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Hearing Health Matters: Interview with David Kirkwood

Hearing Health Matters: Interview with David Kirkwood

August 01, 2011 Interviews

New blog “Hearing Health Matters.” David Kirkwood, Holly Hosford-Dunn, Wayne Staab, Marshall Chasin, Ray Katz, Alan Desmond and more.

Academy: Good morning, David. It is always a pleasure to speak with you.

Kirkwood: Hi, Doug. Thanks for the invitation.

Academy: My pleasure. I know many of the readers have been waiting to find out what you’re up to. Thanks for agreeing to this interview.

Kirkwood: I have to admit, I’m not used to being on this side of the interview, but I’m glad to be here.

Academy: Great. David, please tell me what you’ve been up to?

Kirkwood: As you know, Doug, I was the editor of The Hearing Journal for the last 20 years.

I left The Hearing Journal at the end of 2010 and was looking for a new and exciting challenge, something on the cutting edge. After discussing different opportunities, my colleagues and I decided to create a new audiology-based blog, different from anything out there, and something that provides material that might interest and reach a larger and more diverse audience. After lots of discussion, we started “Hearing Health & Technology Matters,” which can be viewed at www.hearinghealthmatters.org.

Academy: Excellent. And so I guess the name itself has two meanings?

Kirkwood: Yes, it does. It includes any matter or topic related to hearing health, and of course there’s the more obvious interpretation—that hearing health does, indeed, matter. Our target audience is all those to whom hearing health matters.

Academy: Please tell me the difference between a blog and a Web site?

Kirkwood: Good question. The key points are that a blog constantly changes, often daily, and is interactive with its readers. A web site remains essentially the same over time, with perhaps a little modification now and then. By contrast, a blog site changes constantly as writers and readers interact and “create” content. I guess you could say the blog is more like a meeting or a party than a Web site. Plus it allows us to reach around the world quickly and inexpensively, so everyone can join in the party.

Academy: Is there a specific goal for Hearing Health Matters?

Kirkwood: The goal of our blog is to have a constant flow of new and relevant information from our editors including Holly Hosford-Dunn serving as our editor-in-chief. Holly will write primarily about economics as it relates to hearing health care and to the industry.

Wayne Staab, who was executive director and president of the American Auditory Society for many years, will write “Wayne’s World” based on his perspectives and observations from 40 years in the profession.

Marshall Chasin will be writing quite a bit about hearing aids and hearing care for musicians and music lovers.

Ray Katz will be writing about his experiences and recent encounters with hearing professionals across the country.

Robert Traynor will be writing “Hearing International.” As you know, Bob has lots of connections and insight about international matters related to the profession and industry.

Judy Huch has been in private practice for a long time, and she’ll be sharing her insights and some of her secrets to building a successful private practice.

Alan Desmond will be writing the “Dizziness Depot,” which addresses diagnostic and rehab and treatment issues related to balance disorders.

Fred Cohen, an attorney, will be writing on the intersection between hearing loss and civil, criminal, and constitutional law.

I’m in charge of Hearing News Watch, which keeps readers up to date on breaking news related to hearing. As the blog evolves, we’ll be adding more regular contributors who will focus on additional subjects.

Academy: Sounds like you’ve got a great group of authors. I know most of them and their professional work and writings have been outstanding. Of note, Holly’s “trilogy” series of books with Ross Roeser and Mike Valente are a “must read” in audiology. Alan’s vestibular text is wonderful and Marshall never seems to run out of interesting and insightful observations. Seems to me grouping these people all in one blog must be a lot like herding cats—but clearly the output will be stellar.

David, one thing everyone is going to want to know is how is the blog funded?

Kirkwood: Yes—great question. Well, at the moment, the writers/collaborators own it and we’re looking for sponsors and advertisers. We feel confident that as our audience continues to grow advertisers will want to join us. A few companies are already supporting our endeavor.

Academy: Very good. If you were to encapsulate the difference between Hearing Health Matters and the other blogs out there, what would you say? In other words, do you have a specific niche that has not been previously addressed?

Kirkwood: Unlike many blogs and e-publications, which are owned by large publishers or other companies, or by foundations or professional and advocacy organizations, Hearing Health Matters is owned by the founders. That allows us to be fiercely independent. Another thing that makes us unique is that we offer a constant flow of expert information of value both to hearing professionals and to hearing-impaired consumers and their families. And, along with being a source of information, Hearing Health Matters provides a shared forum where practitioners and consumers alike can express their ideas and opinions. One section of our blog, Hearing Views, is set aside for this. As editor of Hearing Views, I’d like to encourage your readers who have a comment or viewpoint related to any aspect of hearing to share it with us.

Academy: David, you mentioned earlier that the content would change often. How often do you expect to update the blog?

Kirkwood: The blog will likely change every day or two. All our section editors are committed to writing a new piece every week, but they don’t necessarily post them on the same day, so new ones appear on several days during the week. Plus, I often post reports two or three times a week on Hearing News Watch. So, our blog provides an ongoing flow of new information.

Academy: Thanks for your time, David. I wish you and your colleagues all the best and I’ve enjoyed reading through the blog this morning.

Kirkwood: Thanks, Doug. I appreciate your interest in our blog. And I hope you and your readers will subscribe. It’s easy to do right on our site.

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