I have attended and/or sponsored my employees’ attendance to most FLAA Conventions since the inception of the organization. The 2015 convention was one of the best because attendance was significantly up from last year at a time when our profession needs a boost in Florida. FLAA is our best hope to meet our challenges in this state.
The yearly manufacturer’s panel is a community forum. At this conference there was one session with hearing aid manufacturers and one session with other manufacturers of items such as cochlear implants. I attended the hearing aid manufacturers’ forum and I can tell you it was a tense atmosphere. Some of our members are very disappointed in both unlicensed activities by insurance companies and manufacturers who support big box stores. My take on this is that our world is changing and in my opinion a lot of those changes are consumer driven.
Speaking of consumers, this year we got reconnected with the Florida Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America. We gave them a booth and invited Dr. Juliette Sterkens to present a very interesting tier one course on improved looping technology. Looping is a national initiative by HLAA. The Florida Chapter has several thousand followers and a very active group of volunteers who are excited about mutually sharing website content with FLAA. They are impressed with our new website. The HLAA attendees were very appreciative of our support and interest in them.
Again, why do I think this was one of the best conventions? At a time when our profession is being challenged this conference brought together Audiologists, vendors and the consumers. There is strength in numbers and in my opinion the consumer is one of the most important elements to promote change. If as members we become more engaged with FLAA and HLAA then we can have a bright future in Florida.
Dan Gardner M.S. is an audiologist and 40 year veteran of the hearing industry. He is CEO of Gardner Audiology in Tampa Bay. You can contact Dan at www.gardneraudiology.com