Plan Your Trip To Raleigh!

Looking to make the most out of your visit to Raleigh?  Raleigh has an abundance of free attractions that can round out your conference weekend.  Check out this list of 40 free attractions from the Raleigh Visitor Center.

Raleigh, along with its close neighbors, Cary, Durham, and Chapel Hill all rank among the top 10 most educated places in the United States of America.  It’s only fitting to obtain a bunch of CEU’s in RTP! 

NCAA 2018 Conference: “PSAPs and OTCs—Friend or Foe?”

We are proud to announce a Round Table Discussion: “PSAPs and OTCs—Friend or Foe?” This event is scheduled for Friday, October 5, at 11:30 am.

This event will be moderated by Gordon Fletcher, AuD, with an esteemed assortment of featured speakers and members as participants. Participants present five to ten slides to explain and defend their personal or assigned points of view. Interaction and questions from the audience will complete the event. The purpose of this exercise is to update attendees on status of these products and the regulatory issues involved.

Current participants include:

  • Gordon Fletcher, AuD, Moderator
  • Deb Culbertson, PhD
  • Dave Fabry, PhD
  • Chris Hamilton, AuD
  • Nancy McKenna, AuD/PhD
  • Ian Windmill, PhD

We are asking for help from you all, our members, to select a final member of the Round Table Discussion. Please send an email to us at to volunteer or nominate a candidate. We will consider an audiologist, audiology student or extern. Please include the name, contact information and a brief description of why we would include you or your nominee. If any of you have had the pleasure of attending any of the “GREAT DEBATE” presentations at AAA, you will recognize the premise of this session. The session is always lively, thought-provoking and generally a wonderful time! It will be an Event to Remember!

See you there! (CEU there)

Two NCAA Members Selected as Finalists for National Award

The Oticon Focus on People Awards recognize outstanding people who are helping to show that hearing loss does not limit a person’s ability to make a positive difference in their families, communities or the world.

Two of our very own NCAA members Dr. Johnnie Sexton and Dr. Lena Kyman have been nominated and selected as finalists in the Hearing Care Practitioner category. 

Oticon focus on people award finalists.jpg

Voting is open through August 24th and we would love to see a North Carolina audiologist win!  Please follow this link to cast your vote.

A Note from the 2018 Conference Chair Tracy Swanson, Au.D.

I consider myself lucky to be a member of the strong audiology community that we have here in the state of NC. It is only respectful to this state to make sure this conference is worthy of the audiologists it strives to represent. The inclusive agenda will appeal to NC audiologists from every specialty and facility.

The agenda design includes:

  1. Current events vital to all of our NC Audiology Community
  2. Topics of interest to specialists: adults and pediatrics, private practice, medical, educational and academia
  3. National speakers
  4. Regional experts highlighting and showcasing the state-wide audiology community

Prime considerations for me were:

  1. If I could invite anyone, who would I include.
  2. If I’m spending my time and money,
    1. Let’s make sure I can get all my CEUs
    2.  Let’s make sure I am going to take something home that will impact my practice Monday morning

Make sure you check out more details regarding the conference here! I feel sure you will agree this is an outstanding line-up. Stay tuned for more information on conference details, events and opportunities.

See you there! (CEU there)


Official Schedule Now Available!

Check out our 2 track schedule for the second day of the conference!!!

Which track will you do?

Full 2 Day Conference

NCAA Member

Amazing speakers and a great meeting for all audiologists. Full conference means to get to learn it all, and see it all. Get ALL of your CEUs for the year in a one-stop shop!



1 Day Pass

NCAA Member

Pick and choose what day you want to attend. Pick the day that best suits your needs and your interests. Peds or adults, or perhaps the main day. The choice is yours.



2018 North Carolina Audiology Association Conference – Speaker Highlights on Educational Audiology

The 2018 Annual Conference on October 4th and 5th is now less than three months away, and we are so excited that the conference will be held this year in Raleigh at the beautiful Raleigh Convention Center! A full line-up of speakers has been confirmed for both days, including a second day with an option of two tracks for attendees to choose between.

