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.

If one song highlights the banjo, then all of the instruments use those chords suitable to the banjo. Apparently, the players become masterful at effortlessly changin chords to suit the other instrument. Each song will have different, unique chords suited to the lead instrument. Each member of the band understands the importance of maintaining the constant rhythm while also adapting to each other’s musical lead.

Our AAA Annual Conference is a reminder of the many instruments and voices of the Academy membership. Over the conference’s four-day period of time, we are able to appreciate the breadth and depth of skills and personalities within the profession of audiology. Indeed, our Academy membership ranges from Fellows, Affiliates, International Members, Student Members, Undergraduate Associates, Life Members, Retired Members, etc. Within those broad categories, about 67 percent of our members have the sole terminal degree as AuD; 10 percent hold an alternate type of doctorate (i.e., PhD, EdD, MD, etc.); 24 percent hold some form of master’s degree (e.g., MAuD; MS; MA; etc.). When we turn the data in a different direction, about 80 percent of our members are female and 22 percent of our members are private practice owners/employees. However, the data never tell us about unique needs, experiences, or wants of our members within each broad category. We do not see how many private practice owner/employer members focus their attention to learn more about pediatric audiology or hearing conservation or genetics or …?

Our AAA 2018 Program Committee began searching in 2016 for over 30 hours of CEU content that would be appealing to the many “instruments” that make up our Academy membership; allowing for time of harmony, listening, and trying new and unique chords. A few of this year’s enticing offerings include glimpsing into the future of audiology and health care (Jeff Goldsmith, PhD); empowering leaders to ignite impact in the workplace (Tacy Byham, PhD); looking at early childhood education with a public health approach (Dana Suskind, MD); public relations media training; genetics and hearing loss; cochlear implant-mediated perception of music (Charles Limb, MD); the NEW workshop for office staff; NEW Advocacy Workshop; the Membership Meeting (Thursday at 11:15 am); and the First-Time Attendee Orientation.

Come join us in Nashville as we listen and learn to play along with each other’s music.

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