You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. 

— Jane Goodall (, 2021)

I recently attended a church service for the celebration of the life of a man I have known for more than 25 years. As I listened to his family’s memories, I felt comfort in hearing familiar tales. He and his wife, who also passed away earlier this year, were adventurous, thoughtful, kind, witty, energetic, compassionate, and committed. 

They were doers and had a positive impact on the world around them. They raised a wonderful family and traveled widely. He had a long and successful career and was a Veteran who served in Korea. They enjoyed square dancing and were active in their church.

Angela Shoup, AuD
Angela Shoup, PhD
President | American Academy of Audiology

With the many rich layers of their lives, I found it particularly meaningful that the church minister elected to recount a story in which I had the privilege to participate, about how this gentleman had advocated for, and implemented, a loop system in his church. Due to his difficulty understanding in large venues and his personal experience of the benefits of the telecoil in his hearing devices, he worked tirelessly to provide solutions for others in his community who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing.

As I reflected on the many contributions made by this gentleman, I considered specifically how his advocacy efforts had resulted in the awareness of challenges experienced by those with hearing difficulties and the many solutions available to help them be more engaged and involved in their communities. 

Being reminded of his efforts to provide hearing access for all members of his congregation strengthened my commitment to ensure that all people who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing have access to the knowledgeable, professional guidance necessary to assist them through their hearing and lifestyle needs, to identify the most appropriate solutions, and to support them on their path to optimal hearing access. 

To ensure that all patients who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing have access to the diagnostic and treatment options most appropriate to meet their individual needs, we must all work to pass the Medicare Audiologists Access and Services Act (MAASA). 

Jane Goodall noted that “the greatest danger to our future is apathy” (, 2021). Don’t allow apathy to endanger the future—visit the Advocacy section of the Academy website and use the tools provided in the Legislative Action Center to positively impact access to hearing-health care. Now is the time for action. Each audiologist must join the effort to educate and advocate in the interest of the patients we serve. We can effect positive change if we all make our voices heard. 

Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference. 

— Jane Goodall (, 2021)

This article is a part of the September/October 2021 Audiology Today issue.

References (2021)  Jane Goodall quotes. (accessed July 23, 2021).

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