What This Hearing Aid Wearer Learned At An Audiology Conference

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A Unique Opportunity

I was lucky to present recently at the American Academy of Audiology’s annual convention in Nashville held April 18-21, 2018. You can read about my presentation here. It was a fascinating experience to attend an audiology conference, not as an audiologist, but as a patient. It was interesting to attend the various educational sessions for the audiologists, listen in on the latest product launches from the hearing aid manufacturers, and walk the expansive exhibition hall to explore new and innovative products for people with hearing loss. I am so glad I attended.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

Positive take-homes from the AAA conference

1. Audiologists are genuinely concerned for our welfare. There were many sessions describing the details of patient-centered care in attempts to provide more personalized and effective hearing care for people with hearing loss. These talks were well attended and numerous questions were raised.

2. Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing devices are slowly being accepted. While there seemed to be push-back from some audiologists when the OTC hearing aid concept was first floated, most sessions at AAA 2018 seemed to regard OTC as a done deal. Attention was focused on how to best integrate OTC hearing aid wearers into an audiology practice, rather than rejecting the initiative entirely.

Click here to read more positives on Hearing Tracker. 

Negative take-homes from the AAA conference

1. Limited hearing assistance was offered. Few sessions were captioned or had listening assistive technology available. This was not surprising since the audience did not likely include many people with hearing issues, but making the options available would have shown respect for the people who did need them.

2. Poor communication habits were on display. At many of the sessions, questions were asked without using microphones and presenters did not repeat these questions before answering them. This is fairly typical at large meetings, but I had hoped for better from professionals whose job is focused on improving communication.

Click here to read more negatives on Hearing Tracker. 

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16 thoughts on “What This Hearing Aid Wearer Learned At An Audiology Conference

  1. Shari,

    It’s so ironic and sad that there weren’t better accommodations for HOH/deaf people at the Audiology convention.

    Kudos to you, for attending and for presenting on a subject that is very dear to me…the PATIENT’S perspective.

    I can’t help but wonder…were any of the audiologists hearing impaired?
    If so, what did they do, or say, about the fact that accommodations were not made for HOH/deaf people.

    I suggest that you consider attending the speech pathology convention, which is usually held in Autumn.

    Speech pathologists would derive great benefit from what you say about how to best accommodate the needs of HOH/deaf people.

    Congrats on this and on all that you do, to advocate and to build awareness of the needs of people like us.!!

    • Hi Ronnie
      I think some of the hearing impaired audiologists started a petition about it to improve access for next year so that is good news. Thanks for the suggestion re the speech pathology conference. I will look into it.

  2. I found this report interesting, too. In my 15+ years as a hearing aid user and 5+ years as an HOH advocate, I can say that communications ‘best practices’ are not significantly practiced at most audiology offices I’ve visited–that is, receptionists don’t face the consumer while talking, even audiologists make the mistake of talking with their back to the client while walking down the hall. It’s ridiculous to have to remind the audiologist that one is hard of hearing!! ALSO, in my experience, working with about 4 audiologists over that time, I found that at least 2 of them were HOH themselves–late onset–so, they were not drawn to the business initially because of their own experience.

  3. All your comments are very interesting. I was born with a hearing loss in both ears and have been wearing hearing aids all my life. Over the years I have seen a steady growth of hearing loss awareness. I have also seen and spoken to numerous Audiologist over the years and I can tell you a good Audiologist from those who are pretty bland. I have met good ones who will do everything they can to help, not shove you out the door after you have purchased a hearing aid from them. We at The Hearing Loss Association of America are doing everything we can too to bring understanding and awareness to hearing people and those with hearing loss. I have been for years educating the public and hearing professionals on effective & best practices of communication. We must always educate people what our world is like and also do our part to eradicate the stigma that is still there.

  4. Very nice article posted. Really appreciated content and information about hearing loss. This kind of articles also give strength to people to move on from this kind of situations. A well written article.
    Thanks for this useful information in this article. Keep posting more and more.

  5. Shari – Thank you for your insights on this. Assistive technology is technology can be overwhelming for a large number of HA users. Our advocates, mainly audiologists, need to be more patient-centric and proactive in enabling the hearing impaired to achieve the best benefits of the technology.

  6. Interesting observations, Shari. I attended a masterclass for audiologists recently. I gave two presentations and listened to those given by others. I was thrilled to find the room well looped until it became clear (or rather unclear) that speakers who kept looking at their presentations on screen were turning away from the microphone. This meant I only heard parts of what they were saying. I actually ended up using my Roger Pen to combat this problem. I too have had audiologists call my name and then turn to walk away without checking that I have actually heard. We have an uphill battle to educate the medical profession in general – including audiologists.

  7. I have been wearing heating aids in both ears for over ten years. My latest pairs are blue tooth ready and have all the latest tech advances. I tell you, it’s nothing short of annoying. The batteries hardly last before needing to be changed, the tech interferes with the sound quality often getting quieter when my iPhone is picking up a message
    I wonder if any of these matters were addressed at the meeting. All I want is to hear better. The other additions just add to cost ( mine were nearly $6000) and are not that important. I can watch TV with CC Don’t need hookup
    I would like to attend the next annual convention. Can a non audiologist go?
    Eileen Feldman LCSW

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