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Illustration of group of diverse people with large cell phone, social media, and audiology during pandemic

ONLINE FEATURE | Healthy Hearing Outreach During COVID-19

When COVID-19 swept across the world, life as we knew it came to a halt. Large gatherings were canceled, schools were closed, and businesses were shuttered. With the abrupt change in daily living, new opportunities arose, as online usage increased. Facebook saw daily website usage jump by 27 percent from January 15, 2020, to March 24, 2020, in the United States (Koeze and Popper, 2020). Other platforms, such as Zoom, went from under two million daily users to over six million in the same period (Koeze and Popper, 2020).

Topic(s): COVID-19, Social Media, May is Better Hearing Month

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ACADEMY NEWS | Academy Publishes Position Statement on Audiology Assistants

In March 2021, the Academy released an updated position statement on audiology assistants. This document offers the current Academy perspective on the valuable role that audiology assistants can provide in supporting audiologists in the delivery of hearing- and balance-care services. As such, the Academy intends for the document to offer guidance on how to integrate the role into audiology practice to meet the expanding needs for patient care, while not compromising patient outcomes or safety.

Topic(s): Audiology Assistant

Publication Issue: Audiology Today May/June 2021

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AUDIOLOGY ADVOCATE | Despite a Pandemic, Advocacy Continues on Federal and State Fronts

Even though the pandemic is still ongoing, the Academy has been active on the advocacy front on the federal and state levels. COVID-19 restrictions have certainly affected many of the typical advocacy activities, including in-person meetings with legislators and staff and physical attendance at fundraisers and large coalition discussions. However, similar to other businesses and industries, adjustments have been made and now these activities have simply shifted to a virtual format.

Topic(s): Advocacy

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Publication Issue: Audiology Today May/June 2021

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CODING AND REIMBURSEMENT | The Audiology Quality Consortium

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) places great emphasis on outcomes measures that are intended to influence patient-care delivery and current and future provider reimbursement. Currently, CMS has designated nine quality measures that may be reported by audiologists under the merit-based incentive payment system (MIPS). Many of these measures are not specific to audiology and may be reported by other types of medical professionals.

Topic(s): Coding, Reimbursement, audiology, Audiology Quality Consortium

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ON TREND | The Pandemic’s Impact on Clinics—Some Datapoints

Sycle looked at anonymized data from March 2020 to January 2021, compared to the same timeframe the previous year. The data is limited to Sycle customers who have opted-in to share anonymized data.

Interesting insights:

The impact on patient intake was immediate, but recovery started in summer 2020 and continues to improve.

Topic(s): COVID-19

Publication Issue: Audiology Today May/June 2021

Diagram of Auditory Neuropathy in Children

ON TREND | A Free Genetic Test Opens Doors for Children with Auditory Neuropathy

The most common genetic cause of auditory neuropathy is insufficient production of a protein called otoferlin, which is expressed in cochlear inner hair cells and enables communication with the auditory nerve. Genetic testing can diagnose otoferlin deficiency and other causes of hearing loss—yet it’s not widely done.

As we enter a new era of precision gene therapies, it’s crucial to expand access to genetic testing so families can understand the reason for their child’s congenital hearing loss and seek out relevant clinical trials.

Topic(s): Pediatric, Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder ANSD

Publication Issue: Audiology Today May/June 2021

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ON TREND | Make a Positive Lasting Impression On Your Patients

Otoscan® is an innovative 3D digital ear scanner that is transforming the relationship between audiologist and hearing aid manufacturer. But what about the relationship with the patient?

Otoscan removes the need for conventional silicone impressions and provides real-time visualization of the ear for you and your patient. This provides a streamlined, comfortable process that takes less than half the time to complete than traditional impressions.

Topic(s): Patient care

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Publication Issue: Audiology Today May/June 2021

Info graphic on areas of support for service provided

ON TREND | Payment Options Help Provide Seamless Transition to Providers

While creating greater interprofessional collaboration, health-care providers should look for ways to make the patient experience as seamless as possible. According to Dr. Irum Tahir, owner and CEO of Ignite the Spark, LLC., having available financial solutions that make it easy for patients referred from other providers to pay out-of-pocket costs is an important part of building a strong network of collaborative healthcare professionals.

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Publication Issue: Audiology Today May/June 2021

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Helping Patients Improve Their Quality of Life as They Face Death

In an article titled “The Final Frontier: Heightening Our Vigilance to the Taboo of Discussing Death During Patient Encounters,” published in the March/April 2021 issue of Audiology Today, we urged audiologists to be ready to address mortality issues that patients may have and to engage supportively (Clark and Harvey, 2021). Here, in this article, we kick our recommendation up a notch.

Topic(s): audiology, Patient-Centered Care

Abstract illustration of collaboration

Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology: Interprofessional Partners

There are inherent similarities in the work of audiologists and speech-language pathologists (SLPs). Best practice in client-centered care focuses on bringing our disciplines together in the service of our mutual populations. This article outlines the broad areas where our professions intersect and how we share in developing optimal outcomes for the people we serve.

Topic(s): Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology