California Deafblind Services

Audiology update

05/02/2011 10:26

Barbara Franklin, Ph.D., Certified and Licensed Audiologist

Below is my presentation from the California Deaf-Blind Services Annual Meeting held on April 27, 2011:

My overall impression of American Academy of Audiology (AAA) convention in Chicago two weeks ago was the increased size and scope of the exhibit area. There were lectures and demonstrations right on the exhibit floor.

I will present a little history here. Originally all audiologists belonged to the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA). There was a name change to the American Speech Language Hearing Association (also ASHA). A little over 20 years ago a new association was formed - the American Academy of Audiology (AAA). There were close to 8000 individuals, including international professionals and exhibitors, who attended this last convention. A highlight for me was the newly-developed Pediatric Audiology Certificate and the first exam was held preceding the April 2011 AAA meeting. Phonak and Starkey were strong supporters of this new certificate. It would appear that the tug of war between ASHA and AAA is tipping toward AAA. Audiologists who possess the Pediatric Audiology Specialty Certificate will probably become the primary referral destination for children with a hearing loss. It's about time it was officially recognized that children are not just short adults.

A highlight of the AAA convention is always the Marion Downs Pediatric Audiology lecture. This year's speaker was Dr. Karen Avraham, professor of the Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at Tel Aviv University in Israel. Her research is related to understanding genetic mutations responsible for hereditary deafness. Her team is active in the community and she is on the Board of “Na Lagaat” which is a theatre group of hearing-impaired and blind adults. One of the individuals who asked a question following her lecture was Dr. Charles (Chuck) Berlin. Dr Berlin is a world-famous researcher who is known for applying his research to clinical applications. He moved to Florida from New Orleans when his home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. His question was related to auditory neuropathy and afterwards he gave me his card. He was just appointed Clinical Coordinator of the Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorders Program in St. Petersburg, Florida. The essential point of his comments was that a cochlear implant could be used with a child with auditory neuropathy. He would be a good resource in this area.

My final comments relate to the Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA). BAHA3 is currently on the market and is much improved. The device is currently being worn on a soft headband for the pediatric population prior to implantation. The BAHA is being used increasingly with single-sided deafness, particularly with children.