- Published on 14 December 2016
Glasgow, Scotland, was the host city for the 2016 British Academy of Audiology conference. Focussing on the theme ‘People in Audiology’ the event welcomed hundreds of people in audiology from nine countries and from many different sectors for the 13th annual gathering.
The annual conference of the British Academy of Audiology was held in Scotland for the second time in 13 years. The Scottish Education and Conference Centre in Glasgow normally hosts the likes of the Chemical Brothers, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Fat Boy Slim but on the 10th and 11th November the venue welcomed hundreds of audiologists, scientists, students and manufacturers from across the UK and abroad to the two-day BAA Conference.
Jagjit Sethi, BAA President, welcomed 500 delegates from 9 countries to “The largest Audiology conference in the UK.” The 2016 conference programme was purposely redesigned, with the number of parallel tracks reduced. The programme was focussed on giving delegates the tools and skills they need to implement immediate improvements to clinical practice. This year a series of ‘All you need to know’ sessions were included in the programme. These sessions took place in the hour after lunch each day and provided all the information and tools needed to take back to departments to implement the given test/technique/knowledge straightaway. Live, online resources were provided for delegates to download as the talks happened.
Keynote speakers from Australia, American and homegrown talent provided food for thought and practical solutions for everyday practice. There was a surprise ‘hit’ at conference. Those in the private sector and in the manufacturing community are familiar with the work of Curtis Alcock, but for many at the British Academy of Audiology conference this was the first time they have seen Alcock present. A hearing aid dispenser and business owner from the South West, Curtis has devoted a lot of thinking time to how we approach people who may require audiological help. He shares this thoughts and proposals through the Audira think tank. This was the first time he presented his ideas to BAA delegates. His presentation was greatly received.
Disruptions in American audiology
President of the American Academy of Audiology, Ian Windmill, spoke about disruptive innovation in clinical audiology. He talked about how great companies fail in the face of disruptive innovations that happen. Established companies are listening to the needs of their customers, focussing their investments on the innovations with the highest returns and they tend not to commit to the disruptive technologies until it is too late. Potential disruptions can come in technology, delivery systems, economics, innovation and regulatory.
The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and the National Academy of Medicine have produced recommendations on hearing care in the US that could disrupt the delivery of audiologic care. In American audiology, PSAPs (Personal Sound Amplification Products) are a disruptive technology that could prove to be disruptive to the delivery system and the regulatory framework. (Since Ian Windmill’s talk, changes have been made by the FDA).
In the US they have started the discussion about ‘dispensing’. Audiologists currently do not have dispensing rights, but they are now looking at including this in their scope of practice. It could take 20 years but with the shift in treatment to pharmaceuticals it will become necessary for the profession.