Worth Hearing About
By Tamer Abouras
If you’re a non-audiologist, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and its enormous convention were the only game in town when it came to large professional organizations within the speech and hearing care fields.
Although it certainly goes without saying that ASHA and its 182,000-plus members — including 12,000 audiologists — indeed comprise the greatest collection of members of those professions, you might be surprised to learn that they are not the only major national organization for audiologists.
Having attended ASHA’s national convention last weekend in Denver, Colorado, ADVANCE joined with over 14,000 others in the organization’s largest ever gathering for a time of education and celebration. During the same period, however (and actually lasting one day longer), The Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) also held an Annual Convention of their own. Perhaps fittingly, it was all the way across the country, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Obviously, in terms of size and scope, there are few comparisons between ASHA and the ADA — while ASHA was filling the Colorado Convention Center, the ADA estimated hosting around 1000 members and industry professionals in D.C. last week. And to ASHA’s more than 2500 education sessions, the ADA held about 30, according to The Hearing Review.
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With that being said, the gathering was still peopled by several decorated audiology professionals and featured neuroscientist Robert Cooper, PhD as its keynote speaker. According to The Hearing Review, “He provided ADA members with new findings about neuroplasticity in the brain and what he calls ‘upwiring’ for the attainment of important personal and professional goals.”
As part of the pre-convention proceedings, 120 ADA members and industry professionals reportedly “ … educated Congress and staff members about the organization’s initiatives, which include the Audiology Patient Care Act … ” as part of as ongoing lobbying initiative by the organization.
ASHA and the ADA have had their legal dustups in the past, revolving heavily around certifications (ASHA’s CCC-A vs. the ADA’s the Au.D), but if attendance is any indicator, the older of the two organizations remains the preeminent professional association for both speech-language and hearing care professionals in the United States.
While it seems like something that self-evidently intelligent people ought to be able to settle, the fact remains that as long as rival professional organizations to ASHA are holding their own conferences — during the same week, no less — it’s worth covering and letting you know. Whatever credentials they have following their name, those in the business of audiology are worth hearing about.