Staff Standpoint | September 2018 Hearing Review

The International Hearing Society (IHS) and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) are about to hold their annual conventions. Both events provide an excellent opportunity for dispensing professionals to learn about new fitting and diagnostic techniques, technologies, and professional issues, while networking and gaining insights into what will be needed for continued success in our dynamic market. While still going strong, these two conventions have, for various reasons, seen some attrition in attendance. In my opinion, that means many dispensing professionals are simply missing out on a fantastic opportunity. These are two organizations where the independent entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, and where it is not hard to find a person willing to relate what’s working and what’s not working in their own dispensing business/practice.

Granted, many people cannot afford the time and money to belong to every organization or attend every annual state and national convention. Additionally, the advent of online CEUs has greatly diminished the practical necessity of attending conventions in the fulfillment of certification requirements. However, advocacy and involvement on behalf of your profession can be as important as updating your clinical skills, should one day you awaken to find that you do not have the appropriate professional representation for your profession. If this occurs, you run the risk of being powerless with few practical options, leading to situations that can greatly impact the quality of care for your clients—or your ability to make a living helping those clients.

Karl Strom_photo

Karl Strom, Hearing Review Editor-in-Chief

Whatever your opinion may be, one can point to many professional issues that have surfaced in the past 20+ years: the FDA’s proposed revisions to the Hearing Aid Rule, reimbursement issues, Internet and OTC hearing aid sales, ethical practice guidelines, best-practice protocols, direct access and the Audiology Patient Choice Act, etc. It’s possible that you may even think some issues adamantly endorsed or opposed by your own professional organization(s) are ridiculous. All the more reason to tell your organization’s leaders and fellow members what you think.

On the national level, organizations like IHS, ADA, the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) need your voice and vote of confidence/disagreement to propel them in the right direction. The truth is that the core of any organization is not defined by those who grace the stages of these events; the core is actually represented by the mass of people who support and underwrite the organization’s goals. The leadership of national organizations truly require grassrootssupport, financial assistance, and direction from their members. In fact, as with politics, if this type of interaction does not occur, things can go seriously adrift. Yes, the organization’s leaders deserve our praise, but they also need the proverbial “deafening silence” or outright “You gotta be kidding!” type of feedback, as well. As with national politics, there are relatively small fringe groups that can hijack policy.

On the state level, your support becomes even more critical, because state legislation and policies change much faster—and sometimes with little notice. Make no mistake about it: state hearing care organizations and licensing can have a major impact on how you practice and what you do for a living. The bottom line is dispensing professionals need to support these organizations with their mouths, their emails, their checkbooks, and—importantly—their bodies at annual conventions whenever possible.Major upcoming conventions include:

Sept 13-15 IHS Convention Glendale, Ariz
Oct 22-24 ADA Convention Orlando, Fla
Oct 17-19 EUHA Congress Hannover, Germany
Nov 15-17 ASHA Convention Boston, Mass
Mar 27-30 AAA Convention Columbus, Ohio

Finally, here’s a hot tip: If you’re ever seeking a truly international perspective where the majority of industry product launches take place, the European Union of Hearing Aid Acousticians (EUHA) holds an exceptional event every October in Germany. Wish to stick with English-speaking events? Give the Canadian Academy of Audiology (CAA), the British Irish Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (BIHIMA), or British Society of Audiology (BSA) a try.

Citation for this article: Strom KE. IHS, ADA, ASHA, EUHA: Showtime. Hearing Review. 2018;25(9):6.

Image:  © Belinda Wu |