President-Elect Nominee Video
Each nominee was asked the following question: Please comment on how the Academy’s objectives proactively position audiology for a successful future AND how will you personally contribute to achieving that vision.
Closed captioning is available.
Why are you interested in serving on the Academy board?
Serving on the American Academy of Audiology Board of Directors from 2017–2020 was one of the most fulfilling periods of my career. There were professional issues that were changing the trajectory of our field, and I wanted to be a part of both the decision-making process and the coordination of events in as much as they impacted the audiology profession. To that end, I helped to draft suggested protocols for submission to the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for over-the-counter hearing aids and I participated in advocacy to help move forward legislation that would assist with improved access to audiological services. Involving myself with the management of these issues allowed me to have a greater role in impacting our professional future. I am driven by that level of involvement.
It is with that mindset that has propelled me to pursue a second term on the Academy Board of Directors, this time in the role of president-elect. Many of the issues that I helped work on during my first term now impact audiologists more directly. I would love the opportunity to help manage the experience of the audiologists in our field with change and learn how to practice alongside them. The changes in audiology have created confusion and anxiety. I would like to help clarify, redirect, and mitigate any issues. With the field in a state of change, there has been a fracture amongst practicing audiologists. This has created division in our field, which has impacted our professional organizations. It is a goal of mine to bridge this fracture and to create more unity amongst audiologists, more respect for each other’s work, and an Academy with adequate resources for professionals in all settings.
Melissa E. Heche, AuD, ABA Certified, CH-TM, is the owner and director of New York Speech and Hearing—a private practice based in New York City that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of auditory disorders, tinnitus, and voice disorders. Treatment measures include amplification devices, aural rehabilitation, tinnitus management, and specialized voice therapy.
Dr. Heche is dually certified in audiology and speech pathology. She completed her doctorate of audiology at Salus University and earned dual master’s degrees (speech pathology/audiology) at Hofstra University. She holds a Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC) certificate as a professional supervisor in hearing conservation and is a certificate holder of tinnitus management (CH-TM) from the American Board of Audiology in Tinnitus Management.
Dr. Heche works in occupational hearing conservation and is a specialist in musician’s hearing health care, providing specific diagnostic and therapeutic solutions for musicians and fitting with appropriate musician products. She is a performing musician and a certified sound engineer with experience in live music venue sound systems. This experience has made her a resource for hearing health care in the music industry and has facilitated in depth work in hearing aid technology within the audiological field.
She is active with the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) organization, with whom she participates in lobbying events promoting early hearing conservation as a part of music education. Dr. Heche has worked with the Audio Engineering Society, providing support for hearing testing and musician/audio options.
Dr. Heche provides informational seminars on topics including: musicians’ hearing health-care issues, tinnitus, occupational hearing loss, hearing aid technology and hearing loss, and business practices. She has been published in national trade journals, discussing increased access to audiological services, noise-induced hearing loss, hearing aids, and musician’s hearing health care. She has recently been seen on affiliates of CBS, NBC, ABC, and cable syndicated news, discussing noise exposure, hearing loss, hearing aids, and tinnitus.
Using case studies, she is active in research involving tinnitus treatments and perceptive sound processing. In recent years, she has been studying the endocannabinoid system, how it relates to auditory and communication disorders, and potential nontraditional treatments.
Clinical experience also includes neurogenic speech disorders, head/neck cancers, tracheostomies/ventilators, and traumatic brain injuries. Practice settings include acute care, subacute care, and outpatient medical care.
Dr. Heche served a term as the secretary/treasurer on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Audiology from 2017-2020. She is also a member of the National Academies of Practice (inducted 2020), the National Hearing Conservation Association, Audio Engineering Society, National Association of Music Merchants, American Speech-Language Hearing Association, and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology in addition to local and regional organizations. Outside of professional organizations, she regularly lobbies on behalf of issues directly related to senior health care. She is licensed to practice audiology/speech pathology in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Florida.