Audiologists attending Oticon Pediatrics conference in Washington, DC gather at the Senate Office Building for meetings with members of Congress from their districts.  (L-R, clockwise): Sheena D. Oliver, AuD, MBA; Alexandra M. Camacho-Luna, ScD, CCC-A; Sergine Pascal, ScD, CCC-A; Elizabeth Patterson, MS-CCC/A; Carol Ukstins, MS-CCC-A; Jennifer J. Czarnecki,  AuD, CCC-A. (Front, L-R) Christine Labenski MS – CCC/A, and Donna M. Goione-Merchant, AuD.

Pediatric audiologists from across the country reached out to members of Congress on key hearing-care issues during a knowledge-sharing weekend conference recently organized by Oticon Pediatrics, Somerset, NJ in the capital city.

The event was aptly titled More of What Children Need.

“Oticon Pediatrics shares a commitment with our valued partners in pediatric practice to optimize hearing care and solutions for the youngest and most vulnerable members of the hearing impaired population,” said Peer Lauritsen, president of Oticon Inc.  “We wholeheartedly supported their voluntary efforts to take advantage of the conference’s Washington, DC location to meet with members of Congress from their communities who make decisions that can have a profound impact on hearing health issues.”

The conference explored a range of advances in pediatric audiology counseling, technology, and research. Some 200 pediatric audiologists in private, clinic, and school settings participated in seminars and hands-on workshops, and more than 120 participated in office visits on Capitol Hill, providing information on legislation to reauthorize the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act and the Hearing Aid Assistance Tax credit legislation

Among the expert presenters were Eileen Rall, AuD, of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who provided insights into selecting pediatric technology that supports psychosocial development; Jane Madell, PhD, of New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, who spoke on using information from speech perception testing to strengthen planning technology, rehabilitation, and educational management decisions: and Rebecca Kooper, AuD, who offered guidelines on how best to support parents through the initial stages of a child’s diagnosis.

Highlights included an overview of the mission and work of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing by Alexander T. Graham, AG Bell executive director and CEO, and a panel discussion on advocating for patients led by Phil Bongiorno, senior director of government relations for the American Academy of Audiology.

Oticon Pediatrics has formed a partnership with the American Academy of Audiology Foundation (AAAF).  Through a gift-matching fund that will continue through October, the company aims to raise $10,000 to support AAAF pediatric audiology initiatives.