- Published on 15 May 2019
For four days in Columbus, Ohio, thousands of delegates looked to learn from and engage with each other and to inspire the next generation of audiologists coming into the profession. There was a smaller exhibition space but increased educational content as the American Academy of Audiology looked to strike the right balance at their annual conference.
The American Academy of Audiology annual gathering opened its doors to thousands of audiologists, hearing aid dispensers, doctors, presenters, exhibitors and students in the last few days in March. Running from Wednesday 27th until Saturday 30th March, the conference welcomes delegates from across North America and the rest of the world to the Greater Columbus Convention Centre in Columbus, Ohio.
Having celebrated 30 years of the AAA in 2018, it was time to commemorate 30 years of conventions in 2019. The AAA celebrated with the ‘Best of Audiology’: four days of education, networking and discovery across hundreds of learning labs, featured sessions, industry updates, exhibitor courses, research podiums, learning modules, student sessions and more than 200 posters. Add to that 174 exhibitors spread across hundreds of thousands of square feet of exhibit space and there truly is something for everyone, whatever their audiology speciality.
Numbers have been fluctuating over the last few years at the AAA convention. Gone are the days when nearly 7,000 people from the profession would mingle in the halls, meeting rooms and exhibition space. Delegate numbers for this year appear to be around the 2,500 mark but that is an estimate by attendees as official numbers have not been released. Despite being well-short of the delegate numbers that attended the 2018 German Congress in Hanover, the American team are still referring to their event as the “world’s largest gathering of audiologists”.
Whilst we can fixate on the number of people in attendance, perhaps we should look more to the audiological content of the event. From an education perspective the 2019 convention featured more than 200 seminars and educational opportunities: including 84 learning modules, 43 industry updates, 27 research podiums, 22 student workshops and events, 15 exhibitor courses, 9 featured sessions, 8 industry novel technologies, 5 learning labs, 5 student research forums and 4 mini modules which included a total of 17 presentations! And then there were 203 Clinical, Research and Teaching posters for audiologists to read and digest. This is a phenomenal number of education and networking events and is in sharp contrast to the singletrack of presentations at the EUHA event.
It takes 10 months for the Program Committee to pull together the four-day education schedule that is designed to heighten clinical skills and enhance professional lives. Erin Miller, Program Chair, told Audio Infos: “Our goal is to meet the needs of professionals practising in different settings, with different populations and across the breadth of audiology.” The program committee, along with the Professional Development Council, spent considerable time reviewing the sessions from previous conferences whilst assessing the current needs to AAA members in the context of an ever-changing audiology landscape.
The team also looked outside of America for inspiration. “We have embraced some of the international community’s approach to continuing education by adding shorter learning opportunities/sessions. We have included a number of “mini-modules” where 6 presenters are given a 10-minute presentation time to discuss their clinical approach or technique. We grouped these shorter presentations together, so attendees can learn different approaches to similar issues from a wide variety of experts. We also contacted our international members and encouraged them to submit to present and opened opportunities for them to moderate sessions at the conference if they didn’t want to present,” Erin Miller said.
The parallel conferences
Several mini conferences were run in parallel with the main event. The Academy Research Conference (ARC) on the first day looked at advances in amplification. Chaired by Todd Rickets, PhD, his committee pulled together an impressive line-up of globallyrenowned presenters for the ARC including Frank Lin, MD, PhD, Brent Edwards, PhD and Graham Naylor, PhD. Recent legislative decisions regarding hearing instrument distribution and regulatory procedures will impact the hearing health landscape over the coming years. Presentations provided the latest advances in the selection and fitting of hearing aids, as well as evidence-based research on best practices and improvement in the quality of life for people with hearing loss.
The third Global Conference on Central Auditory Processing Disorder on Saturday considered the ‘Synergies between Lab and Clinic’ and ran in parallel with the Student Academy of Audiology (SAA) one-day conference.
Read the whole article on Audio Infos United Kingdom #127; click on our library (free access).Photos: AAA