The Great New 8: SIG Focuses on Public Health Audiologic issues affecting public health have attracted increasing attention in the media in recent years. ASHA has taken the lead with other professional and consumer groups in campaigns (e.g., early hearing screening and “Listen to Your Buds”) to identify and prevent hearing loss. Last year a group of ASHA members ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   June 01, 2011
The Great New 8: SIG Focuses on Public Health
Author Notes
  • Roberta B. Aungst, MS, CCC-A, audiology consultant and clinical service provider, is coordinator of SIG 8. Contact her at rbaungst@comcast.net.
    Roberta B. Aungst, MS, CCC-A, audiology consultant and clinical service provider, is coordinator of SIG 8. Contact her at rbaungst@comcast.net.×
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Hearing Disorders / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   June 01, 2011
The Great New 8: SIG Focuses on Public Health
The ASHA Leader, June 2011, Vol. 16, 24. doi:10.1044/leader.AN5.16062011.24
The ASHA Leader, June 2011, Vol. 16, 24. doi:10.1044/leader.AN5.16062011.24
Audiologic issues affecting public health have attracted increasing attention in the media in recent years. ASHA has taken the lead with other professional and consumer groups in campaigns (e.g., early hearing screening and “Listen to Your Buds”) to identify and prevent hearing loss.
Last year a group of ASHA members reconstituted ASHA Special Interest Division 8—now Special Interest Group (SIG) 8—in the wake of the recent restructuring of the divisions program. SIG 8 was one of the inaugural divisions in the program, which ASHA created in 1988. Originally focused on hearing conservation and occupational audiology, the new SIG 8 incorporates those topics, but also features a more global focus on public health issues in hearing and balance.
The group’s focus areas are:
  • Noise and hearing loss prevention.

  • Acoustic measurement and standards.

  • Environmental studies and policy.

  • Legislation pertaining to accessibility and accommodations for those with hearing and balance disorders.

  • Epidemiologic and sociologic considerations.

  • Forensic audiology.

  • Emergent issues related to high-risk variables including ototoxins, infectious disease, acoustic (neuro-otologic) trauma, and violence.

  • Innovations in telepractice.

The committee developed a new mission statement, to “address public health issues related to hearing and balance through a transdisciplinary approach. The goal is to be inclusive across the human life span and across cultural groups, and to address topics including hearing loss prevention (e.g., military, occupational, recreational), sudden hearing loss, forensic audiology, falls prevention and other balance-related issues, as well as epidemiologic and sociologic issues.”
Since its constitution last fall, the Coordinating Committee has been communicating by conference call and e-mail; four of the five members met informally at the ASHA convention in November. At its first official face-to-face meeting in March at the ASHA national office, the committee developed a strategic plan, met with ASHA staff, discussed the editorial calendar for Perspectives, and planned a seminar and a short course for the 2011 ASHA convention in San Diego. The short course, presented by Mark Krumm from Kent State University and colleagues from around the world, will focus on telepractice technology for audiologists and other professionals. John Ribera from Utah State University will present a seminar on the audiological perspective on traumatic brain injury.
The audiology affiliates meeting at the 2010 ASHA Convention focused on issues of concern to SIG 8, including epidemiologic findings related to psychosocial, physical, and sensory changes experienced by older adults; the forensic implications of investigative audiology; implications of the Centers for Disease Control’s Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EDHI) program; and public health implications of noise.
In addition, two Coordinating Committee members worked with national office audiology staff to develop a response to the document Interpretation of OSHA’s Provisions for Feasible Administrative of Engineering Controls of Occupational Noise. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently withdrew this document, which would have mandated stricter noise prevention in workplaces, following preliminary comment.
The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) and the Institute of Noise Control Engineering (INCE/USA) are developing a proposal for a national educational and awareness campaign on community and environmental noise that “will produce a more informed public on the topic of noise in America and what can be done to mitigate its harmful effects on the public health and welfare.” The SIG 8 Coordinating Committee will monitor this proposal.
The following benefits will be available to all SIG 8 affiliates:
  • An online issue of SIG 8 Perspectives, published annually in November.

  • The online issue of Perspectives on Audiology, a collaborative publication from all the audiology-related SIGs.

  • Reduced fees for select SIG-sponsored short courses at convention.

  • Access to the audiology groups’ e-mail discussion lists.

The Coordinating Committee encourages all interested ASHA members to affiliate with SIG 8 and anticipates hearing from members about ideas, new products, and publications on important public health issues related to hearing and balance.
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June 2011
Volume 16, Issue 6