Audiology Connections - 2022 - 5

FROM THE CHIEF STAFF OFFICER FOR AUDIOLOGY
From the CSO for Audiology
Predicting the Future, Appreciating the Past
Have you ever wished that you could
predict the future? Or at least know
what the future holds? My personal
prediction for the start of 2022 was
that we would be past the worst
of the COVID-19 pandemic and
that the provisions of the Medicare
Audiologist Access and Services Act
(MAASA) would be signed into law.
Unfortunately, my forecasting skills
were a little off.
What I can do for certain is look
back at 2021 and appreciate the
accomplishments that we have made.
Even amid enormous challenges, we
learned many valuable lessons that we
can take forward.
There was a tremendous amount
of teamwork and collaboration in
2021 on behalf of audiologists. The
adage that we are better together
rang true for me in 2021 in my work
at ASHA. Many teams within ASHA
worked collaboratively to advocate
for causes of importance to audiology.
Additionally, it took a village of people
to create and deploy resources that
support the work that audiologists do
every day. ASHA staff and volunteers
joined forces with various other
organizations such as the American
Academy of Audiology (AAA), the
Academy of Doctors of Audiology
(ADA), the Academy of Rehabilitative
Audiology (ARA), and the Educational
Audiology Association (EAA), just to
name a few, to ensure that audiologists
are recognized by Medicare for our
full scope of practice, audiologists
are recognized as practitioners (as
opposed to suppliers) by Medicare,
and Medicare patients can have direct
access to audiological services.
Although we did not get those things
by the end of 2021, ASHA will continue
fighting for these provisions.
In 2021, ASHA worked tirelessly
to increase access to hearing and
vestibular health care. If consumers
don't have easy access to audiological
services, it doesn't matter how good
those services are. ASHA staff spent an
incredible amount of time educating
policymakers and their staff about
the need for better access to hearing
and vestibular health care. Early in
2022, we submitted comments to the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
related to their proposed guidelines
for over-the-counter (OTC) hearing
aids. As consumers gain access to
OTC devices, we want those devices to
be safe and effective. We advocated
for audiologists to have permanent
telehealth authority under Medicare,
which could make our services more
accessible to consumers. ASHA
continues to advocate for Early
Hearing Detection and Intervention
(EHDI) reauthorization and for
disparities in follow-up services after
the initial newborn hearing screening
to be addressed.
Back to predicting the future:
Although none of us can truly know
what the future holds, we can do
everything in our power to plan for and
work toward improving hearing and
vestibular health care and access to
that care for all-from preparing future
audiologists, to delivering care that is
grounded in best practices and based
on evidence, to advocating for our
profession and the people we serve, to
educating the public about the benefits
of seeking audiological care. There is
much to do in 2022.
Donna Smiley, PhD, CCC-A,
Chief Staff Officer for
Audiology, ASHA
asha.org/aud 2022 AUDIOLOGY CONNECTIONS
5
http://www.asha.org/aud

Audiology Connections - 2022

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