax credit. HIA has worked with ITEM since its formation in 2003.