The Foundation was proud to be part of the AAA Annual Conference as the Academy celebrated its 30th anniversary in Nashville. There were many memorable moments in Music City; three AAA 2018 highlights in particular include the Foundation’s annual Auction 4 Audiology, the Marion Downs Lecture in Pediatric Audiology, and the launch of the exciting new public awareness project, the publication of patient stories in a memorable book, Voices of Hearing Wellness.     

Auction 4 Audiology

The Foundation’s annual Auction 4 Audiology was a huge success! We are truly grateful to all auction donors and auction bidders who helped us raise over $14,000 to help advance our mission to promote philanthropy in support of research, education, and public awareness in audiology and hearing science. Among some of the hot items were a guitar signed by Rascal Flatts, vacation travel getaways, and unique custom jewelry. Congratulations to all auction winners! We hope you enjoy your purchases, which benefit a good cause. 

Marion Downs Lecture in Pediatric Audiology 

The AAAF’s Marion Downs Lecture Series is presented annually at the AAA Annual Conference. The speaker is chosen in recognition of research and clinical work in the area of pediatric audiology. This lecture series was created in honor of Marion Downs, known as the Mother of Audiology. Downs not only pioneered the first national infant hearing screening program in 1963 in Denver, Colorado, but also provided the clinical practice and research basis for which all pediatric audiologists rely on today. She worked tirelessly throughout her career to make the identification and management of hearing loss in infants and children an important medical and educational consideration and public health issue. Her efforts eventually resulted in the hearing screening of newborns in all 50 states in the United States and many other countries. 

The 2018 Marion Downs Lecture in Pediatric Audiology was presented by Dana Suskind, MD, professor of surgery at the University of Chicago, director of the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program at University of Chicago Medical Comer Children’s Hospital, and founder and director of Thirty Million Words© (TMW). Dr. Suskind discussed TMW, which aims to empower parents and caregivers with the knowledge and skills to develop their children’s intellectual and educational potential. Deployed through a web-based platform, TMW’s evidence-based interventions translate emerging brain science into strategies parents and caregivers can use in everyday settings. Dr. Suskind presented preliminary findings from the interventions across different SES levels and the feedback cycles and behavioral nudges used to support adult behavior change.  

For a limited time, the 2018 Marion Downs lecture is available for free on-demand on 

Voices of Hearing Wellness

“I can understand the voices of my grandchildren!” 

“I attended the theater and for the first time in years I knew why everyone was laughing.” 

“I feel like I can finally manage my tinnitus.” 

We have all been moved by patients recognizing the improvement in their quality of life based on interventions provided through audiologic care. These stories are compelling…they touch us…they stay with us months or even years after the encounter. They not only remind us why we entered the profession, but they provide a natural bridge to share audiology and the benefits of care to the general public.

The American Academy of Audiology Foundation is excited to announce a new public awareness initiative with the publication of Voices of Hearing Wellness. This collection of stories from the American Academy of Audiology Foundation shares the narratives of adults and children living with hearing loss and how YOU, as an audiologist, have made an impact. Hearing loss doesn’t discriminate. It isn’t visible. Millions of Americans are living with hearing loss and tinnitus, and this impacts not only the individual, but also the friends and families of those experiencing the loss. Hearing loss can feel very isolating.  

The stories in this collection range from people living with adult onset hearing loss, adults diagnosed with hearing loss as children who may have at one time been reluctant to pursue assistance and young children identified with pediatric hearing loss. All of these stories and individuals are unique; however, they contain one common theme: hearing is vital to communication and taking steps to address hearing loss directly is empowering.  

This book was created in part to promote public awareness of audiology and launched at the annual conference in Nashville. The stories were submitted by Academy members. The Foundation extends a warm thank you to those who shared stories. This piece makes ideal waiting-room reading material and may also serve as a tool to share with media sources about the impact of audiological care.

For those who were unable to attend the American Academy of Audiology’s annual conference this year, copies of the book may be requested from Foundation Manager Rissa Duque-Yangson at or 703-226-1049. Proceeds will support the Foundation’s mission.  

The Foundation encourages you to share your ideas to continue to promote public awareness, by contacting Duque-Yangson at the listed e-mail or phone number.

We hope you are inspired by these stories of individuals sharing their experiences with hearing loss and the successes that occur from treating hearing loss. The work we do makes an impact, and the Foundation is pleased to share this impact with the public.