Leaders in hearing healthcare were recognized for their contributions to the field during this year's International Hearing Society awards gala, held during the 62nd Annual IHS Convention & Expo in Arlington, VA. Awards were given in the areas of advocacy, service, education, and leadership, including The Hearing Journal Joel S. Wernick Dispenser in Education Award, which was presented to Tammy Clark, director of training for Costco Hearing Aid Centers.
Ms. Clark was inspired to enter the field by her experience with her father, who was struggling to communicate with family and friends yet reluctant to have his hearing tested. She began to educate herself about hearing loss and the stages that lead to acceptance and action, and enrolled in the Hearing Instrument Technology program at Bates Technical College in Tacoma, WA, under the instruction of her first mentor, Allen Webb.
Between 2001 and 2006, Ms. Clark held every position in a busy hearing aid center, working as a non-licensed hearing aid attendant, hearing aid apprentice, licensed hearing aid dispenser, and hearing aid center manager. She became director of training for Costco Hearing Aid Centers in 2006.
In this role, she has standardized education across training sites, promoted best practices, and mentored hundreds of apprentices.
Ms. Clark also has volunteered on the IHS International Institute for Hearing Instruments Studies Committee for two-and-a-half years, recently contributing to the development of the Trainer Manual, the update of the Distance Learning for Professionals in Hearing Health Sciences workbook, and the improvement of the IHS practical exam.
The Dispenser in Education Award, which has been presented at each IHS convention for the past 20 years, is named for the late Joel Wernick, who held a PhD in auditory physiology from Stanford University and was a professor, researcher, and author.
ANNETTE CROSS HONORED FOR LEADERSHIP
Annette Cross, BC-HIS, was recognized for her work in advocating for hearing instrument practitioners with The Hearing Review Professional Leadership Award.
Ms. Cross began her career in hearing healthcare as a secretary, and was hooked. She went on to earn Board Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences.
She is now president and owner of Provincial Hearing Services in Nova Scotia, and holds a joint seat on the IHS Board of Governors and the Canadian Hearing Instrument Practitioners Society (CHIPS), the national Canadian organization under the IHS umbrella.
In addition, Ms. Cross dedicates her time and expertise in volunteering on hearing missions around the world.
JOHN HAMM RECOGNIZED FOR ADVOCACY
The James P. Lovell Advocacy Award was presented to John “Clell” Hamm, BC-HIS, for his ongoing efforts to advance the status and role of the hearing aid specialist in his state. He has served as the legislative chair for the North Carolina Association of Hearing Care Professionals for many years, working closely with the International Hearing Society in that role.
With support from his chapter and lobbyist Paula Hopper, Mr. Hamm has succeeded in getting four critical pieces of legislation passed since 2010, including an amendment to a children's hearing aid insurance coverage bill that added hearing instrument specialists to the list of accepted providers.
The James P. Lovell Advocacy Award is presented to an individual or organization who has made extraordinary achievements in advocating for those with hearing loss.
SERGEI KOCHKIN RECEIVES SERVICE AWARD
Sergei Kochkin, PhD, was presented with the Marylene Freshley Award by Bill Schenk, BC-HIS, chair of the National Board for Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences, in recognition of Dr. Kochkin's years of service and commitment to the hearing healthcare industry.
Dr. Kochkin was executive director of the Better Hearing Institute from 2004 to 2012, where he implemented programs to educate the public and medical profession about hearing loss, its treatment, and its prevention. He authored numerous publications on data from the 80,000-household MarkeTrak survey of patients with hearing loss and the hearing aid market, identifying and illuminating market trends, hearing aid adoption drivers, and factors influencing patient satisfaction and quality of life.
In addition, Dr. Kochkin designed and taught workshops for hearing health professionals on how to promote their clinical practices.
AND CHAPTER OF THE YEAR GOES TO …
The IHS Chapter of the Year Award was presented to the Texas Hearing Aid Association (THAA). Lori Cook, secretary of the THAA Board of Directors, accepted the award on the chapter's behalf. The award is given every year to the chapter that has made the most significant contributions to the profession and industry through chapter development, advocacy, public relations, and educational initiatives.
The Texas Hearing Aid Association hit national news this summer when members filed a class action lawsuit against Wal-Mart for selling hearing aids without a state license. (Read HJ's breaking coverage of the lawsuit on page 8http://journals.lww.com/thehearingjournal/Fulltext/2013/08000/Cover_Story___Dispensers_Hit_Walmart_with_Proposed.1.aspx of the August issuehttp://journals.lww.com/thehearingjournal/toc/2013/08000.)
THAA has quadrupled its number of members over the past 10 years, with its roster now standing at 402 members, or 62 percent of all hearing aid specialist licensees and apprentices in the state. The chapter also has made strides in the area of professional development and education, and is working toward providing online continuing education for its members.