We recently had the opportunity to visit with Shelly Chadha, MBBS, MS, PhD, medical officer, WHO Program for Prevention of Deafness and Hearing Loss. Dr. Chadha is a native of India. She was trained as an otolaryngologist at the University of Delhi, India, and subsequently undertook doctoral studies in public health at the same university.
In the current era in which we live, we reap the benefits of easily utilizing social media. One can “virtually” interact effortlessly on various platforms, spanning generations, cultures, geographic areas, and economic bounds. Challenges and joys are shared with friends, colleagues, or acquaintances from distances near and as far away as the other side of the globe. As an academic, there is value in sharing publications, research, and scholarly debates.
It seems fitting, as we converge on “Music City” Nashville for our 30th Annual Conference of the American Academy of Audiology, to take time to enjoy the music. After all, “music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything” (Plato). But, music and musicians can also teach us important life lessons. I once read that harmonious and enjoyable bluegrass music requires the stringed instrument musicians (e.g., guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, bass, dulcimer, etc.) to play in specific chords set by the lead instrument.
We now find ourselves in a time and age of self-directed (or consumer-driven) health care within our society. Thanks to “Dr. Google,” MANY consumers are experiencing some success in the ability to self-determine their own health needs independently. Health professionals are considered a necessity only when the self-directed care does not yield the expected results. Audiology is now entering into this service delivery that optometry, dentistry, and other health professions have navigated through within their discipline for quite some time.
While I begin this new chapter as the 28th president of the American Academy of Audiology, I am astutely aware of the giants who have preceded me in this role and their enduring positive influence on the profession of audiology. I find myself musing about how far (and not so far) we have come; despite audiology being a relatively young profession. Indeed, over the decades, audiology has come through a variety of threats and opportunities; all have brought their own unique challenges and rewards.
I often share with friends and colleagues those thoughts about audiology that have indiscriminately robbed me of my evening slumber. One of the more persistent thoughts is the unknown number of audiologists embracing and carrying out best clinical practices. My thoughts are buoyed when I talk with colleagues who consistently and happily follow best clinical practices. They clearly take joy in demonstrating to their patients the value of an audiologist as a critical component of the health-care community.
Having grown up in a family with extremely limited financial resources, I still remain vigilant in identifying the value in all things. Many of our Academy board of directors meetings are peppered with the frequent phrase “value-added member benefit.” Even as I draw nearer to the closing of my season as the president of the American Academy of Audiology, I still contemplate how audiologists can consistently demonstrate value of services offered to the consumer and our patients.