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! -

Contact: ncaudiologyassociation@gmail.com

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 ncaudiologyassociation@gmail.com to join the effort!

___________________________________________________________________

Quick list for setting up a meeting a with a legislator

  1. Go to www.openstates.org

  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 __________.

Sincerely,

Name

Title, Address, Phone number, Email

 __________________________________________________________

Audiology FAQ/Talking Points to Take With You

Who We Are

Audiologists

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

OR

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.

Member Spotlight – Mary Maddock, AuD, Charter Member of NCAA

We are thrilled that so many audiologists have chosen to join NCAA as charter members.
Please see the membership page for more information about how you can become one of
the founding members of the organization. We asked one of our charter members, Mary
Maddock, AuD, to tell us about herself and why she chose to join NCAA.

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

I moved to North Carolina in 1986 to join a local ENT group after working in Texas for three
years after I graduated from the University of Texas – Austin.

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

I am currently in private practice which I started in 2005 after 19 years of working with four wonderful otolaryngologists.

What would one find you doing in your free time?

Sitting on my dock and playing with my dachshunds.

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

Since I live on the coast I feel that I live on vacation. If I have to leave the coast I love visiting
the mountains.

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

Good question! I was drawn to audiology as a freshman in college and I honestly can’t
imagine my life doing anything else.

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

I am excited at the prospect of having a state organization that is designed for audiologists
and run by audiologists. I am honored to be a part of NCAA!

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

Public education.

Audiology Town Hall - A Success!

This past weekend’s Audiology Town Hall held on February 3, 2018, in Chapel Hill was a success! More than 50 audiologists and students gathered in Bondurant Hall for the event, and at least 20 participants called in through the meeting’s remote access technology. Attendees represented multiple geographic areas of the state and were from a wide variety of workplaces including private practice, ENT offices, hospital and university clinics and school systems. The meeting, led by Philip Griffin, AuD, began with a discussion providing background for the formation of the new group. Reasons stated for pursuing a new group included: greater autonomy and representation for audiology members, increased flexibility within a new organizational structure, and greater control over the budget and the website. The interim leadership of NCAA expressed that, while this new organization is separate from NCSHLA and NC-AAA, they are hopeful to maintain a positive relationship with other organizations, collaborating on projects of mutual interest. Multiple participants mentioned that other states have successful models of audiology-only organizations. NCAA is recognized both by AAA and ADA as the official audiology state organization of North Carolina.

Key Goals identified by the association and attendees:

  • 1.       Creating a dynamic and engaged membership; inclusive of all audiologists in the state
  • 2.       Offering membership benefits of high value
  • 3.       Maintaining a strong and frequent communication with members
  • 4.       Offering an inclusive and compelling annual audiology conference
  • 5.       Raise public awareness of audiology in the state
  • 6.       Maintain a strong legislative presence

Other areas of discussion included, but were not limited to:

Access to care/philanthropy

Attendees discussed desire for improved access to care, as well as access to audiology jobs, for underserved or diverse populations across different demographics (race, gender, geographic) within the state.

Representation for audiology members

Inclusion and fostering of master’s level audiologists, educational audiologist, and diversity in the profession.

Website and member benefits

A significant amount of time was spent discussing various ideas for member benefits and website content. Participants would like to see the association website become a useful and tangible resource for audiologists.

Leadership and transparency

Attendees would like to see financial transparency from the leadership in order to know where their dues and contributions are being spent. Current dues rates were discussed (as listed on the website). There is currently an interim leadership team; however, it was announced that elections on a slate of candidates would be held around the time of the fall conference, and that interested members should apply.

Committees

Several ideas for committees were discussed, including a committees with goals for increasing collaboration among the state’s audiologists, engaging membership, and educating the public on audiology. Issues around collaboration between adult-focused and pediatric-focused audiologists were discussed.

Ethics and best practice guidelines

Participants discussed having ongoing review of ethical considerations and best practice guidelines as an important component of a state organization.

Students

Multiple students were in attendance at the meeting and expressed a strong desire to be actively involved in the state organization, both at the student level and as participants in committees by having a student seat within the committees. Students saw several needs/ways that they might be able to integrate, and were eager to participate.

Conclusion

The meeting concluded with the interim leadership encouraging participants to sign up for membership and, if interested, to become involved in the new organization through various committees, which currently include committees for communication, conference planning, member engagement, finance, advocacy/education, and the executive board. Attendees were encouraged to spread the word to colleagues not in attendance.

