In 2002, Friends was one of the most watched shows on television, the Euro became the official currency of the European Union, and flip phones were the latest in cellular technology. At the time, “social media” was a foreign concept, the smartphone revolution was on the horizon with the growing popularity of the Blackberry, and the American Academy of Audiology Foundation (AAAF) was formed. 

The inaugural AAAF Board of Trustees set the mission of the Foundation as promoting philanthropy in support of research, education, and public awareness in audiology and hearing science. The Foundation has successfully focused on research and educational initiatives over the past 14 years, awarding tens of thousands of dollars in grants and scholarships. 

Historically, the Foundation’s focus on public awareness initiatives has been limited. However, in much the same way the public has moved on from the days of flip phones to smartphones, audiology has evolved. Likewise, the Foundation is evolving its narrative to focus on public awareness of audiology, audiologists, and education on hearing and balance wellness. 

As trustees of the Foundation, we are often asked what efforts and initiatives are active to promote public awareness. There are many examples of education and research activities ranging from the Marion Downs Lecture Series in Pediatric Audiology to the New Investigator Grant in Hearing and Balance. In the past, the Foundation supported consumer education tools such as Turn It To The Left and the DiscovEARy Zone. The Foundation will build on these successes and promote a contemporary public awareness of all things audiology. The Foundation’s support of education and research in hearing and balance remains a priority. 

The Foundation is responding to the requests of Academy members and is actively developing plans to promote public education and awareness of audiology, and hearing and balance wellness. The Foundation will be partnering with the Academy and other strategic partners to develop public awareness/education projects—but we need your help. 

You can see how diligently and carefully the Foundation has used your donations in the past by reviewing our Stewardship Reports (, search keyword “stewardship”). We have just published our 2016 Year in Review, so you can see how successful 2016 was in terms of advancing our philanthropic mission, and how impactful were your hard-earned contributions. 

We are proud of our long history of supporting education, research, and public awareness. Now we are also focusing on telling our story more effectively. We need you to be a part of the Foundation’s future. Perhaps you have considered donating to the Foundation in the past but opted not to do so. We ask you to consider joining the family of supporters as we focus on making the public more aware of the good work audiologists and those in hearing science do each day. 

To our current donors, thank you for your steadfast support of the Foundation’s work; we are grateful to you and plan to build on our success. With current and new donors working together, we can continue to advance the work audiologists do every day. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation now or when you renew your Academy membership.

Audiology is on a rising trajectory and we are all a part of its bright future ahead! Stay connected to the Foundation for more exciting details!