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Friday, May 19, 2017

The cochlear implant manufacturer MED-EL USA ( is hosting a children's competition, Ideas 4 Ears, to find future inventions for people living with hearing loss as part of the celebration of May's Better Hearing and Speech month. MED-EL invites children 6 to 11 years old to create a piece of artwork showcasing their inventions to improve the quality of life for people living with hearing loss. One winner will be chosen from the United States, and he or she will be awarded a $1,000-deposit into a college savings plan of their choice. He or she will also be entered into an international competition for a grand prize of a trip to MED-EL's global headquarters in Innsbruck, Austria. The winner and an adult chaperone will have the chance to tour the research and development factory and meet with inventors from the company, including co-founders Ingeborg and Erwin Hochmair.


The deadline to enter is Sept. 3, 2017, and the winner will be announced on Inventors' Day, Nov. 9, 2017. Parents and children interested in Ideas 4 Ears can find more information at

Thursday, May 18, 2017

​​Trophy on fabric.jpgThe National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in collaboration with the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA), is calling for nominations for the Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award™. The award seeks to recognize notable contributions in hearing loss prevention and innovation to improve hearing health practices at work. Nominations are due on June 2, 2017 for third-party nominations and July 15, 2017 for self-nominations. The awards will be presented at the NHCA Annual Conference on February 16, 2018 in Orlando, FL.

This annual recognition has been conferred since 2009. Nominees are assessed using key performance indicators and a review process designed to evaluate hearing loss prevention programs. In-person assessments will also be done to review the award finalists. The review panel includes internationally-known experts. Individuals and organizations, including business with novel hearing conservation activities, are encouraged to get involved. For more information, visit the award website at

Friday, May 12, 2017

Phonak ( is starting a pilot program with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to explore opportunities to use telehealth in real-life audiology settings and simultaneously improve veterans' access to remote fitting. Phonak's smartphone app VA HearAssist allows hearing aid wearers to connect with their audiologists through the internet. The app is connected to the hearing aids via Bluetooth, and links the hearing aids to an audiologist's fitting software through this connection. Audiologists can then directly access the hearing aids and adjust their settings in real-time without having to use an additional intermediary device. They can also give advice to their patients through video conference calls.


VA HearAssist will explore base line clinical trials at three VA facilities in Cleveland, Chicago, and Miami from this summer to the fall. If successful, the company will evaluate the app for private use. Phonak has worked with the VA on various projects regarding distance fitting, with the most recent one being the Technical Feasibility Study for Distance Support in 2012. This collaboration on VA HearAssist is made possible through Iron Bow Technologies, the company that provides IT services to the VA. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) has reintroduced the Audiology Patient Choice Act (H.R. 2276) to broaden Medicare patients' access to hearing care by removing existing barriers to audiology services ( This bipartisan bill, supported by Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Matt Cartwright (D-PA), will allow Medicare Part B patients with a suspected hearing or balance problem to go directly to an audiologist without having to wait for an order from a medical doctor. Patients will also be able to choose from qualified providers for Medicare-covered hearing care. In its testimony before the Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) said Medicare Part B patients are shuffled back and forth between providers in an inefficient process because audiologists are only recognized under Medicare Part B as diagnosticians, even though they are licensed to provide Medicare-covered rehabilitative services. "[This bill], if enacted, will alleviate many of these barriers within the Medicare system, and allow Medicare Part B beneficiaries to have the same access to audiology care as Medicare Advantage beneficiaries and most Americans do," the ADA said. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Cochlear (​/connect/us/home) has launched its annual Million Ear Challenge to raise hearing loss awareness in May, which is also Better Hearing and Speech Month. The company is inviting people to share what they would miss if they woke up in a world without sound through social media with the hashtag #MillionEar. Tony Manna, president of Cochlear Americas, said, "With hearing loss becoming more common as younger people lose hearing due to noise exposure and as baby boomers age, efforts like our #MillionEar Challenge are even more important to raising awareness."

The goal of the initiative is to reach 2 million people in 31 days. When that target is met, Cochlear will celebrate by donating to Hearing Charities of America (HCOA) and the Cochlear Implant Awareness Foundation (CIAF) to help support people with hearing loss. Steven Murphy, executive director of HOCA, said many people live in isolation because of hearing loss, which separates them from people around them and negatively affects their quality of life. "In a majority of cases, technology can solve this problem," Murphy said. "The support from Cochlear's #MillionEar Challenge will help Hearing Charities increase the number of people who receive life-changing hearing assistive devices.

​Cochlear will announce their charitable donation on June 1 through social media. Additional activities surrounding the Million Ear Challenge can be found on the campaign's website (