Members of the Hearing Industries Association (HIA), Washington, met recently to elect new leaders for the Association and set the organization’s course for the year.

HIA Chair Jerry Ruzicka, Starkey, addressed the hearing aid companies and dispensing organizations’ leaders at "The Consumer Connection," noting that consumers are the integral entity in hearing services around which  manufacturers and hearing professionals need to come together.

In a program that reflected the theme, attendees heard from Brenda Battat, Hearing Loss Association of America and Alex Graham, AG Bell Association for the Deaf. Lucille Beck, PhD, chief of audiology and
speech pathology at the Veterans Administration, highlighted the scope of audiology services for veterans. HIA also welcomed a special guest, Valentin Chapero, PhD, president of the European Hearing Instruments Manufacturers Association.

Ruth Day, PhD, director of the Medical Cognition Laboratory at Duke University, provided an expert’s view of how consumers view advertising of medical devices and drugs, noting that the current ads for listening
devices look like hearing aid ads to many with hearing loss. Eric Mann, MD, PhD, deputy clinical director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health at the FDA, acknowledged the devices and advised that the Agency will issue a guidance document in the near future that will likely outline the differences between these devices and regulated hearing aids.

Board elections held at the meeting re-elected the following directors for 2-year terms on the HIA Board: Peer Lauritsen, Oticon; Ron Meltsner, Widex; Christi Pedra, Siemens; Ian Roane, Sound Design Technologies; Robert Tong, ON Semiconductor; and Sam Westover, Sonic Innovations. Mike Orscheln, Phonak, was elected to a first term on the board. Ruzicka; Westover; Jeff Taylor, Pulse Engineering; and Cathy Jones, Phonak, continue as officers of the Association.

[Source: HIA]