The Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) had as their 2012 Convention theme, “Phoenix Rising: Taking Audiology Above and Beyond,” launching a bold new initiative designed to advance the profession of audiology through title revisions in the Social Security Act. The 3-day convention was held at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix from November 8 to 10 and featured more than 30 educational seminars and an exhibit hall representing over 60 companies.

“Audiology has now reached a crossroads,” said ADA President Eric Hagberg, AuD, in his General Assembly address to members. “It is time to keep looking forward and expanding, or suffer the decline and stagnation in the face of the changing healthcare landscape…I predict that 20 years from now, when audiologists look back at the 2012 ADA convention, it will be with the same reverence and sentimentality that we remember the historic 1988 ADA conference on professional education, which called for audiology to move to a doctoral level and became the impetus for the AuD degree.”

Hagberg announced plans for the Academy to redirect its original goal of patient direct access without physician referral to now focus ADA’s advocacy efforts on amending Title XVIII (18) of the Social Security Act. This represents a substantial expansion of ADA objectives, in that it would provide for the treatment of audiologists as physicians for purposes of furnishing audiology services under the Medicare program, to provide for a broadened scope of audiology services available for coverage under the Medicare program, and to enable Medicare beneficiaries to have their choice of a qualified audiologist, according to the Academy.

Dubbed the “18 by 18 Campaign” (or “18×18”), the initiative begins in earnest with the 113th Congress on January 3, with the goal of achieving the title revisions in a 5-year timeframe (by 2018). According to Hagberg, 18×18 would:

  • Allow for Medicare coverage of medically necessary covered treatment services such as vestibular rehabilitation, cerumen removal, and aural rehabilitation provided by an audiologist practicing within their state defined scope of practice.
  • Eliminate the need for the physician order required for a Medicare beneficiary to receive coverage of medically necessary covered audiology and vestibular services
  • Allow audiologists the autonomy to make clinical recommendations and practice the full scope of audiology and vestibular care as allowed by their state license and as dictated by their educational requirements and competencies.
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A panel discussion about some of the most pressing issues in hearing healthcare, titled “Moving Beyond the Magic 8-Ball: Forecasting the Future of Audiology and the Hearing Industry,” took on issues that included PSAPs, disruptive technologies, retail consolidation among manufacturers, and reimbursement issues. Panelists included (l to r) Jerry Yanz, PhD, Hansaton USA; Dale Thorstad, Marcon Hearing Instruments; Kim Cavitt, AuD, Audiology Resources Inc; Victor Bray, PhD, George S. Osborne College of Audiology; Carole Rogin, Hearing Industries Association (HIA); and moderator and featured ADA keynote speaker Ed O’Neil, PhD, MPA, University of California San Francisco.

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Ed O’Neil, PhD, presented the keynote presentation, “Creative Strategic Success in a Changing Health Care World: Challenges and Opportunities.” His talk explored the drivers behind health care change—consumers and consumer needs—and keys for positioning businesses and professions for success in the face of rapid change.

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Victor Bray, PhD, (left) dean of the George S. Osborne College of Audiology, was presented with the ADA’s Joel Wernick Award by ADA President Eric Hagberg, AuD. The award recognizes outstanding educational contributions within the profession of audiology and hearing science.

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The Leo Doerfler Award, which is presented to an audiologist who has demonstrated outstanding clinical services in the community throughout their career, was presented by Hagberg to Cathy Kurth, AuD, who owns Audiology and Hearing Aid Center in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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Hagberg presented the ADA’s Hearing Industry Leadership Award to Starkey Hearing Technologies and the company’s executive vice president Brandon Sawalich for encouraging best practices, business excellence, and supporting ADA in the promotion of private practice audiology for students.


During the convention, Nancy Green, AuD, was installed as new ADA president, and Brian Urban, AuD, was announced as president-elect. Other ADA officers include Angela Morris, AuD, secretary; Kim Cavitt, AuD, treasurer; and members-at-large Rita Chaiken, AuD, Paula Schwartz, AuD, and Pamela Benbow, AuD.  

The 2013 ADA Convention will be held November 7-9 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs, Fla. For details, visit