IHS President Annette Cross, BC-HIS, addresses members during the Society’s Closing Celebration with hosts Tara Douglass and Don Tucker.
Events | IHS 2021 Convention
While it may not have been the largest, wildest, or even best-attended convention in the 69-year history of the International Hearing Society (IHS), there wasn’t one person Hearing Review spoke with who wasn’t happy they’d attended the 3-day event held August 12-14 at the San Diego Town and Country Resort—the first in-person event held by a US national hearing care professional organization since the pandemic began in March 2020.
An estimated 400 IHS members and industry representatives and experts gathered to learn about the latest in hearing care technology, as well as be updated on a wide range of topics that included hearing aids and cognition, the use of verification in best practices, tinnitus care, the connection of nutrition with hearing status, and new ideas in clinical documentation and business staffing strategies. Additionally, about 45 companies displayed their latest products and services in the IHS Expo Hall which also offered a range of activities, food and drinks, networking opportunities, and a silent auction.
Overcoming adversity and challenges to become a better person, practitioner, and business leader were consistent themes in Friday and Saturday’s keynote presentations of multimedia artist Phil Hansen, artist and car crash survivor Allison Massari, and filmmaker Brett Culp.
On Friday, the educational portion of the conference included the seminar, “Hearing, Listening, Cognition, and Amplification,” by Douglas Beck, AuD, of Oticon who emphasized that hearing and listening are two very different things that both relate to cognitive function, and he explained why it’s becoming increasingly important to test for speech-in-noise ability (see the special edition on this topic by Dr Beck in the January 2021 Hearing Review). John Pumford, AuD, of Audioscan presented “The Ethics of Engaging in Best Practices: Verification” where he showed why adherence to best practices and ensuring that both the hearing aid works properly (via a test box) and is fit appropriately for the individual patient’s hearing loss (via probe-mic verification) is an obligation of all hearing care professionals. Nicholas Pitt, EdS, VP of Business Development for Optimal Hearing in Georgia offered strategies for hiring, training and retaining top talent in hearing care offices in his seminar, “Rowing in the Same Direction: Creating a Scalable System to Grow Your Practice.” To round out the day, nutritionist Gina Worford provided data on the emerging links between dietary intake and susceptibility to acquired hearing loss. The IHS Membership Meeting (closed to the press) was also held on Friday, and the day concluded with a networking dinner in the Expo Hall.
Saturday opened with breakfast and networking in the Expo Hall, followed by two exceptional seminars. Wisconsin-based private-practice owner Samantha Sikorski, ACA, presented an overview of how to refer patients to an allied healthcare professional in your community while instilling confidence in your services in her seminar “Clinical Documentation for Hearing Healthcare Professionals.” Long-time private practice owner John Hoglund, ACA, conducted the seminar “Implementing Tinnitus Care Into Your Practice” which taught about the medical implications of tinnitus and the benefit of establishing professional relationships with audiologists, ENTs, neurologists, and psychiatrists, as well as strategies to practice when referring patients.
The IHS Closing celebration on Saturday evening, hosted by IHS Regional Governor Don Tucker and Director of Business Development Tara Douglass, highlighted members’ participation in the Society and service to the profession of hearing healthcare and hearing aid dispensing:
- Douglas Lewis, JD, PhD, AuD, MBA, was honored with the IHS Outstanding Professional Member Award for his wide range of work with IHS and NBC-HIS, as well as his dedication to educating hearing aid specialists nationwide.
- The Hearing Review Professional Leadership Award was presented by HR Editor Karl Strom to A. Frederick Goosen, MEd, the executive director of the Hearing Healthcare Alliance of New York who has been instrumental in the administration of the laws and regulations as part of the State Hearing Aid Dispensing Advisory Board, among many other activities in his almost 30 years of work in the profession.
- Michael Arndt was honored with the IHS Emerging Professional Award for his work in serving rural regions in South Carolina where some residents find hearing care difficult to access, as well as for being a vital member of the state’s membership chapter.
- The IHS Chapter of the Year Award was presented to the Florida Society of Hearing Healthcare Professionals represented by Stephen Sherbin, BC-HIS, for their work in helping to defeat a controversial amendment to Florida’s dispensing law that would have made mail-order hearing aids legal.