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BHI Screens Physicians' Hearing at American Geriatrics Society

May 16, 2008


For Better Hearing and Speech Month, BHI made a strong showing at the American Geriatric Society in Washington, DC. Our goal continues to be to reach out to teach physicians and nurses that, when caring for their patients, hearing screening should be an important part of a physician's best practice protocol. Hearing loss is a neglected aspect of healthcare, even with the geriatric population. In fact at this prestigious Society's annual meeting, not a single seminar dealt with hearing loss.

To heighten awareness of the importance of hearing loss screenings, over 2 days 125 physicians, nurses and medical educators were given threshold hearing screenings using BHI's new teaching audiogram form. The audiologists performing the screenings were Deborah Berndtson (Alexandria, VA), Gail Linn (Rockville, MD), Leslie Lesner (Alexandria, VA), and Lauren Michler (Arlington, VA). Representing BHI were Latisha Harrison and Sergei Kochkin.

Besides 300 earplugs, the more than 200 physician education packets given out consisted of the BHI booklet Your Guide to Better Hearing, 2 reprints of JAMA articles on the physician's role in hearing loss screening, and a pad of our Quick Hearing Checks for use in their practice. We used the earplugs as a teaching tool by asking them to attend a lecture or run their practice with the earplugs in their ears. The consequent 30 dB sound reduction clinically would amount to a "mild" hearing loss. Our message was that, even with this so-called "mild" loss, they would in fact find it quite difficult to function. Finally we demonstrated how in their practice they could use a hand-held hearing screener.

Hearing Aid Tax Credit Website Update

In the two weeks after we unveiled our website www.hearingaidtaxcredit.org, Congress received nearly 4,000 letters in support of the hearing aid tax credit. If you have not yet begun a campaign to promote this website, now is the time to do so. For a list of 12 methods and tools to promote this website, please see our previous eNewsletter.

BHI has written a second OpEd piece titled "Winning in Washington: Financial Assistance for Hearing Aids?". The NAPS syndicated news service will make this article available to 10,000 local American newspapers. Hearing health providers are encouraged to print this article and then take it to their local editors for printing. Editors are always looking for stories, especially for neighborhood newspapers; local editors may download this article at www.napsnet.com.

For the front of your website, we now have a self-explanatory logo promoting the tax credit website. Simply have your webmaster hyperlink to www.hearingaidtaxcredit.org.

Quick Check Validation Project Update

In order to prove the utility of our Quick Hearing Check, we continue to invite hearing health professionals to enter audiogram data and the BHI Quick Hearing Check score at www.betterhearing.org/audiogram. Our goal is to predict threshold and speech discrimination scores using this paper and pencil test developed by AAO-HNS. Currently, we have received 295 audiograms from hearing health professionals. Your further assistance in this research project is very important.

BHI Featured in Syndicated Column Annie's Mailbox

A letter from Sergei Kochkin to Annie's Mailbox appeared in 61 American newspapers reaching an estimated audience of 2.6 million. The letter stressed the impact of hearing loss on quality of life, especially job performance. Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers advice column.

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