Douglas L. Beck, AuD, speaks with Dr. Goodman of the Audiology Awareness Campaign about “Listen Up America, National Hearing Screening Week and volunteering to work with America’s best and brightest high school students in their career choices.
Academy: Hi, Kathy. Thanks for your time this morning!
Goodman: Hi, Doug, my pleasure. Thanks for your interest in the Audiology Awareness Campaign (AAC).
Academy: Happy to re-visit the AAC—it’s been quite a while since I was on the Board of Directors…perhaps 10 or 12 years ago! Kathy, please tell me, what is the AAC?
Goodman: The AAC is a consumer awareness campaign geared at educating the public about audiology and direct consumers to see an audiologist for their hearing care. The campaign was established in 1994 in collaboration with five national audiology organizations; the American Academy of Audiology, the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, the Educational Audiology Association, the Military Academy of Audiology, and the Academy of Rehabilitative Audiology.
Academy: And if I may, let me add that initially the AAC was actually up and running (thanks to the ADA and AAA) for legislative and political awareness reasons, and then changed over to a consumer awareness orientation, which remains the primary goal—for almost 20 years.
Goodman: Right. And we are a 501-(c) 3, so the AAC is a not-for-profit foundation, representing audiologists nationally to educate the public about the value of hearing care. I have had the privilege of serving as chairperson since its inception.
Academy: That’s incredible! Your dedication to the AAC is admirable!
Goodman: Thank you. We have accomplished so much but there is still a lot of work to be done. And we welcome all audiologists to participate in our efforts.
Academy: I know the Academy has a number of resources for May Is Better Hearing Month on their site, please tell me more about what you are doing in May?
Goodman: The AAC is organizing the fifth annual “Listen up America, National Hearing Screening Week ®” from May 14-18. It’s a week-long event occurring in the middle of May, which as you know is “Better Hearing Month,” to promote opportunities and raise awareness about hearing loss and hearing loss prevention—and to promote treatments that improve the quality of life for people with hearing loss.
Academy: And who is participating in the program?
Goodman: Audiologists across the country can sign-up through our Web site to participate. The campaign sends out camera ready material for the audiologist to promote the event locally. We are very proud that the Audiology Awareness Campaign was featured in 781 online informational articles and 63 newspaper articles in 2011 alone. Consumers will contact the AAC through the Internet or the hot-line telephone number, to find an audiologist in their area performing free hearing screenings during Listen Up America Week. So it’s very simple and straight-forward.
Academy: And then the audiologist’s office schedules the patient for a free screening?
Goodman: Exactly, we are trying to direct consumers to see an audiologist for their hearing care. Hopefully audiologists will schedule the screenings during the designated week. Of course, if the timing doesn’t work, they can schedule the screening at a mutually convenient time.
Academy: That makes perfect sense. What can you tell me about the definition of a free screening?
Goodman: That’s a great question. We try to be clear that these are simply “pass-or-fail” screenings, they are not diagnostic tests and they’re totally free.
Academy: So the audiologist may just present pure tones at a specific screening level (such as 25 or 30 dB HL) and then tell the patient pass or fail, based on the screenings?
Goodman: Yes. That’s the whole idea. We encourage audiologists to register their office, hospital or clinic to be part of this event. Just call (800) 445-8629 or visit the site to sign up.
Academy: And then you also have many cities in which you’re looking for audiologists to speak on behalf of the AAC? Please tell me about that.
Goodman: Thanks for asking. The Audiology Awareness Campaign has been coordinating audiologists as speakers at the 30 National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine conventions each year for over 10 years. We actually need audiologist volunteers right now for Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Raleigh-Durham, Washington DC, and Houston.
Ten thousand high school seniors attend these forums every year. This is America’s best and brightest students who are interested in going into medicine.
Academy: So, how do students get to attend these forums?
Goodman: Students are recommended by their science teachers and there’s a minimum score they must achieve on their PSAT exam—so they’re very bright young, science-oriented students, and our volunteer lecturer/audiologists can really make a big difference in their career choice. If an audiologist would like to volunteer, they can contact us at 800-445-8629.
Academy: How long have has the AAC been doing these lectures?
Goodman: Since 2002.
Academy: And is there a script?
Goodman: Well, not a script exactly, but we do give the volunteers power point presentation, sound samples, and key points to address, so we prepare them and we help provide the core concepts and key points. We send out free earplugs and educational booklets compliments of the AAC to distribute to the students.
Academy: And the presentations run about 75 to 90 minutes?
Goodman: Yes. Well, the presentations may actually run about 30 minutes, but the question and answer sessions may run an additional hour. The students ask you insightful questions about every aspect of our field. It is a truly rewarding experience to educate and inspire these students. We have had over 44 volunteer audiologists over the years speak at these forums and many request to do it again each year.
Academy: Fantastic. What a great opportunity to impact young minds and to help recruit audiologists for the future. Kathy, you’ve done some amazing things with the AAC. Thanks for your dedication and leadership.
Goodman: My pleasure Doug. Thanks for your interest in the AAC.
Kathy Landau Goodman, AuD, is the chair of the Audiology Awareness Campaign.
Douglas L. Beck, AuD, Board Certified in Audiology, is the Web content editor of the American Academy of Audiology.