As one of our featured speakers for the pediatric track on the second day, Dr. Cheryl DeConde Johnson will join us to speak on Hot Topics in Educational Audiology. Dr. Johnson has a background as an educational audiologist and program coordinator for a public school deaf and hard of hearing program and as a former consultant with the Colorado Department of Education. She is active as a consultant, program evaluator, writer, and adjunct faculty member or lecturer in several AuD or deaf education programs. She is a trainer for the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE). Dr. Johnson is also a co-founder and President of the Board of Directors for Hands & Voices, a non-profit, parent-driven organization supporting families of children with hearing loss. We are excited to have her highlight important current issues in educational audiology, and hope you will join us to hear her presentation!

Stay tuned for more updates on speakers for the North Carolina Audiology Association 2018 Conference in Raleigh, and check out the conference section on the website to register online!

Guest Post: by Kelleigh Bland, Parent Educator for BEGINNINGS

BEGINNINGS is a North Carolina non-profit organization for Parents of Children Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Inc.

In the clinical setting, many parents do not hear anything after you say, "Your child has hearing loss." Parents often say that the audiologist continues to talk but they don’t understand and take in most of the information. They report feeling intimidated by the doctor, don't want to ask stupid questions, or don't even know what to ask in that moment. They are distracted by their restless child running around the exam room while they sit there trying to process the information. There are usually more toys in the waiting area, but less entertainment for them in the exam rooms.

     A BEGINNINGS Parent Educator (PE) typically visits families a few weeks after the initial diagnosis confirming the hearing loss. The PE is able to meet with the parents in their home, after they have had some time to take in the new diagnosis. The PE talks about how the ear works and how to read an audiogram using simple terminology. A picture of the ear is shown to talk about how sound gets to the brain and what is going on in their child's ear that is causing the problem. After they understand how it works, clinical terms can be introduced such as: conductive, sensorineural, bilateral and unilateral. The PE helps them see on the diagram what those words mean. 

  Next, the PE takes the "real audiogram" and a family-friendly audiogram. She explains that the numbers along the side show how sound is measured in decibels and gives examples (30 decibels is a whisper and 55 decibels is a conversation). Frequencies across the top are compared to the keys on a piano. Almost everyone understands a piano and how if one of the keys on a piano is not working then the song sounds wrong. The PE can then talk about when a child can't hear one of the frequencies, the words sound wrong. Parents seem to be able to understand that analogy. They are grasping at straws, trying to sift through all that they have heard and read on the internet. They have heard a song on a piano, and this a real example that they can digest.

     All of that teaching is done with a blank audiogram. Then, the PE draws a line at the top in blue and one in red to show them what a typical hearing person's audiogram might look like. Only after the parents understand how to read the audiogram is the child's audiogram shown for comparison. This explanation only takes five minutes, and gets a parent to really understand what the child can and cannot hear. They must understand what the child has access to and what is impossible for the child to get through audition to able to emphasize the importance of using hearing technology. If a parent chooses a spoken language approach, it is vital that they see what the child needs in order to gain access to sound. Parents who choose a visual language also need to understand how to read an audiogram so that they can understand what environmental sounds the child can access and areas where they may require technology such as doorbell lights and vibrating alarms.

     Another important analogy a PE can use with parents deals with word recognition scores. Parents struggle to understand the audiogram, so it's no surprise they don't understand word recognition scores. They may think a word recognition score of 80% is great because that is a B. The PE explains that 80% is not a B, because this score isn't about grades. The score is compared to a puzzle and how a toddler has 10-piece puzzle and is only getting eight pieces. Each piece is so big and it has lots of information on it that 80% seems adequate. However, when a child goes to first grade and has 100 piece puzzles, 80 pieces out of 100 missing means you can still see the picture, but it isn't complete. Sometimes a large section is missing and sometimes it is the smaller details that add the important stuff that is missing. Finally, in fourth grade, where the children have 1000 piece puzzles then the child is missing 200 pieces of new information. This example means they are missing critical information in classes like math and science, and in social settings where the details are much more fun to hear.

     Understanding what the child hears and how much of the information is really getting to the brain helps parents realize the importance of using hearing technology, or the importance of having an interpreter in the classroom. Explaining the audiogram in a way that a parent understands helps them focus and advocate in the schools for an Assistive Listening Device, preferential seating or any of the other accommodations that they may need. It helps them support their child's needs at the playground or even around the dinner table where every child should feel welcome. Parents cannot advocate without information, and it is our jobs to help them really understand their child’s hearing loss in a way they can help their child and be able to explain to others to meet the needs of their child.