This Weekend: Audiology Town Hall

The North Carolina Audiology Association (NCAA) is a new association, totally independent of any prior organization, and comprised of an audiologist-only membership. We want to make sure that this group is inclusive of all audiologists across North Carolina, from all practice settings and all backgrounds. The new association directors want to hear what you would like out of your state audiology association. More can be accomplished when we all work together! To begin these discussions, please join us at the Audiology Town Hall meeting this coming weekend, Saturday, February 3rd, from 12:30 to 3:30 PM. You can either attend in person, or remotely. Details are listed below - or see our EVENTS.

To attend in person:

The meeting will be held begin at 12:30 PM on Saturday, February 3rd, 2018, on the UNC Campus in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Free parking is located at the Bell Tower Lot (see map). Chaperones and students will be at the event to guide you into the lot and directly to the meeting located in Room G100 of Bondurant Hall.

Chapel Hill is conveniently located in the central part of the state close to the Triangle, and is a great place for a day trip! Before the meeting, grab some lunch at a local college restaurant such as Top of the Hill overlooking the iconic Franklin Street or at Merritt’s Grill, famous for amazing BLT sandwiches. Take a walk on the beautiful historic campus or drive to nearby Carrboro for some local shopping. This Saturday is a great chance to catch up with some colleagues you may not have seen recently!

To attend remotely:

Remember that if you can’t come in person, you can listen and speak to the entire meeting group through webcasting technology that is simple to use. Note, you must have either a computer with speakers and a microphone, or a smartphone or tablet with a speaker and a microphone.

To connect through your laptop, simply wait for a special link to be sent to you via email from NCAA. If you do not receive an email this week, please contact us at ncaudiologyassociation@gmail.com. Simply click on the email once it arrives, and you will be taken to the meeting through your internet browser. No need to download any special software beforehand. Just click “yes” to any prompts asking you to run the website application. Please make sure to keep your microphone muted until you are ready to speak!

To attend the meeting through iPhone, iPad, Android smartphone, or other tablets, go to the App Store (Apple) or Play Store (Android). Download the app “Skype for Business.” That is all you need to do ahead of time. You do not need to create an account beforehand. Just wait for the special link to be sent to you by email. Click on the link and Skype will automatically open up and bring you into the meeting. Please make sure to keep your microphone muted until you are ready to speak!

You will be able to hear the meeting. When you are ready to speak, you can simply speak and your voice will be broadcast on the room speakers so that everyone present and on the webcast will hear you. You can also chat within the Skype application to write down a question as you think of it, or you can Tweet us a question with Twitter!

We hope to see you there!

Looking for Audiology Town Hall Parking?

On Saturday, February 3rd, at 12:30pm, the North Carolina Audiology Association is hosting an Audiology Town Hall and Strategic Meeting. The meeting will be located on UNC's beautiful Chapel Hill campus, in Bondurant Hall- Room G100. Parking is free and nearby at the Bell Tower deck. (see map for details).

To make things even easier, we will have wonderful Audiology doctoral students stationed at the deck to assist with navigation to Bondurant Hall. Look for their signs and smiling faces. With qualified guides like these, there's no excuse not to attend the Town Hall and Strategic Meeting!

2018 North Carolina Audiology Association Conference

We are excited to announce that the conference planning committee led by Tracy Swanson, AuD, has begun releasing preliminary details of the 2018 NC Audiology Association Conference. The conference will be held this year in The City of Oaks on October 4th and 5th, 2018, at the beautiful Raleigh Convention Center.

Speakers are being chosen to fill both a general track on the first day and the attendee’s choice of two tracks on the second day, both a pediatric-focused and an adult-focused track. The committee is working diligently to ensure that, regardless of work environment, all audiologists find the speakers’ topics to be informative and relevant to their profession.

As our Inaugural Conference Keynote Speaker, Ian Windmill, PhD, will join us from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center where he is the Clinical Director of Audiology. Dr. Windmill is President-Elect of the American Academy of Audiology and has a strong interest in the evolution of audiology. He will be discussing a look back and a look forward in our profession, which is particularly relevant in considering the direction our members envision for the new state audiology association. We are so pleased that he will be joining us for this conference!

Stay tuned for more updates on conference details and speakers!