By Karl Strom

The 2013 American Academy of Audiology’s AudiologyNOW! convention held April 3-6 at the Anaheim Convention Center celebrated the Academy’s 25th anniversary. Although attendance was down compared to previous years, there was no lack of excitement or things to see.

At the AudiologyNOW! General Assembly, AAA President Deborah Carlson, PhD, and 2013 Program Chair Patricia Gaffney, PhD, summarized the wide array of offerings available to attendees, including the Cochlear Implant Specialty Conference, 59 featured sessions, 100+ learning modules, and an exhibit hall featuring over 190 companies and organizations. Additionally, the Academy Research Conference (ARC) hosted its all-day event, “The Moral of Binaural: Why and How Hearing Should Be Restored to Both Ears.”

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AAA President-elect Bettie Borton, AuD (left), and President Deborah Carlson, PhD (right), provided their perspectives on many different professional issues in a live podcast format conducted by AudiologyTalk’s John Coverstone, AuD.

One highlight of the General Assembly was an edited 10-minute 1988 film clip of James Jerger, PhD, a co-founder of the Academy and its first president, recorded at the eve of the first AAA convention at Kiawah Island, SC. In the video, Dr Jerger reviewed the history of audiology and warned that audiologists should  present a united front while being mindful of professional diversity, including dispensing, diagnostics, academia, and intraoperative monitoring. “We cannot afford the luxury of interprofessional warfare when the future of the entire profession is at stake,” says Jerger in the video that can be watched here:

“Twenty-five years later,” said President Carlson, “the Academy is nearly 12,000 members strong. We must be precisely that: 12,000 members speaking in concert to advance the entire audiology profession. The Academy was a dream-come-true 25 years ago. It was established as our organization of, by, and for audiologists. We must continue to embrace the concept that our founders recognized, supporting what we have created. The Academy must be the sole voice of the audiology profession.”

This was followed by a live podcast interview of Carlson and AAA President-elect Bettie B. Borton, AuD, by AudiologyTalk podcast host John A. Coverstone, AuD. Their discussion ranged from reimbursement, to continuing education, to outcome-based standards of practice. Borton emphasized the need for effective advocacy by the Academy and its members, legislative initiatives at state and regional levels, and contributions from members for these efforts. The podcast can be accessed at:

The keynote speaker at the General Assembly was Jack Uldrich, a global futurist and best-selling author who contends that new transformative technology originates from ideas that “jump the curve” in conventional thinking—and require us to “unlearn” our previously held beliefs about how things work. As examples related to our industry, Uldrich points to the VA’s use of teleaudiology (see the October 2012 special edition on teleaudiology) and software apps that are being widely applied in all medical fields, including a $199 electrocardiogram that can be administered via a smartphone. Uldrich says audiologists will need to unlearn many traditional notions about their profession, the industry, and their customers.

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Jack Uldrich, an author and speaker on future trends, addressed the General Assembly about the need to “jump the curve” in addressing new technology.
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Dr Carlson (left) presented Presidential Awards to Gail Whitelaw, PhD. Also receiving President’s Awards were Kathy Foltner, AuD; Joseph Smaldino, PhD, and James Jerger, PhD.


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 Academy honors. During the convention, the Academy honored six prominent audiologists for their exceptional contributions to the field. The James Jerger Career Award for Research in Audiology was presented to Christine Yoshinaga-Itano, PhD, for her seminal contributions in the areas of universal newborn hearing screening research. Laura Ann Wilber, PhD, received the Academy’s Distinguished Achievement Award; Louise Hickson, PhD, was presented with the International Award in Hearing; Cathy Henderson Jones, MS, was honored with the Humanitarian Award; Don Henderson, PhD, received the Career Award in Hearing and Balance; and James Curran, MS, was recognized for his pioneering audiological work in industry by being presented with the Samuel F. Lybarger Award.

Newly elected leadership. Erin L. Miller, AuD, a clinical faculty member at the University of Akron, will succeed Dr Borton as president-elect on July 1, when Borton becomes president. New board members at large, announced in February, include Shilpi Banerjee, PhD; Jackie L. Clark, PhD; Antony R. Joseph, AuD, PhD; and M. Samantha Lewis, PhD.

AN2014. Next year’s 2014 Audiology-NOW! Convention will be held March 26-29 in Orlando, Fla. For more information, visit