Audiologists attended the legislative session for the NC House of Representatives at NDAYSCD!

Raleigh session.jpg

Once the session started, public recognitions were made from the floor of the assembly. Dr. Will Eblin was able to successfully request recognition from his representative, Dr. Greg Murphy. Because of this request, the North Carolina Audiology Association was officially recognized by the Speaker of the House, was asked to stand, and received a hearty round of applause from the legislators and all in attendance.

 Dr. Sheri Mello displays a handout created by Dr. Melissa Karp explaining the difference between Audiologists and Hearing Aid Dispensers.

Dr. Sheri Mello displays a handout created by Dr. Melissa Karp explaining the difference between Audiologists and Hearing Aid Dispensers.

In between meetings and sessions, audiologists gathered in the lobby to discuss legislative issues and strategy. Sheri Mello, Au.D., showed a handout created by Melissa Karp, Au.D., that demonstrated the difference between audiologists and hearing aid dispensers. The handout was given to Dr. Greg Murphy (representative from eastern North Carolina) who commented that it was well done and very educational.

If you want to have a strong voice advocating for you in the legislature, please considering joining us and donating your time or dollars to the effort. We need you!

Audiologists Advocating Directly At NDAYSCD!

On May 23, 2018, a group of audiologists and students travelled to the State Capitol Building in Raleigh to advocate for the profession and raise awareness about audiology issues. We had an amazing day meeting and talking with legislators, learning about how bills are passed, and how to take an active and leading role in the profession.

Thank you to all the audiologists who donated their time and effort, and their gas money, (some drove all the way from Charlotte) to this awesome event.

   Top row left to right: Jordan Bellucci, Philip Griffin, Au.D., Samantha Scharf, Sara Morgan-Woods, Ellen Watson, Au.D., Sarah Kate Fisher, Au.D.      Bottom row left to right: Sheri Mello, Au.D., Katie McNeilly, Melissa Auchter, Au.D., Stephanie Noble, Emma Tomaszewski, Fayne Fisher, MA, Geneva Britt, Au.D., Will Eblin, Au.D.

Top row left to right: Jordan Bellucci, Philip Griffin, Au.D., Samantha Scharf, Sara Morgan-Woods, Ellen Watson, Au.D., Sarah Kate Fisher, Au.D.

Bottom row left to right: Sheri Mello, Au.D., Katie McNeilly, Melissa Auchter, Au.D., Stephanie Noble, Emma Tomaszewski, Fayne Fisher, MA, Geneva Britt, Au.D., Will Eblin, Au.D.

The State Capitol Building is located a few blocks north of the very center of Raleigh, North Carolina. Legislators gather here for part of the year to conduct the business of the policy and lawmaking for all of North Carolina. Every single part of North Carolina is represented, from Murphy to Manteo. Everyone reading this article will have two legislators representing him or her in state affairs.

raleigh capitol building.jpg

Our State Capitol

Please look for upcoming posts in the blog including details about individual meetings and sessions that members attended during this exciting day!

NDAYSCD - Schoolhouse Rock! Guest Post by: Evan Fischer, UNC-Chapel Hill AuD Student

I’m sure you’re familiar with the classic Schoolhouse Rock! segment entitled “I’m Just a Bill.” If you’re not, here is a quick breakdown: a bill sitting in front of the Capitol Building describes in a beautiful, catchy song to a boy the process in which he can become a law. The bill tells the boy he was once an idea created by regular everyday folks who decided there should be a law. The active citizens called their local Congressman and pressed the need for that law. The Congressman agreed and drafted the bill that then goes in front of the House of Representatives for debate. If the House approves, then the bill can go to the Senate for further debate and voting. If the bill is passed by both groups of Congress, it goes to the President for approval, who signs the bill to become a law.

Before I attended National Day at Your State Capitol Day (NDAYSCD) in the summer of 2016 as a rising second year Audiology student at UNC, I thought my experience at the state Capitol in Raleigh would be just like “I’m Just a Bill.” I imagined a room filled with motivated and well-informed congressmen surrounded by a chorus of singing bills (very naïve, I know). As you probably already guessed, I was wrong. Firstly, there were no singing bills explaining how they could become a law, and secondly, the congressmen did not necessarily know everything about audiology.

