Staff Standpoint | December 2020 Hearing Review

What a year. And you can take that however you wish! Many of us are not shedding a lot of tears to see 2020 fade into the rear-view mirror. However, there was no shortage of news, exceptional articles and ideas, and events to report about in hearing healthcare. Although picking our favorite Hearing Review articles seems sometimes akin to being asked to name your favorite child, below are a few of the best “must-read articles” and special features we published in 2020.

The Tevye Phenomenon: Why One May Be Ambivalent About Using Motivational Engagement Tools. By Michael A. Harvey, PhD, ABPP, and David Citron, PhD (Jan 2020 HR). Too many hearing care professionals resist the use of motivational engagement tools which seek to change patients’ attitudes about their hearing loss. As the Fidder on the Roof‘s Tevye can tell you, change can be good—and even necessary—for all parties involved.

How to Give a Better Powerpoint Talk. By James Jerger, PhD (Feb 2020 HR). Dr Jerger, who has presented hundreds of audiology sessions and sat in on multiples more, provides some basic tips for making a better talk.

Competing in the New Era of Hearing Healthcare, Part 3: Differentiating the Practice with Product and Technology (Feb 2020 HR).By Robert M. Traynor, EdD, MBA (Feb 2020 HR). The use of innovative products and technologies in a hearing healthcare practice is essential for survival—and it is expected by patients.

Well-Hearing is Well-Being (March 2020 HR). By Charlotte Vercammen, PhD, Melanie Ferguson, PhD, Sophia E. Kramer, PhD; Markus Meis, PhD; Gurjit Singh, PhD; Barbra Timmer, PhD; Jean-Pierre Gagné, PhD; Huiwen Goy, PhD; Louise Hickson, PhD; Inga Holube, PhD; Stef Launer, PhD; Ulrike Lemke, PhD; Graham Naylor, PhD; Erin Picou, PhD; Sigrid Scherpiet, PhD; Barbara Weinstein, PhD; Angela Pelosi, MAuDA. The authors propose a model of well-being that would be easy to use in clinical audiology practice and considers the domains of socio-emotional, cognitive, and physical well-being as core dimensions of well-being.

Hearing Review’s three surveys above showed how hearing care practices were responding to and weathering the Covid-19 pandemic and helped hearing care practice managers and industry understand the rapidly changing dispensing landscape and their options during this distressing time.

7 Tips for Audiologists Responding to the COVID-19 Health Emergency (April 2020 HR). By Kim Cavitt, AuD. Dr Cavitt provided some excellent advice as the COVID-19 virus made its profound impact on hearing healthcare.

MAY SPECIAL ISSUE: COVID-19: Your Patients and Your Practice (May HR). Articles included HR’s Covid-19 Impact Survey #2, an interview on practice cash-flow management with Dan Quall, MS; an article on the same topic by Brian Taylor, PhD, and more.

How Do Medical Masks Degrade Speech Reception? (May HR) By Alexander Goldin, PhD, Barbara Weinstein, PhD, and Nimrod Shiman. Our most popular article online in 2020 and widely cited in the popular press, this data showed that each type of medical mask in this study essentially functioned as a low-pass acoustic filter for speech, attenuating the high frequencies (2000-7000 Hz) spoken by the wearer by 3 to 4 dB for a simple medical mask and close to 12 dB for the N95 masks.

JUNE SPECIAL ISSUE: OTC Hearing Devices (June HR, guest edited by Brent Edwards, PhD). A terrific resource of issues on OTC, with contributions from Dr Edwards and Melanie Ferguson, PhD about hearing aid rejection and opportunities; a look at who are the best candidates for self-fitting hearing aids by Elizabeth Convery, PhD; new opportunities posed by the OTC marketplace for hearing care professionals by Todd Ricketts, PhD; and the two new big technology trends to watch out for by Bose’s Andrew Sabin, PhD.

Real World Evidence on Gain and Output Settings for Individuals with Mild-to-Moderate Hearing Loss (July 2020 HR). By Thomas J. Tedeschi, AuD, Christine Jones, AuD, and Elizabeth Stewart, AuD. Based on the audiograms of over 28,000 adults, this study shows that commercially available hearing aids programmed according to parameters typical of those used for individuals with mild-to-moderate hearing loss yield output and gain levels that are well within the recommended limits (110 dB SPL output and 25 dB gain) specified by a recent Consensus Paper issued by AAA, ADA, IHS, and ASHA.

What Is “Normal Hearing” for Older Adults and Can “Normal-hearing Older Adults” Benefit from Hearing Care Intervention? (July 2020 HR) By Larry Humes, PhD. A great article that points out how our standards for identifying hearing loss may be lacking and shows why self-reported hearing difficulties remains one of the strongest predictors of hearing aid uptake and use—further reinforcing the need for professionals to move beyond the pure-tone audiogram during hearing evaluations.

How to Use Teleaudiology Technologies in a New Setup or in an Existing Office (Aug 2020 HR). By Bopanna Ballachanda, PhD. The Covid-19 crisis also placed a new and critical spotlight on telecare. Dr Ballachanda provided a sampling of some of the options for enhancing your teleaudiology capabilities.

Using autoREMfit for Hearing Aid Fitting and Verification: Evidence of Accuracy and Reliability (Aug 2020 HR). By John Pumford, AuD, and H. Gustav Mueller, PhD. There is no longer any question about the value of real-ear measurement in fitting hearing aids. Increasingly, new ways to automate and make REM easier and more efficient are being developed, and this study is a great example of its utility.

An Interview with Michael Valente, PhD: Considerations after 45 Years in Audiology (Sept 2020 HR), By Douglas L. Beck, AuD. Some terrific stories, information, and opinions from the retiring audiology researcher/clinician legend.

Maintaining Consumer Protections for All Hearing Aids (Oct 2020 HR). By Bridget Dobyan and Sara W. Koblitz, Esq. As the FDA considers regulations for OTC hearing aids, it faces at least 5 big issues, including how federal preemption of all the various state laws that help protect consumers will be handled.

Whisper: A New Subscription Hearing Aid with Big Brains for Hearing Care (Nov 2020 HR). The first major new hearing aid specifically for fitting by HCPs since 2003, Whisper has been developed by an impressive group of AI, Silicon Valley, and hearing care executives and features an external brain and some new thinking for approaching hearing loss.

PSAPs, OTC and Self-fitting Hearing Aids, ACHIEVE, and More: An Interview with Nicholas Reed, PhD (Nov 2020 HR). By Douglas Beck, AuD. If you follow hearing science, you will inevitably read about Nicholas Reed, PhD, and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins who have been involved in research about PSAPs, OTC devices, as well as cognition and hearing loss. Here is a great interview about their ongoing work.

Happy Holidays!

As 2020 comes to a close, the staff of The Hearing Review would like to thank all of our esteemed contributors—as well as our editorial advisors, advertisers, sponsors, and readers—who provide invaluable input into the content of each issue of HR. Happy Holidays!

Karl Strom

About the author: Karl Strom is editor in chief of The Hearing Review and has been reporting on hearing healthcare issues for over 25 years.