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Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Salus University named Kathy Foltner, AuD, the Salus University Audiology Alumna of the Year, an award given to an alumnus who has made constructive contributions to audiology and to the University's Osborne College of Audiology.
Dr. Foltner is the founder and owner of AuDNet, Inc. and Foltner Consulting LLC, two national hearing health care purchasing organizations. She also teaches audiology practice management at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
She will accept her award at the Salus University open house during AudiologyNOW! on Wednesday, April 13.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Nadine Dehgan is the Hearing Health Foundation’s (HHF) newest chief executive officer, effective immediately, according to a release from the organization.
Most recently, Ms. Dehgan held executive positions with Canada's Brandon University and The Humane Society, also in Canada.
Her connection to hearing loss and tinnitus has familial roots. Her father has adult-onset tinnitus, her younger brother experiences hearing loss—though now wears hearing aids—and her daughter had painful, recurring ear infections that led to permanent hearing loss.
"I am excited to be joining an organization whose programs directly benefit and enhance the lives of my loved ones, as well as millions of individuals living with hearing loss and tinnitus," she said in the release.
Ms. Dehgan succeeds Claire Schultz, HHF’s outgoing CEO, who held the role for two years.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
By Alissa Katz
Those who use hearing aids have relatively the same cognitive level compared with those with no hearing loss, according to a new study published in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. (http://bit.ly/1MkiNho.)
The researchers, led by Hélène Amieva, a professor at the University of Bordeaux, France, followed 3,670 adults 65 and older over a 25-year period. They compared the trajectory of cognitive decline among older adults who were using hearing aids and those who were not, and found no difference in the rate of cognitive decline between a control group of people with no reported hearing loss and people with hearing loss who used hearing aids.
Hearing loss, however, was significantly associated with lower baseline scores on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) (β = -0.69, P <.001) and greater decline during the 25-year follow-up period (β = -0.04, P =.01) independent of age, sex, and education. Alternatively, subjects with hearing loss using a hearing aid had no difference in cognitive decline (β = 0.07, P =.08) from controls. The study doesn’t specifically document that hearing loss has a direct effect on cognitive decline, but it concludes that the mental and social consequences of a hearing loss probably mediate the relation. Improving hearing ability by using hearing aids or cochlear implants therefore reduces the negative mental effects of hearing loss and increases the ability to participate in mentally stimulating activities, thereby slowing cognitive decline.
Monday, August 24, 2015
By Alissa Katz
The Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) has formally requested a rescission of the approval for the International Hearing Society (IHS)’s National Guidelines for Apprenticeship Standards for hearing aid specialists. The program was certified by the U.S. Department of Labor in June.
“We have been working with counsel over the past several weeks, really since this was introduced, to investigate the legalities of this program as it relates to current state licensure and educational requirements,” said ADA President Kim Cavitt, AuD.
The Hearing Aid Specialist Certified Apprenticeship is a competency-based program designed to take two years and encompass 4,000 hours of training.
“It’s all about bringing more hearing aid specialists, expanding our profession because there are so many people who need to be served,” said IHS President Scott Beall, AuD. “Between audiologists and hearing aid specialists, we just don’t have enough.”
However, the ADA contends that the new effort encroaches on an audiologist’s scope of practice, Dr. Cavitt said.
“If you delve into this apprenticeship program, which we have, this apprenticeship program talks about cerumen removal, interpreting tests of middle ear function, determining candidacy for cochlear implants, rehabilitative and medical intervention, designing and modifying auditory equipment, providing aural rehabilitation, and providing tinnitus management. That is not the dispensing of hearing aids.”
Larry Eng, AuD, president of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), said the academy had reviewed the press release issued by IHS and commends the society for improving and standardizing education for hearing instrument specialists but also hopes the program isn’t an attempt for hearing aid specialists to broaden their scope of practice.
“The scope of practice for audiologists is much greater and requires a foundation in the anatomy and physiology of the hearing and vestibular system, neuroanatomy, acoustics, and psychoacoustics,” Dr. Eng said.
In an interview with The Hearing Journal before ADA’s official announcement of the rescission request, Dr. Beall said the apprenticeship program will not change a hearing aid specialist’s scope of practice. HJ emailed Dr. Beall after the announcement but has not gotten a further response yet.
“We are a subset of the broad range of competencies in audiology,” Dr. Beall said in the original interview. “We’re not looking to expand our scope of practice to encroach upon anything audiologists do that only audiologists can do.”
Dr. Cavitt said she was disappointed to hear this viewpoint from the International Hearing Society.
“I do not believe that any of the training programs that have been developed to date are equal to a bachelor’s degree and a three- or four-year doctoral program with 1,820 hours of clinical education. It’s just not commensurate.
“I firmly support their ability and their right to dispense hearing aids and to test hearing for the sole purpose of dispensing hearing aids. I do not believe they have any rights beyond that.”
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
By Alissa Katz
Photo credit: © iStock/mjunsworth
On May 21, U.S. Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Matt Cartwright (D-PA) reintroduced the Audiology Patient Choice Act (H.R. 2519), which would add audiologists to the list of physicians recognized by Medicare and eliminate the physician order requirement for audiological evaluations.
The bill, originally introduced July 31, 2014, came out of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA)’s 18x18 initiative, which calls for the amendment of Title XVIII of the Social Security Act by 2018 to allow for the changes included in the legislation.
H.R. 2519 won’t expand or add services to the Medicare program or modify an audiologist’s scope of practice, but it would authorize Medicare to reimburse audiologists for currently covered services that they are already licensed to provide. The legislation also won’t affect state licensure requirements for audiology practice.
“Medicare really has not kept pace with best practices for the delivery of hearing and balance care,” said Eric Hagberg, AuD, ADA advocacy chair, in an interview with The Hearing Journal (HJ) when Reps. Jenkins and Cartwright first introduced the bill (HJ October 2014 issue, p. 8).
“The healthcare delivery models of the future are being designed to ensure that every practitioner is working to his or her full scope of practice. It's so important that we do this so we achieve patient-centered care that is also cost-effective.”
The American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery (AAO–HNS) opposed the legislation when it was initially introduced, and the American Speech–Language–Hearing Association (ASHA) did not endorse it.
The Audiology Patient Choice Act has received endorsements from about 30 other state and national organizations representing audiologists and patients, including the American Academy of Audiology (AAA).
The AAA also is committed to the Access to Hearing Healthcare Act (H.R. 4035, S. 2046), which was introduced in February 2014 and would eliminate the physician order requirement for Medicare patients seeing an audiologist. This bill was endorsed by the ADA as well.
“We believe that the reciprocal endorsement of our respective legislative initiatives sends a strong message to our memberships, the audiology community at large, and members of Congress that the two associations have analogous objectives,” AAA President Erin Miller, AuD, previously told HJ (HJ January 2015 issue, p. 34).