 At NDAYSCD, Dr. Philip Griffin and I were able to meet with Representative Grier Martin of the N.C. House of Representatives. Like most people we encounter, Representative Martin did not know too much about audiology or what audiologists do. He was welcoming and inquisitive, wanting to know about audiology and the services provided. We stressed the importance of our current four-year doctoral degree with continuing educational requirements and the significance of our services to members of the community, as well as concerns regarding unqualified persons performing these services. Representative Martin explained that he works for the people he represents and wants to understand how he can serve his “bosses” to the best of his ability.

One last thing that stood out to me was the prevalence of other professional healthcare groups. Our NDAYSCD in 2016 coincided with a state capitol visit day of a group of physician assistants who were dressed in professional attire with posters. They were even recognized at the N.C. House of Representatives General Assembly where they ensured that all congressmen were familiar with their profession and how they serve the community.

Attending NDAYSCD was eye-opening and motivating. There were no singing bills standing on the steps, and most congressional representatives knew about as much about Audiology as someone who would be sitting on those steps. Our patients we see every day need us, but so do our representatives. Our representatives need us to give them insight so that they can make bills and pass laws that serve their constituents best. We need to make our presence known just as other medical professionals do.

My challenge to my fellow Audiology students is to attend this year’s National Day at Your State Capitol Day on May 23rd. Meet your congressional representatives, and if they do not know about audiology and what audiologists do to serve the community (which they probably won’t), tell them we are educated, qualified, and offer valuable services. You will have a great experience in Raleigh, and who knows, the representative you meet might know your high school science teacher.

North Carolina Audiology Association Endorses the Audiology Patient Choice Act of 2018

We've surveyed our membership and support for APCA is overwhelming. NCAA has taken this feedback and decided to officially endorse the APCA of 2018.

In total, we had 60 votes in support of the APCA and 3 votes against from a combination of Facebook and email survey polling. The NCAA Executive Board discussed the results of the poll, shared comments, and finally voted to officially endorse the APCA as we believe this represents the broader opinion of audiologists in NC and specifically those of the membership of NCAA.

Look for more content on our website coming in our soon-to-be-opened members area, including:

  • Informational handouts on APCA
  • Infographics on Audiology Services
  • Talking Points for Meetings with Legislators about APCA

NCAA will be communicating our support for this law to all of the representatives that we will meet with this year at "National Day At Your State Capitol Day" on May 23rd. If you feel motivated by this issue and would like to join us, please email us at

Leadership Spotlight: Stephanie Sjoblad, AuD - Member at Large

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be in the great state of North Carolina?

I’m an audiologist and professor at UNC, serving as the Clinic Director for the UNC Hearing & Communication Center. I’ve been married for over 25 years and have two boys.  My husband and I moved to North Carolina in 1994 as it was a place that reminded us of New England with 4 seasons -the beach and mountains were nearby, but winter was not nearly as long!  When we moved to NC, I went back to school to earn my Master’s degree in Audiology at UNC after having a career in business for several years.

Where or in what type of setting do you currently work?

I work at UNC (in my 18th year on faculty). I teach several classes, see patients while supervising students and work with an amazing group of colleagues. I am very passionate about audiologic rehabilitation and helping people to hear and communicate. 

Why are you so excited about the new North Carolina Audiology Association, and what is your current role in the developing organization?

For years I just sort of sat on the sidelines and assumed business was being taken care of for me.  In 2009 I was asked to get involved in our state speech/hearing organization and then realized there were so many like me…just assuming our profession would be cared for by others.  Since that time, I’ve had several leadership positions in both the state and national level. I’m excited because we now have a stated organization of, by and for audiologists. It’s been a long time coming.  I am optimistic this ‘audiology’ only organization will make amazing contributions to the profession in the coming days.  However, change will only open if we are involved. I am committed to both the current and next generation of audiologists in North Carolina.  Currently I am serving in a Member at Large position for NCAA and mentor to the board.

What would one find you doing in your free time?

I drive a taxi! Seriously…I shuttle kids to soccer games, track meets, scouts, church youth group, piano, cello….and run lots of errands in the evenings and weekends!  I enjoy spending my free time with my family, going to the beach, traveling…and I love a good bargain. Yardsaling is a fun past-time! I also am committed to living a healthy lifestyle and try to get my cross-fit workouts in every morning.

