April 26, 2007

The American Academy of Audiology (AAA) announced its 2007 convention, AudiologyNOW!, drew more than 7,400 attendees to the four-day event in Denver.

Denver native Marion Downs, MA, welcomed attendees before the General Assembly and presented her perspective on the enduring need to treat hearing loss at a young age for optimal language development.

AAA Program Chair Sharon Sandridge, PhD, presented an overview of the convention and the convention’s Discovery Zone that featured  an opportunity for 200 children visiting the convention to have their heraing checked and an all-day hands-on workshop for K-12 teachers to learn more about noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus in children.

One of the general assembly highlights was a rap song about the dangers of noise exposure and loud music presented by 26-year-old Benjamin Jackson, a classically trained musician and Harvard graduate in linguistics. Jackson received a standing ovation and was called for an encore, accompanied by several “rap dancers” including Sandridge, AAA President Paul Pessis, and 91-year-old Downs.

Pessis spoke on the need for AAA membership to run an accrediting body in order to be an autonomous profession and to be truly member driven. The Accreditation Commission for Audiology Education (ACAE) is striving to become the sole accrediting body for audiology.

The topics of ethics, direct access, and many other issues were also addressed at the general session and will be detailed further in the full report that appears in the upcoming edition of HR.

Many excellent feature sessions and special presentations were offered during the convention. Eggermont, PhD, a leading authority in cortical processing, presented information on the effects of hearing loss on development and maturation of the auditory. Also, Walter Nance, MD, PhD, delivered the Marion Downs Lecture in Pediatric Audiology, “How Can Newborn Hearing Screening Be Improved?” Nance made the case that universal newborn hearing screening (UNHS) can be improved by including the use of universal molecular testing for four important causes of deafness. He emphasized that audiologists now play an expanded role in pediatric patient management.

Next year’s AudiologyNOW! Convention—the Academy’s 20th— will be April 2-5, 2008 in Charlotte, NC. For more information, visit: www.audiology.org.