World's largest gathering of audiologists convenes in Nashville

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Hearing health care was on center stage this past week, when American Academy of Audiology (AAA) 2018, the world’s largest gathering of audiologists, convened April 18-21 in Nashville, TN. The annual conference, which celebrated the organization’s 30th anniversary this year, is an opportunity for audiologists to share ideas and communicate about the latest technologies, thus moving the field forward.

Health care futurist Jeff Goldsmith, Ph.D., gave attendees a look at what’s to come through his keynote presentation, “A Glimpse into the Future of Audiology and Health Care.” Goldsmith is a renowned lecturer on health policies, emerging technologies, and more. After his speech, Goldsmith joined AAA leaders and industry representatives to discuss “Current Trends in Audiology.”

Educational sessions were held on a number of timely topics, including over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, which are closer to reality, thanks to the recently passed Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017. Currently, the FDA is developing regulations for OTC aids for mild to moderate hearing loss. Earlier this year, AAA released guidance for audiologists, titled The Audiologist’s Guide to Hearing Aids, PSAPs (Personal Sound Amplification Products), Hearables, and OTC Devices.

Making its debut at the event was the new app “hearScreen USA,” a collaborative venture of AAA and hearX Group. HearScreen USA is a mobile comprehensive hearing screening application that was first developed in South Africa, but will soon be available in the U.S. If you show signs of hearing loss, the app will refer you to the closest audiologists in your area who subscribe to the service. This app is free to consumers, and takes roughly three minutes. According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), about 15 percent of American adults have some trouble with hearing and can benefit from the use of a hearing aid.

Within the exhibit hall, close to 200 companies showed off their newest technologies in the hearing field. Next year, the conference will be held in Columbus, OH, March 27-30, 2019.