What is your favorite part of the state to visit and why?

I’m definitely a beach girl. I like going to Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina for rest and relaxation. It’s family friendly and super relaxing!

If you were not practicing in a career related to audiology, what would you be doing?

It’s a big ‘IF’…because I love what I do, but if not audiology then probably working in fitness profession.

What do you see as one of the biggest challenges facing audiology today?

Accessibility, affordability and use of evidence-based practice by all audiologists. I guess that is three things, but to me they are interrelated. To be respected as professionals, we must all use the highest standards of evidence based care with each patient. In doing so, it will be clear why an audiologist is the professional to be seen for hearing and balance issues. I believe we will then reach more patients because the benefits of hearing care will be more readily accepted which will favorably impact affordability.

What is one goal you hope the new North Carolina Audiology Association can strive to accomplish?

With almost 700 North Carolina Audiologists I would really like to see more involvement from my colleagues. This new group will be what WE want it to be and our goal is to reach ALL North Carolina audiologist. We need maximum membership with everyone working together to protect our profession and ensure the best quality care for the patients we serve.

AAA 2018 State Fair and Reception

Attending AAA 2018 in Nashville? Check out the following:

  • There will be a State Fair at AAA NC on Friday April 20th from 12:30 to 2:30 at the Attendee Lounge in the exhibit hall.
  • There will be a UNC sponsored reception and all North Carolina Audiologists are invited to attend. It's a casual gathering where NC Audiologists can catch up with old friends and meet others in the state. The reception will be held in room IU1 in the exhibit hall on Wed. April 18 from 6 to 7 pm.

Let us know if you will be there! We look forward to seeing you! -


National Day At Your State Capitol Day (NDAYSCD)

Fellow Audiologists,

Announcing "National Day At Your State Capitol Day" (NDAYSCD) on May 23rd! This is a country-wide effort spearheaded by ourselves, national AAA and SAA (Student Audiology Association) to get familiar with the state capitol, the legislators who run it, and the process of getting involved in advocating for audiology!

With the Patient Choice Act, OTC Hearing Aids, and encroachment from non-audiologists on audiology scope of practice, being engaged is more important than ever. One of the major goals of the organization is to hire a lobbyist to represent us. BUT, no lobbyist can protect audiologists and their patients all by themselves. Recent major changes to NC law came about by personal engagement by the practitioner themselves, one-on-one, with state legislators. We MUST make our presence known and our voices heard on a continuous basis.

As part of NDAYSCD, we will gather audiologists and audiology students across NC to meet at the Capitol in Raleigh on May 23rd. The goal is to meet with as many state legislators as possible. To date, we have 3 meetings already set up. YOU can set up a meeting with your legislator on that day and join the effort! Our goal is to have 20 meetings set up with legislators across NC. Will you be one of the twenty?

Also, we plan to show and teach our audiology students what civic engagement in audiology is about. Bring your student or extern! Last NDAYSCD, we had students in with us during the meetings, and they had the valuable experience of learning what it takes to advocate.

Email us at to join the effort!


Quick list for setting up a meeting a with a legislator

  1. Go to

  2. Search for your legislators by your address

  3. Send them a meeting request letter (see below)

  4. Print out talking points to take

  5. Print out any copies of law you want to discuss or cite

  6. Attend meeting with confidence!


Sample Meeting Request Letter

Dear Mr. __________,

I am writing to request an appointment with you to introduce myself and share information regarding the current state of hearing loss care in North Carolina. I am an Audiologist from your district who is practicing in _______, setting serving the hard of hearing community and their families. I am also a member of the North Carolina Audiology Association representing the interests of practicing clinical and research professionals as well as students studying hearing science. North Carolina's health care policies are important to my practice, my colleagues, and to my patients who make up our community. I also serve as the ________ (list any NCAA or community posts you hold which may be relevant).

Of course, if a meeting on the ______ is not possible, we would love to schedule it for another time that is more convenient for you.

Thank you for your assistance with this request. In the meantime, if I can provide any additional information please let me know. Your scheduler can let me know of your availability through email _____________or by phone __________.



