Let Me Hear From You

Let Me Hear From You

March Madness 

I’m not talking about college hoops, but the National Football League. This should be the off-season but it appears that the NFL has taken leave of its senses: Tim Tebow has moved to the Jets after helping to turn the Denver Broncos around—thank you very much. Peyton Manning is no longer a Colt but now a Bronco—so much for taking off all that time to heal! The New Orleans Saints’ head coach and others are suspended/fined for supporting ‘bounties’ and of course it just wouldn’t be the off season without the perennial quarterback controversy that keeps Washington Redskins fans talking for months. This time it’s all about RG3, the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner—I’m sure he’s the one who will turn it around for the Skins in 2012, IF he’s available when the Redskins get their #2 draft pick.

What does this have to do with us? The unexpected and change. All year we have dealt with the unexpected and have had to deal with change in the field. We have been discussing for months and months, the impact of Internet sales of hearing aids (as well as personal sound amplification products masquerading as hearing aids) and online hearing testing. These issues are here and are part of our landscape for the foreseeable future. Although we are still investigating the legal and regulatory implications of all this and hope that patient safety and effective patient care reigns supreme, we have to deal with it now. We need to understand this delivery model for this component of the audiology scope of practice and we have to take ownership of this. Part of that ownership is to find ways to maximize patient engagement through consumer education, state-of-the-art practice, and congruent behavior.

Consumer Education
If our focus is on the patient, then we can’t go wrong. This focus aligns with our Preferred Future, to ensure that audiologists are known as the preferred health‐care providers for hearing and balance wellness. To attain this future we have to demonstrate that audiologists are the preferred providers, we can’t just say it and it will be so. We demonstrate that to the patients we serve by educating them about their condition and ensuring that the plan that is developed to manage that condition is individualized for them. We ensure that we focus on the benefits and expected outcomes of the treatment as opposed to the level of technology and its technical capabilities. Further, we develop outreach plans that communicate to the local community the benefits of the care provided by the audiologist and we communicate the real, tangible benefits of the comprehensive nature of the care we provide that focuses on the patient as a human being.

State-of-the-art Practice
In terms of state-of-the-art practice, we ensure that we remain abreast of the latest and greatest in practice delivery and cutting-edge research through participation in continuing education events—just like the recently completed AudiologyNOW! 2012. There were hundreds of hours of CEUs available through attendance at this international meeting of, by and for audiologists and the Academy has approved nearly 300 other continuing education events since the beginning of January. There is always some place to go to update our knowledge base in contemporary practice and the latest research.

Congruent Behavior
This is the “you are what you eat” section. Our congruent behavior is the professional code of conduct that tells the world we are the consummate professional in all areas. We are there for our patients and the public we serve and we are there for each other. We strive to build each other professionally and personally. This is not an easy feat for although we are competitors at some level (some more than others!) we all benefit from a strong, fortified front based on ethical behavior and ethical practice. There can be no higher calling.