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Monday, June 27, 2016

The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) kicked off its 2016 National Convention in Washington, DC with a plenary session on recent groundbreaking reports issued by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the Academies) and the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology Policy (PCAST).

More than 1,200 people attended the convention, which was also a joint event with The International Federation of Hard of Hearing People (IFHOH). Leading the plenary session was the Academies' Committee Chairperson Dr. Dan G. Blazer, who gave a comprehensive account of their findings and recommendations on hearing health care affordability and accessibility.

"Our goal was to say, 'People who are purchasing services, including purchases for hearing aid, need to know what they're paying for,' and that's the bottom line," said Dr. Blazer on the recommendation to unbundle audiologist and hearing aid charges.

"What we love about this report is that the person with hearing loss is front and center, and it really makes hearing loss a primary health concern – and that's what we've been talking about for a long time," HLAA Executive Director Barbara Kelley told The Hearing Journal. "Now we have a report that is evidence-based to back us up and we are really happy about that."

Dr. Susan Graham discussed the implications of the PCAST report, including the recommendation to modify FDA guidelines to allow over-the-counter "basic" hearing aid sale.

"Within the FDA, they have a lot of differing opinions about these issues – just as the audiology community has a lot of different opinions," Dr. Graham said. "But having the public speak up is always helpful."

Much of the PCAST report recommendations were sounded off in the Academies report.

"I think it's rather amazing that two very independent groups came to very similar conclusions," Dr. Blazer said. "These reports have the potential to have the legs to move if there is willingness to work together."

"There are oppositions from audiologists who are afraid of change in the business model and afraid they will lose their patients," Dr Graham told The Hearing Journal. "But they will have to change."

The two reports also stressed the importance of boosting access to hearing aid technology and personal sound amplification products.

"Our convention goers are people who want to learn about technology. They want to use amplification. They are motivated. They want to stay in the hearing world and they will do anything to help themselves hear well," explained Director Kelley. "We want to educate everybody and we hope to be able to take the lead in seeing that these recommendations be implemented."


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The American Academy of Audiology (AAA) released a statement regarding the Zika virus outbreak and its potential impact on hearing health.

The Academy said it hearing loss due to the disease could occur at birth or acquired later.

"Much like cytomeglovirus and other pathologies, it is crucially important to identify hearing loss through infant hearing screening or preschool and school-aged screening programs for all infants and children who may be at high risk for hearing loss as a consequence of Zika virus disease," AAA said in a press release.

The concern of potential risks is targeted for the infants born of mothers who were or could be during pregnancy. 

Learn more about the Zika virus: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/ 


Friday, March 18, 2016

The Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) is already gearing up for its annual conference in November.

They recently announced Michael H. Cohen, Esq., and Karl Mecklenburg will deliver keynote presentations at AuDACITY 2016.

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Mr. Cohen is an attorney and writer who counsels leaders in medicine, health care, and wellness. The Academy calls him the go-to speaker for businesses and organizations bringing disruptive products and services to market.
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Mr. Mecklenburg is a former National Football League (NFL) athlete who's appeared in three Super Bowls. His resume also includes author and speaker, and he delivers stories that are humorous and inspiring, according to the Academy.

For more information on ADA's annual conference, visit http://www.audiologist.org/events​​

Thursday, March 17, 2016

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The Hear the World Foundation awarded Sarah Webster as its Judith Gravel Fellowship in Pediatric Audiology recipient for 2016-2017.

Ms. Webster is a fourth-year AuD student at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, and will complete the fellowship in the Department of Otolaryngology at UNC Chapel Hill. She has a special interest in the delivery of pediatric audiology services to Spanish-speaking families and is focusing her Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) project on the development of a Resource Guide in Spanish for families with newly diagnosed infants and young children.

The Hear the World Foundation created the fellowship in 2010, and named it in memory of the late Judith Gravel, PhD, who was internationally renowned for her expertise in pediatric audiology, contributions to clinical research, and dedication to the advancement of educational opportunities. The fellowship is awarded each year to a fourth-year AuD student whose externship is completed at UNC Hospitals with a focus on audiological management of infants and young children with hearing loss.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Researchers from the HEARing Cooperative Research Center (HEARing CRC) in Australia recently completed testing all 5-year-olds in the Longitudinal Outcomes of Children with Hearing Impairment (LOCHI) study and are on their way to completing their 9-year-old assessments.

The LOCHI study has so far found that infants with hearing loss who are fitted with hearing aids and cochlear implants as soon as possible have better language and learning abilities. The study is in its 11th year and has assessed more than 400 children with hearing loss at 6 and 12 months, and again at 3, 5, and 9 years. All children are from New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland. Male participants make up 54 percent of the study, and 25 percent of participants have additional disabilities. Thirty-five percent of children have moderate hearing loss, 29 percent have profound hearing loss, 20 percent have severe hearing loss, and 16 percent of participants have mild hearing loss.          

An essential part of the LOCHI study is to relate how children with hearing loss perform on the tests when compared with children who have normal hearing, according to LOCHI's website.

Some of the tests researchers use do not have normal comparison data, and some tests were produced and normed here in the United States. For these reasons, the team has a sub study running at the same time as LOCHI, testing children with normal hearing on the LOCHI test battery. The same team that test children on the LOCHI study conduct the sub study assessments to ensure the tests were administered exactly the same way.

Assessments for both studies take place in schools, kindergartens, at home, or at hearing centers, just like the LOCHI assessments.

The LOCHI study is a joint endeavor between the National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL) and HEARing CRC, and is led by NAL's Teresa YC Ching, PhD.

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