Title, Address, Phone number, Email


Audiology FAQ/Talking Points to Take With You

Who We Are


Masters or doctoral-level hearing and balance healthcare practitioners. Audiologists are legally and professionally recognized experts in hearing science and patient care. Trained at accredited universities within the medical or allied health schools, with a total of 6–8 years of academic and clinical training.

North Carolina Audiology Association (NCAA)

A group of Audiologists. NCAA is an audiology-only organization whose educational, lobbying, fundraising, and member engagement efforts will be solely dedicated to the interests of audiologists.

Jane Doe, Au.D. Doctor of Audiology

Insert your bio here

Goals of Audiologists

  • We strive to provide the highest level of clinical services across settings including schools, hospitals, private practice, and in conjunction with ENT physician practices.
  • Conduct research to the advance the knowledge of hearing and balance science
  • Innovate to create hearing and balance devices and treatments to aid patients, such as hearing aids
  • Educate future practitioners
  • Community outreach
  • Legislative Engagement

Current Topics in Law Affecting Hearing Healthcare

Audiology Patient Choice Act H.R. 2276 and S. 2575

Over the Counter Hearing Aids H.R. 1652

Talking About Feelings - Are You Hiding Behind The Audiogram?

By guest contributor: Andrea Hillock Dunn, AuD, PhD, CCC-A

Have you ever felt your heart rate increase, breath grow shallow, or room grow warm when informing a patient or family of a hearing loss? Learning of a hearing deficit or decrease in hearing can be intensely emotional for the unprepared patient or family. This experience can also be emotional for the professional delivering such news, especially those with limited experience or skills for most effectively responding to the patient’s needs at that time. The way in which you share that information, react to the patient’s and family’s emotions, and provide ongoing emotional support and counseling can have a major impact on patient and family well- being and satisfaction with care.

Although audiologists reportedly recognize the importance of emotional or “adjustment”
counseling (Sexton, 2015), and patients and families value this support from hearing healthcare
professionals (Fitzpatrick et al., 2008), unfortunately it appears to be lacking. In a recent survey of parents of children with hearing loss who use hearing aids (ages birth through 3 years), only roughly half reported that their audiologist gave them adequate time to talk about and understand their emotions (Muñoz et al., 2014). Moreover, a survey from The Care Project, a nonprofit organization supporting children with hearing loss, families and professionals, showed a dichotomy between the perceived importance of adjustment counseling and professionals’ preparedness. Survey respondents (comprised of attendees at a sensitivity training course) unanimously reported that emotional counseling was important (15%) or very important (85%), but fewer than half were trained to provide adjustment counseling to children and parents (Sexton, 2015). Likewise, only 45% indicated that they were comfortable providing such counseling to families.

In the classroom and clinic, we become exceedingly prepared in diagnostics and rehabilitation
(e.g., technology), but is the role of adjustment counseling adequately recognized as an integral part of patient care and rehabilitation? Are we hiding behind the x’s and o’s on the audiogram because we’re uncomfortable, or unprepared to effectively respond to patient emotions surrounding hearing loss? How does adjustment counseling fit within our scope of practice and more practically speaking our clinic schedules?

Audiologists are not trained or licensed to act as therapists, but perhaps effective adjustment counseling in audiology starts with active listening and probing questions. When patients or families are presented with potentially devastating news, actively listening can allow audiologists to more sensitively respond to the patient or family’s pressing questions and needs. While information and knowledge about the nature of hearing loss is an essential part of the grief journey and hearing loss acceptance, it is also imperative that we offer support for families on more a more personal and emotional level. This allows us to potentially recognize the need for referrals to other healthcare providers and to answer unanticipated questions. Using active listening to tailor counseling to a specific patient or family needs, not only embodies the spirit of family-centered care, but may be a critical part of supporting our patients or families on their journey toward hearing loss acceptance.

Calling All Sponsors!

We are so excited to invite manufacturer and corporate sponsors to participate in our inaugural annual conference! As the important partners Audiologists work with everyday, we need you to also be a part of NCAA. This is your Association too! You can read more about sponsorship on our SPONSOR page.

You now have two ways to register:

1. print and mail in your registration form


2. register conveniently online!

If you have any questions about sponsorship, please contact Tracy Swanson, AuD at NCAUDIOLOGYASSOCATION@GMAIL.COM

World Hearing Day

Today is World Hearing Day! This years focus is to draw attention to the anticipation of increasing rates of hearing loss. The goals are to bring awareness to the risk factors of hearing loss, hearing protection and ensuring assistive devices/ rehabilitation services are available. Check out some more details HERE. The World Health organization website also has more information about World Hearing Day (click HERE).

