Let Me Hear From You
Get Involved with National Audiology Awareness Month and National Protect Your Hearing Month!
By Patricia Kricos, PhD
One of the reasons that October is one of my favorite months is the fact that it is the month when we go out of our way to promote awareness of audiology protection of hearing to consumers. My hope for this year’s awareness campaigns is that all of our members will find time to participate. There are so many opportunities for getting involved, but with busy practices and deadlines, it may seem daunting. Here are some strategies for supporting these two essential campaigns.
First and foremost, Academy staff and the Public Relations Committee have made it easy for busy practitioners to get involved. Go to the Academy Web site to access National Audiology Awareness Month resources. You will see awareness resources for children and adults, along with posters, PowerPoint presentations, press releases, public service announcements, and Web tools. The hard work has been done for you, and all you have to do is use these resources in your community. It’s that easy, plus it is effective, and yields significant value for you and the consumers who live in your community
If you are in a private practice or medical center, consider getting your staff, student externs, and even your favorite patients a shirt embossed with the word Audiology, or visit the Academy Store online and splurge for an audiology navy-hooded sweatshirt for yourself. Another great tool for increasing awareness year round is to put a How’s Your Hearing: Ask an Audiologist license plate cover on the back of your car, also available at the Academy Store.
It honestly does not take much of your time for awareness activities. The key? Don’t miss any opportunity to promote audiology, the Academy, the effects of untreated hearing loss, and the valuable services provided by audiologists for hearing and balance care. A few more suggestions:
- Announce these awareness campaigns on your Web site.
- Call local civic organizations such as Sertoma, Kiwanis, Lions Club, etc., and volunteer to give a talk to them (remember, your PowerPoint slides are already available for you on the Academy Web site).
- Ask your mayor and governor to offer proclamations for both awareness initiatives.
- Grab your Turn It To the Left CD and talk to middle and high school students about the dangers of noise.
- Tell your patients about the Academy’s consumer Web site: www.HowsYourHearing.org.
- Drop by your senators’ and representatives’ offices and leave your business card and a note regarding how important audiology is to the safety, quality of life, physical and mental health, occupational success, etc., of their constituents.
- Purchase an audiology mug from the Academy Store to give to your representatives, and include a copy of the October/November JAAA article written by Zapala et al. It provides compelling data to show that direct access to audiologists would not pose a safety threat to Medicare beneficiaries who are experiencing hearing problems.
Who will benefit from your audiology awareness efforts? Not just audiologists and the profession, but also people with hearing and balance problems, loved ones, employees of people who have hearing and balance problems, and students trying to determine what health-care profession they want to enter, to name just a few. I hope you will raise awareness of the importance of audiology and of hearing protection. Please drop me a line to let me know what some of your creative awareness activities were.