Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Audiology has an identity crisis. The situation is the result of a lack of consumer awareness and understanding about audiology, what it is, what it offers, and how it can positively impact a consumer and their quality of life.
The mission of Think Audiology is to stop merely talking about the need for audiology awareness and actually do something about it, through the creation of consumer and audiologist resources.

Think Audiology has two connected, yet separate, offerings and approaches to the awareness issue.  First, Think Audiology has launched a consumer website and mission to bring attention to the research based evaluation and treatment of hearing, tinnitus and balance conditions and the role audiologists play in assisting the consumer in their journey. The site offers basic information about a variety of audiologic and vestibular conditions and treatment options and provides consumers with unbiased, step by step guidance and resources on how to best address their concerns and their condition. This site is can be viewed at The site focuses on ALL conditions in our skillset, not just hearing and hearing loss. Many colleagues, including Cliff Olson, AuD and Brian Urban, AuD, have contributed to the Think Audiology materials.

Second, Think Audiology has created a set of “ads” or images that audiologists can use in their social media and print marketing campaign pieces. These professionally designed ads were created specifically to address all aspects of audiology, not just hearing and hearing aids. The goal is to create a grassroots national audiology awareness campaign and movement. We can accomplish this when audiologists all over the country use the same ads and images in their marketing communications during the same date or window of time.  Think Audiology will create images for specific awareness initiatives (such as Better Speech and Hearing Month, Healthy Aging Month, Audiology Awareness Month, etc.)  and an “Awareness” calendar.  We will then suggest the use of certain images or themes for your marketing communications during specific days, weeks or months.  We will begin our calendar on June 1, 2019.  At this time, all of these materials will be provided at no charge to audiologists and audiology practices.

Think Audiology has a few terms of use.  They include:

§  The hashtag (#thinkaudiology) or the Think Audiology logo will be on every image.  The reason for this is simple: we want to consistently expose the public to the word “audiology”. Many of our business names and marketing strategies do not include the word nor specifically address the profession.  One of the primary goals of the Think Audiology initiative is to change that, one ad, image, blog post, or interaction at a time. We, truly, want folks to Think Audiology.
§  Think Audiology owns the rights to many of these custom designed images and the Think Audiology logo and hashtag. These ads and images cannot be used by manufacturer owned practices or hearing aid dispenser practices. The movement is the promotion of audiology. Use by corporate owned entities and non-audiologists is incongruent to the primary goals of the initiative, which is to promote audiology awareness and the scope of practice of an audiologist. We believe our professional success lies in the practice of audiology, not just hearing and hearing aids.

Ascending Audiologists, who shares our audiology awareness mission, will be our partner in managing access to the Think Audiology DropBox account.  You will need to join Ascending Audiologists before you can access the Think Audiology portal. Think Audiology membership in Ascending Audiology is free of charge. You can access Ascending Audiologists and Think Audiology ads and images at Please contact Think Audiology or Ascending Audiologists for more information.

For questions or to learn more or participate in the Think Audiology initiative or movement, contact Kim Cavitt at

Monday, June 3, 2019

Do The Right Thing

In the past week, I also read a great editorial piece by one of audiology’s true gentlemen, John Greer Clark. You can read it at Threatened Autonomy.  Dr. Greer-Clark makes some excellent points that audiologists must take heed to before it is too late!  Federal governmental bodies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Health and Human Services (HHS) and state entities such as licensure, insurance and consumer protection boards, departments and committees will act, in the form of regulations, if we fail to swallow our pride, change our ways, and consistently practice evidence based audiology.

We KNOW, based upon a preponderance of the evidence AND patient survey results that:
  • Use of real-ear measurement use leads to improved patient performance and satisfaction,
  • Telecoils continue to play a huge role, especially as more and more public and private facilities get looped, in patient performance and comfort in difficult listening situations,
  • Aural rehabilitation significantly improves patient satisfaction, performance, and outcomes, both with and without amplification, 
  • Speech in noise testing provides a great deal of diagnostic and rehabilitative value to the patient and their outcomes, and 
  • Pre and post hearing aid handicap inventories, such as the Hearing Handicap Inventory for Adults or the Elderly (HHIA or HHIE), the Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit (APHAB), the COSI and the Characteristics of Amplification Tool (COAT) also, ultimately, lead to a better understanding of the patient’s needs and thus improved patient performance with amplification.

Yet, despite all we know, the numbers of audiologists who provide these services and options to the patient is startling small. The data speaks volumes.

We want patients to consider us as the experts in hearing care and hearing aids yet, time and time again, we do not all provide expert care.  This is one of the primary contributing factors to the disruption many of us are (or should be) most fearful of: the rise of governmental involvement in the hearing aid space.

We can fix this though and it is not expensive or difficult. It actually, may increase productivity, decrease returns for credit, and increase revenue. It is also something that most of us already know how to do.  All we need to do, every day, is practice to AUDIOLOGY to its highest, state defined scope of care and to the highest degree of evidence available. Period.  That is the secret sauce and the magic bullet to protect and grow our profession. We just have to kick it old school and actually do what I hope we were taught in grad school, not the habits we have taken on since.

There are folks out there, like Dr. Greer-Clark, Cliff Olson, AuD, and Michael Valente, PhD, among many others, who have been begging, pleading and guilting all if us into doing the right thing for our patients and, ultimately, for our profession for literally decades. While some are beginning to heed the call (because Dr.Olson will not refer to you otherwise), still others are lagging behind. Remember the old adage, “we are only as strong as our weakest link”? This is where audiology is. Unless everyone takes up the mantle of evidence based care, we will all be vulnerable to the threats surrounding us.  It is time, again, to band together for what is right! Who is with me?