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AUDIOLOGY ADVOCATE | New Advocacy Opportunities for the New Year

2019 was a busy year in the area of advocacy—and 2020 shows no sign of slowing down. 

Topic(s): Advocacy, Legislation

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Publication Issue: Audiology Today March/April 2020

CODING AND REIMBURSEMENT

CODING AND REIMBURSEMENT | Specialty Series: Tinnitus

The National Health Interview Survey found that approximately 10 percent of U.S. adults had experienced tinnitus in the 12 months previous to the survey (Bhatt et al, 2016; Shargorodsky et al, 2010). This article reviews codes useful when providing tinnitus services. For clinical guidance, the interested reader is directed to the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Clinical Practice Guideline for Tinnitus (Tunkel et al, 2014).

Topic(s): Coding, reimbursment, Tinnitus

STUDENT SPEAK

STUDENT SPEAK | The Extern’s Tuition Load

Across the country, the rising cost of tuition for audiology programs continues to permeate every decision a student and professional makes. This conversation is nothing new to us. Depending on whether the students attend a private or public university and have in-state or out-of-state residency, they take on an average of $10,000 a year for in-state tuition at a public university and up to $50,000 a year for tuition at a private university. 

Topic(s): Students, externships, tuition, loan

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OPINION EDITORIAL | Otolaryngology and Audiology in a Direct-Access Future

The American Academy of Audiology (the Academy), the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), and the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) are together seeking changes in Medicare rules. The changes proposed will allow Medicare patients direct access to audiology services without a referral from a physician and would reclassify audiologists as practitioners. Classification as practitioners would allow audiologists to be recognized by Medicare (i.e., reimbursed by Medicare) for the full scope of their state-defined licensure law.

Topic(s): Advocacy, direct access

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Making Waves: Electrophysiology, Dolphins, and Advice

I recently had the opportunity to do an email “interview” with Robert (Bob) Burkard, PhD, a professor at the University at Buffalo in Buffalo, New York. His most recent project caught my attention at the American Auditory Society meeting in March 2019, and he agreed to take some time and answer a few questions on his work. Dr. Burkard’s voluminous list of publications fills 13 pages of his curriculum vitae and spans 39 years.

Topic(s): transtympanic tone burst electrocochleography (TB-EcoG), electrophisology

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Alternatives to (Not Substitutes for) Caloric Testing

The standard electronystagmography/videonystagmography (ENG/VNG) exam, first described 80 years ago, has been around for about 60 years. The recording techniques have improved, but the tests are the same. Our understanding of vestibular function and methods to evaluate the vestibular ocular reflex (VOR) also have improved, but our profession still relies primarily on VNG testing to determine vestibular function. Let’s take a critical look at this standard of care.

Topic(s): vestibular disorders, vestibular evaluation, Vertigo, vng, videonystagmography

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Party Like It’s 1999

What a year 1999 was! With excitement and apprehension as to what would happen when the ball dropped and all four digits of the year rolled over to 2000. Some people were stockpiling batteries and canned foods, while others were busy prophesying on what was to come. 

Topic(s): history, Academy Leadership

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Publication Issue: Audiology Today March/April 2020

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Blast Exposure and Auditory Processing

Auditory problems are the most common service-connected disability (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2019) and the fourth leading cause of medical referral for Veterans of the United States military (McIlwain et al, 2008). 

Topic(s): blast exposure, Noise-Induced Hearing Loss, Noise, veterans

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Telehealth: The Great Equalizer

Geographical distance and provider shortage in the state of Alaska make access to specialist health care, such as audiology, difficult. To address this challenge, Alaska has developed a homegrown telehealth network that connects small rural community clinics to specialists. Pre- and post-operative care, management of otologic disease and hearing loss, hearing aid programming, and newborn hearing screening follow-up are a few examples of telehealth-based services provided by audiologists in remote Alaska. 

Topic(s): Telehealth

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PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE | Implementation Science—Moving Guidelines into Practice

Implementation science is the study of methods to promote the adoption and integration of evidence-based practices into routine health care. Clinicians can be at different points along a continuum in terms of readiness to change practices. The continuum moves through (1) pre-contemplation, (2) contemplation, (3) preparation, (4) maintenance, and (5) relapse, hopefully settling in maintenance. Sound familiar? 

Topic(s): Academy Leadership

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Publication Issue: Audiology Today March/April 2020