Audiology Advocacy: A Work in Progress
Many recent visitors to Washington, DC have been disappointed to find the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome covered in scaffolding as it undergoes a long overdue renovation. However, during their May 29th visit to Capitol Hill, a group of audiology students from the Ohio State University (OSU) remarked that the construction project was a perfect parallel to the advocacy efforts of the audiology community- both were a “work in progress.”
Advocacy does not follow one linear path. It requires continuous relationship building and frequent communication with elected officials and their staff. Issues change, new legislation is introduced, and new members of Congress are elected to serve in Congress. Audiology advocates must work to adapt to these changes to ensure that the profession remains well-represented on Capitol Hill, a principle that the students from OSU have learned firsthand.
The Hill day on Friday, May 29th marked the third consecutive year that students from OSU have planned, funded, and executed an advocacy trip to Washington, DC. Throughout the course of these three years, the students have developed relationships with key congressional offices including audiology supporter and Senate champion, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH). This year, they were able to meet with staff from the offices of Senator Brown and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), as well as a number of Ohio House offices.
The students advocated for the Hearing Aid Assistance Tax Credit Act (H.R. 1882, S. 353) and the reauthorization of the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act (H.R. 1344). They also discussed their concerns with and opposition to the Veteran’s Access to Hearing Health Act (H.R. 353) and the Veterans Hearing Aid Access and Assistance Act (S. 564). Additional information on each of these bills can be found on the Academy’s Legislative Action Center.
The Academy regularly hosts both students groups and groups of audiologists interested in visiting Capitol Hill. For more information, contact Kate Thomas, director of payment policy and legislative affairs, or check out the “Audiology Advocate” column in the July/August edition of Audiology Today. Click here for additional information on becoming involved in advocacy through the Student Academy of Audiology (SAA).