In lieu of this year’s convention, the International Hearing Society is planning to hold its IHS Virtual Conference to take place in late June/early July, and has scheduled its 2021 Convention to take place in San Diego on August 12-14, 2021.

The International Hearing Society (IHS), Livonia, Mich, has announced the cancellation of its 2020 convention due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. With government limits on group gatherings, health concerns for our attendees, exhibitor and sponsor recommendations, the uncertainty of airline travel, the possibility of an additional resurgence of COVID-19, and the economic impact of a fall event on the Society, IHS reports that its Board of Governors made the difficult decision to reschedule the 69th Annual IHS Convention & Expo from this October, to August 12-14, 2021 in San Diego at the Town & Country Hotel (the same hotel slated for this year’s event).  

“We made this decision after much deliberation and sincere thought, and concern for the well-being of all of our customers,” said IHS President Todd Beyer, ACA, BC-HIS. “Our annual convention is a homecoming of sorts for members and non-members alike. While we won’t be gathering in person this year, we have some wonderful things in the works to bring all of us together in a different way.”

IHS Virtual Conference Announced

IHS may have moved its 69th annual celebration, it reports that its staff and leadership have already laid the groundwork for a dynamic IHS Virtual Conference to take place in late June/early July. The event will deliver up to 12 CEUs and feature the same high-level caliber of speakers and engagement that customers have come to expect from IHS events and webinars, says the organization. It plans to release details about the event soon.

While this will be the first Virtual Conference series for IHS, it isn’t the first time the Society has held a virtual event with multiple speakers. In April, nearly all of the live events practitioners usually attend to earn continuing education credits had been cancelled. IHS responded quickly to this need by holding a complimentary half-day virtual event where attendees learned from thought leaders like Keith Darrow, PhD, and others, and received up to 3 CEUs for free. 

According to the Society, the response to this first-ever IHS half-day virtual event was overwhelming. Within 24 hours, all 500 virtual seats had been claimed. Within 1 week, another 600 professionals—both hearing aid dispensers and audiologists—had signed up to receive the event recordings. More than 1,000 CEUs have already been issued, and professionals can still sign up to earn 3 free CEU credits until May 31. IHS is building on the success of this event to create a new conference and monthly programming.

“Professionals are looking for ways to not only earn the continuing education credits they need, but also remain sharp during a widespread lockdown,” added Beyer. “They want to connect with their peers and prepare themselves to get back to business full-time. IHS has everything ready to help them do that.” 

IHS Membership Meeting to be Held Online in the Fall

In addition to the IHS Virtual Conference, the Society will be providing opportunities each month to connect with customers through Zoom discussions and Facebook videos. The IHS Annual Membership Meeting and other events usually offered during the live convention will be held virtually in the fall.

“Our goal is to build upon the sense of community that is experienced each year at our Convention,” said Beyer. “Learning from one another and sharing experiences is how we enrich our lives and contribute to something greater than ourselves — it’s how we build a meaningful Society whose sole focus is the interests of hearing aid dispensing professionals.”

This comes on the heels of the cancellation of another important convention on the hearing care calendar; last week, EUHA announced that it is postponing its 2020 Congress which is traditionally held each October in Germany.