Washington, DC — The Hearing Industries Association (HIA) 2012 meeting featured presentations by government officials, a marketing expert, representatives of allied hearing health organizations, and more. In addition, HIA members elected two new board members and reelected 4 current members.

The HIA meeting opened with a presentation by Amy Lynch, BridgeWorks, a company that specializes in generational communication. She discussed the various challenges related to encouraging people with hearing loss to obtain amplification at an earlier age, especially as similar messages resonate differently from generation to generation. In addition, representatives from other major hearing industry organizations made presentations to review their regulatory efforts and/or programming plans.

The meeting also included a presentation from Srinivas "Nandu" Nandkumar, PhD, Chief of the ENT Devices Branch, United States Food and Drug Administration. He reviewed the current status of FDA’s regulation of hearing aids including the classification of wireless hearing aids, mail-order and Internet sales of hearing aids, and the Agency’s regulatory concerns related to the unrestricted direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing model for selling hearing aids.

Nandkumar also discussed the Agency’s position in relation to the regulation and marketing of hearing aids versus personal sound amplifier products (PSAPs), and fielded numerous questions from attendees regarding the Agency’s view of the DTC on-line hearing aid model and increasingly aggressive marketing efforts by sellers of PSAPs.

Also during the meeting, Lucille Beck, PhD, United States Veterans Administration, provided a comprehensive update of the VA’s Hearing Aid Program, with a focus on the continued growth and expansion of that program, as well as the VA’s emphasis on top quality technology and forward-looking, innovative, and veteran-focused service. She noted that the VA Audiology program handled 134,000 veterans per month, and treated over 756,000 unique veterans in FY2011, which represented a 10% increase from FY2010. The program also employed 920 clinical audiologists in FY1011, a 6% increase over FY2010. She also reviewed the VA’s expanding efforts related to telerehabilitation and teleaudiology.

New Board of Directors

  Left to right: Randy Raymond, Peer Lauritsen, Carole Rogin, Jake Haycock,
Jeff Taylor, Todd Murray, Robert Tong, Jerry Ruzicka, Scott Davis, and Mike Orscheln

The HIA meeting also saw the election of two new board of director members, and the reelection of four others whose terms were expiring in 2012.

Scott Davis from Siemens Hearing Instruments and Jake Haycock of Widex USA are the two newly elected members. Todd Murray of GN ReSound, Mike Orscheln from Phonak, Randy Raymond of Rayovac’s Spectrum Brands, and Jerry Ruzicka from Starkey Hearing Technologies were re-elected to new 2-year terms.

The new board members rejoin Peer Lauritsen of Oticon, Jeff Taylor of Sonion, Robert Tong from ON Semiconductor, and Gordon Walker of Knowles Electronics, who continue on the board with terms that extend through 2013.

SOURCE: Hearing Industries Association Member News