D_Strom.jpg (8295 bytes)This issue of HR offers readers the first look at Knowles MarkeTrak VI results, compiled and analyzed by Sergei Kochkin, PhD. The MarkeTrak VI survey provides an excellent snapshot of where the field of hearing instrument dispensing is and where it is heading. There is good news and bad news. For example, market penetration is up 2% from 1997, but this is largely due to increases in VA and mail order sales; reports of “in-the-drawer” hearing aids decreased substantially (11.7% in 2000 vs. 16.2% in 1997), but the incidence of physician hearing screening during physicals decreased to 14% (from 18% in 1984).

The hearing care market continues to change at a brisk pace (e.g., see the News items on p. 12) and the MarkeTrak series, which began in 1989, has been one of few gauges of consumer activity and satisfaction relative to hearing instrument use. Knowles Electronics should be commended for having the vision to initiate and continue this study for the past 12 years.

Kudos to the President’s Mom: Whatever feelings one may have about the men in her family, there can be little debate that former First Lady and current Presidential Mom Barbara Bush is one class act. As the keynote speaker of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Assn. (ASHA) convention in New Orleans, Mrs. Bush lent her support to audiologists and speech language pathologists, relating the goals of the two professions to her favorite causes: literacy and the need to read to children.

Although Mrs. Bush was obviously unfamiliar with the term “audiologist” (mispronouncing it on several occasions), her warm personality and intelligence carried the day. With two huge video screens showing her face in the kind of minute detail anyone would dread, she was at once self-effacing and noble. She said that she has presented speeches to dozens of professional groups—lawyers, chiropractors, dentists, etc. “I’ve even addressed a convention of plastic surgeons—I thought they were going to rush the stage!” She also revealed that George Sr. has a slight hearing loss but is, thus far, reluctant to do anything about it.

The audiology portion of this year’s ASHA convention—essentially a convention within a convention— featured a wonderful selection of presentations and seminars developed by Fred Bess and colleagues. The keynotes by Harvey Dillon (who gave the first annual Denis Byrne Memorial Lecture), Peter Dallos, and Arthur Boothroyd were reason enough to attend. HR will publish a review of the ASHA convention, along with a report on the International Hearing Society’s 50th Annual Convention, in next month’s issue. A look at the events from the Academy of Dispensing Audiologists (ADA) Convention, written by HR Publisher Pauline Davies, appears on p. 14 of this issue.

Thanks and Happy Holidays: With the new year closing in, the HR staff would like to express gratitude to all our readers, as well as our sponsors—the advertisers in this magazine who are responsible for delivering The Hearing Review to your door—for their support. Additionally, we thank the authors for the time they’ve spent in sharing their knowledge with the field. To everyone, we wish you a safe and happy Holiday Season.

Karl Strom