HIA Restructures Itself
photoHIA secretary/treasurer Randy Raymond of Rayovac, immediate past chair Michael Jones of Unitron Hearing, and president Carole Rogin.

Miami Beach—The Hearing Industries Association (HIA) annual meeting focused primarily on the new restructuring of the organization, a task necessitated by the changing representation within the hearing industry in the wake of the last 2 years of consolidation.

photoJones (r) was thanked for serving as chair of the organization and presented with a crystal plate as a token of appreciation from HIA, presented by Paul Ericksen.

Much of the meeting and its 80 attendees were dedicated to the recommendations of the Restructuring Task Force (see News on page 8) relative to HIA’s new fee structure and its long-expected invitation to makers of implants and assistive devices to join the association. The meeting also featured presentations from important professional groups and organizations within the hearing health care industry. HIA members were presented with activity summaries by the major US professional organizations, including the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA), American Academy of Audiology (AAA), International Hearing Society (IHS), and Academy of Dispensing Audiologists (ADA). Additionally, Lucille Beck, PhD, of the Department of Veterans Affairs presented information on the VA’s dispensing activities, and where the VA is heading in terms of its data management and dispensing protocols.

photoSusan Main and Lisa Thomas of the Canadian Hearing Society revealed their new public education program.

John Olive, president of the Better Hearing Institute (BHI), provided information on BHI’s new Physicians Referral Development Program (see the February 2002 HR, page 26) that is targeted to reach 20,000 of the 240,000 private care physicians in the US during 2002. (For more information on the BHI program visit www.betterhearing.org.)

photoKim Ruberg presented information on hear-it.org, a one-stop information tool designed for a worldwide audience. The organization has been awarded several prestigious Internet-related awards and reports that it received 500,000 hits on its Web site during January.

Hear-it director Kim Ruberg says that his organization is striving to become the worldwide clearinghouse for consumer information on hearing loss. Hear-it is seeking to increase politicians’ and the public’s knowledge on hearing loss and the benefits of hearing instruments. (For more information, visit the Hear-it Web site at www.hearing-it.org.)

photoThe HIA annual golf outing brought out the best in light-hearted competitiveness. Photo courtesy of David Woodbury.

Additionally, Susan Main and Lisa Thomas, representing the Canadian Hearing Society, put on a lively demonstration of why the industry needs to “rebrand its products for the busy, not boring, and definitely not over-the-hill.” The two dressed to reflect what they believe are the stereotypes of older people with hearing loss, then proceeded to show members why it was vital to feature ads that “show Tom Cruise, not a senior’s cruise” (See article on page 40).

photoLucille Beck of the Department of Veterans Affairs reports that they are revisiting the patients from their recent large-scale study, which was reported in JAMA, to see if certain measures (eg, personality characteristics) might be involved with satisfaction ratings.