The American Academy of Audiology (the Academy) regularly conducts membership surveys to determine the status or opinion of members regarding given topics. This includes evaluating members’ opinions on longstanding issues and soliciting feedback on new and emerging topics.

These surveys are intended to be released biennially or as needed if specific issues arise. The goals of these surveys are to identify how the Academy can best meet the needs of its members and the profession of audiology thereby retaining membership and increasing member participation.

Previous member surveys (completed in 2010 and 2016) included questions from the topic areas indicated below (Smaka, 2016). The most recent Member Survey focused on a few new areas of relevance during 2020, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of best practices in amplification verification and cochlear implant candidacy identification, provision of tele-audiology services, and issues related to inclusion/equity (see TABLE 1).

TOPIC

2010

2016

2020

Areas of importance for the Academy to address

X

X

AuD class size

X

Audiology assistants

X

Academy resource allocation

X

HIS membership category

X

Reimbursement issues

X

Post-AuD training

X

Preferred terminology

X

Opinion on whether current teaching practices produce qualified audiologists

X

Preparedness to practice in certain areas

X

Role of the Academy

X

X

Where to obtain coding info

X

X

Certification

X

X

Satisfaction with Academy membership

X

X

Academy benefits and use

X

X

Rating the value of Academy offerings

X

What could the Academy do that it doesn’t currently or do better?

X

X

X

Academy website

X

X

What should the Academy focus on?

X

Enhancing research opportunities

X

X

CEU opportunities

X

X

Volunteer opportunities

X

X

AAA Annual Conference

X

X

Membership category

X

Ethnicity

X

Gender

X

Primary work setting

X

X

Current Position

X

X

Highest Degree earned

X

X

Years of experience

X

X

Specialties

X

Generation

X

Timeline of first joining professional association

X

X

Membership in other associations

X

X

X

Financial contributions

X

X

Internet use to gather information

X

Top three programs the AAA Foundation should support

X

Preferences related to receiving correspondence from the Academy

X

Preference related to when to receive transcript from the Academy

X

Membership specifics

X

Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic (for professionals and students)

X

Use of and barriers to real-ear probe microphone measurements

X

CI candidacy identification and barriers to making referrals

X

Provision of tele-audiology services, including billing and reimbursement

X

Equity/inclusion

X

 

An e-mail blast containing the link to the survey was sent to all current Academy members. The survey link also was posted to social media to invite responses from non-members. There were 415 responses from Academy members and 50 from Student Academy of Audiology (SAA) members, totaling a member response rate of 5 percent. This percentage is below the average response rate (8.5 percent) for electronic surveys targeted at health-care providers (Cook et al, 2016).

FIGURE 1. AAA Membership Category of Respondents
FIGURE 1. Academy membership category of respondents.

The Member Connect Subcommittee expressed concerns that some Academy members may not have received the e-mails containing the survey link due to strict cybersecurity rules that were implemented in many hospitals, universities, and other organizations during the last quarter of 2020 in response to cyberattacks. This may have impacted the response rate. Additionally, there were 62 responses from non-members.

Below, data related to membership category and demographics are displayed. To provide the most meaningful data, you will see the data where >5 percent of the respondents selected a response. Many survey responses (88 percent) were from current Academy or SAA members. Most responses from members were from Fellows (see FIGURE 1).

FIGURE 2. Responses from non-members about what they feel AAA is lacking.
FIGURE 2. Responses from non-members about what they feel the Academy is lacking.

Most student members who responded (64 percent) were members of both local and national SAA. Most non-members who took this survey (82 percent) were audiologists. Approximately 50 percent of non-member respondents reported that they had been a Academy member in the past.

The largest group of non-members (29 percent) could not identify a specific benefit or service that they feel is not available from Academy. The largest groups of non-members would be more likely to join Academy if the costs were lower (27 percent) and if they thought Academy had better advocacy/lobbying power (18 percent) (FIGURE 2).

Approximately 50 percent of respondents are members of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and/or their state audiology organization. Almost 50 percent are involved in their state audiology or speech and hearing organization.

Academy members also are involved in the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, the American Auditory Society, the American Tinnitus Association, the Educational Audiology Association, and/or the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (FIGURE3).

FIGURE 3. – Involvement in other organizations.
FIGURE 3. Involvement in other organizations.

Given the wide variety of relevant and timely topics included in this year’s survey, there will be a series of four web articles following this introductory article that focus on the remaining topics of the 2020 Member Survey, to include cochlear implant candidacy identification, use of best practices in amplification verification, tele-audiology, and inclusion/equity. The goals of these articles will be to discuss the data and suggest actionable next steps for the Academy.


References

Smaka C, Jorgensen L. (2016) We’re Listening! Audiol Today 8(6):77-78.

Cook DA, Wittich CM, Daniels WL, West CP, Harris AM, Beebe TJ. (2016) Incentive and reminder strategies to improve response rate for internet-based physician surveys: A randomized experiment. J Med Internet Res18(9):e244. doi:10.2196/jmir.6318.

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