President's Message: AuDacity 2018: Worth Waking Up For

Author: Alicia D.D. Spoor, Au.D.

My husband is an early bird. He enjoys being the first one awake in the house and the quiet time in the morning. The lack of interruptions or daily “emergencies,” and slower pace are his ideal. On the other hand, I think mornings should begin at 10:15 a.m. and that no good work is done until 8 p.m. or later. For those who attended AuDacity in Orlando, you saw my morning enthusiasm and forced smile first-hand each day. For those who were not in attendance, whether unable to attend AuDacity or simply sleeping in, a colleague noted that I resemble Bender from Futurama.

Someone who is a great morning person, or fakes it better than me, is Dr. Victor Bray. His tireless work to advance the profession of audiology is never-ending. Dr. Bray’s passion was evident on the first day of the AuDaCity convention as he led the first AuDaCity Symposium: Co-management of Comorbid Diseases. The breadth and depth of topics from Monday’s course was a highlight for many in the audience and received significant praise at convention and online. In fact, conference surveys rated the Symposium has the best course this year. As mentioned in the last Audiology Practices, this issue will focus on the Symposium’s highlights and provide a summary of the information: not only why audiologists should be co-managing patients with comorbidities, but also, and perhaps more importantly, how to manage patients with information that can be put to practice tomorrow.

Another highlight from the AuDacity convention was the Town Hall to discuss the future of the Audiology Patient Choice Act (APCA). The open discussion format allowed all attendees to receive an update from Prime Policy, ADA’s lobbying group, and debate the merits for continuing with the legislation for another year, another Congressional session, until it is passed, not at all, and everything in-between. Over $170,000 was pledged at AuDacity via the Town Hall, tuning fork auctions, and wrist bands. If you were unable to attend the meeting, a webinar in November was recorded with the important information and is available at www.audiologist.org. To add your financial support to APCA, donate at http://chooseaudiology.org/donate; monthly donations can also be arrange by contacting ADA headquarters.

Prior to the convention, volunteer audiologists were paired with a student attendee. Thanks to the generosity of Starkey Hearing Technologies, the student scholarship recipients were able to experience the convention and meet with their mentors each day. I doubt I’m alone in my amazement that today’s students seem to be excelling at a more rapid pace and showing professional aptitude that took many of us years to build. The student attendees were amazing at the Town Hall meeting, each pledging $48.51- the total of the House and Senate bill numbers, to their future. As mentioned in my President’s speech, mentoring is how ADA hooked me back in 2004, and a key component of what brings me back to convention year after year.

As a night owl, I personally believe that the best education comes after the exhibit hall closes. The breadth and depth of information obtained from sitting with a group of professionals, and often students, and sharing successes and failures cannot be taught in a classroom. This same type of networking is happening on a regular basis with the ADA MasterMind groups. These MasterMind groups bring the best part of convention to each member involved and help each one of us succeed as an autonomous, independent professional.

Finally, as the year comes to a close, I’d like to take a moment to say a quick thank you (“Thank you!”) to all ADA members, the Agentis staff, and the companies that support our organization. I wish Dr. Ram Nileshwar the best as he takes the reigns as your ADA President in 2019.

Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!