2013 HIA Meeting and Hearing on the Hill Are Models of Successful Collaboration to Advance Common Goals

Author: Stephanie Czuhajewski, ADA Executive Director

Collaboration was a key theme at the 2013 Hearing Industries Association (HIA) annual meeting, Amping Up the Dialogue, held on February 27th and the Hearing on the Hill on February 28th!

From kick-off to closing, there were tremendous opportunities for learning, networking and meaningful collaboration to advance common goals and shared initiatives within the entire hearing health care community. Representatives from the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), the A.G. Bell Association, the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) and the International Hearing Society (IHS) provided organizational updates to HIA members.

Guest speakers took the entire audience on an insightful afternoon journey. Speakers included Thomas A. Scully, former administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), who provided an overview of the current legislative and regulatory landscapes and Srinivas (Nandu) Nandkumar, Ph.D., Branch Chief, ENT Devices, U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), who provided an update on the Agency’s actions on internet hearing testing, personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), and direct-to-consumer hearing aid sales. Dr. Lucille Beck, Chief Consultant, Office of Rehabilitation Services at the Veterans Administration (VA) shared innovations and strategic initiatives in the VA’s audiology program and Jan Kihm, Principal with A2Z Marketing delivered a moving presentation on feedback received from focus groups that explored the consumer’s journey through hearing loss and treatment in 2012.

On February 28th, ADA leaders joined forces with HIA, HLAA, IHS and other hearing healthcare advocates for the 2013 Hearing on the Hill, to help raise awareness about hearing loss and to help raise legislative support for the Hearing Aid Tax Credit Act, which if enacted, would provide for a $500 tax credit for the purchase of a single hearing aid, or $1,000 (if two are needed), once every five years. The collaboration across professional organizations and industry on this issue broadened the collective hearing healthcare voice, raised awareness about hearing loss and the importance of treating it, and provided passionate and persuasive perspectives for legislators to consider. Nearly 50 representatives from industry and the allied professional groups participated in 108 meetings with legislators and/or legislative staff throughout the day. Each session was tailored to a specific member of Congress and designed to include their specific constituents.

Hearing on the Hill ended with a Hearing Health Forum & Reception sponsored by the Friends of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus, which includes support from 16 organizations including ADA. During the event, legislators and their staffs had the opportunity to participate in hearing screenings and MP3 player noise level testing.

The HIA meeting and the 2013 Hearing on the Hill prove that we are most successful when we are able to speak with one voice. Here’s to a collaborative 2013!