Member Spotlight - Julia Vadakkumpadan, Au.D.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be in the great state of North Carolina?

I’ve been an audiologist for about ten years now. I’ve worked in several states in the southeast including Georgia, Alabama, Maryland, DC, and now North Carolina. My husband and I moved to North Carolina in 2015 for his job and we love it here!

Where or in what type of setting do you currently work? 

I currently work in a private practice ENT setting.

What would one find you doing in your free time? 

I love spending time with my husband and toddler twins. We enjoy being outdoors when the weather is nice and the girls are getting old enough now that they can “help” me cook. I also love to crochet and make handmade items for friends and family.

What is your favorite part of the state to visit and why?

We still have a lot of the state to explore but I love Ashville and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

If you were not practicing in a career related to audiology, what would you be doing? 

Hmmm, that’s a tough question. I came into audiology via an interest in speech-language pathology, so I’d probably be an SLP (or a balloon artist – college job/hidden skill that’s lots of fun)!

What were some factors in your decision to become a member of the new North Carolina Audiology Association?   

This is the first state I’ve worked in that didn’t have an Audiology-specific state level professional organization. I found that very puzzling when I moved here because I know that this state is home to world-renowned audiology care. I noticed some differences in this state that I firmly believe could be contributed to the previous lack of state-level professional engagement including a lack of pay for follow-up services to Medicaid patients and differing requirements for Master’s level audiologists that do not take into account their experience.

What is one goal you hope the new North Carolina Audiology Association can strive to accomplish?  

Engagement of a diverse group of professionals across the state to advocate for our patient’s best interests and advancement of our field.

Leadership Spotlight – Doug Garrison, AuD, Interim Treasurer

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be in the great state of North Carolina?

I was born in Lexington, KY, and moved to the coast of NC before my first birthday. I moved to Chapel Hill after graduating high school and spent four years at UNC-CH. I spent a few years after school moving around and found my way to Nashville, TN, to study Audiology at Vanderbilt. After graduating, I was fortunate to find a job at Duke and have enjoyed living in Durham since then.

Where or in what type of setting do you currently work?

I work in an outpatient ENT clinic at Duke University Medical Center. I evaluate and treat patients with balance and dizziness problems in our vestibular clinic.

Why are you so excited about the new North Carolina Audiology Association, and what is your current role in the developing organization?

I am very excited to have an independent association representing audiology in NC. We had outgrown the structure of our previous association, and forming a new group was our best option to capitalize on the skills, motivation, and enthusiasm of our colleagues. As the healthcare landscape continues to change, we must find a way to make space for audiology. I’m confident this association will represent us well in that endeavor, and I’m encouraged when I see that same passion in the eyes of the other stakeholders. I’m serving as the interim Treasurer of the new association; making our first bank deposit two weeks ago was a big day!

What would one find you doing in your free time?

I enjoy listening to music at home and live, working in my shop, and working in my yard. I have lots of fun hanging out with my wife and son, riding bikes, sitting on the back porch at Sam’s Quik Shop, and hanging out with my neighbors.

What is your favorite part of the state to visit and why?

That is a really tough question because I really enjoy the western part of the state. If forced to choose it has to be the Outer Banks. I enjoy motoring over to Cape Lookout. With a light north wind, the south side of the hook of the cape has calm water and that makes for an amazing day at the beach. Beer in one hand, bocce ball in the other; that tops the list.

If you were not practicing in a career related to audiology, what would you be doing?

Who knows? Working with my hands in some way. I love my job and I get tremendous satisfaction applying my knowledge of audiology so my patients can enjoy greater quality of life. But if I weren’t doing this, perhaps I would be building furniture.

What do you see as one of the biggest challenges facing audiology today?

Lack of public awareness of our field.

What is one goal you hope the new North Carolina Audiology Association can strive to accomplish?

Audiologists have much to offer and we don’t need to keep that a secret. We need to improve upon the lack of awareness of our profession. The healthcare landscape is changing drastically. As those tectonic plates shift, I hope the North Carolina Audiology Association will strive to create space for our profession where it didn’t previously exist.