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Let Me Hear From You: Preparing for the Future

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Let Me Hear From You: Preparing for the Future

With preparations for the holidays well underway, and 2014 coming to a close, we begin to consider the changes we will seek to make as we enter the New Year. The end of a calendar year is exciting as we celebrate the holidays with family and friends, but it is also exciting because the possibilities are endless on how we might impact our own personal futures. We must also take seriously what changes we could make to improve our professional futures. Have you considered what your personal or professional New Year's resolution will be in 2015?

I hope each of you will join me in making a professional resolution to rejoin (or join) both the American Academy of Audiology (the "Academy"), and your state audiology organization. For less than 88 cents a day your Academy membership (and this investment is likely less for your state audiology organization), is helping to advance the profession, and secure its future for both current and future professionals.

There is no doubt that we are facing economically challenging times and we evaluate every dollar we spend. It's also true that many of you may be receiving less money for professional memberships, licensure, and certifications from your employers. It's fair to wonder how your dues money is being spent. In this short column, I couldn't possibly list how all of the Academy dues revenue is allocated to support the Academy's mission, but it is important to mention a few tangibles.

The Academy has taken a lead role in representing the profession on both the RUC and CPT Health-Care Professionals Advisory Committee, we create and offer outstanding continuing educational opportunities at AudiologyNOW!, on eAudiology, and through the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology. (Coming soon, regional conferences hosted by the Academy.) We support the creation of practice guidelines and provide representation to other associations in their efforts to produce these valuable documents. The Academy provides members with access to coding and practice management experts. We create valuable resources to assist members with marketing, coding and reimbursement, and practice management issues and post those documents for members to access on our new Web site, and these are just a few examples.

My personal belief is that simply belonging to a national and state association is our professional obligation. Audiology is not simply a job—it is a profession, and with that comes the duty to give back. The work can't get done without all of us contributing. The number of licensed audiologists in the United States is far less than dentists or optometrists. We want many of the same professional benefits that dentists and optometrists receive. With fewer numbers of audiologists it becomes even more critical that each of us contribute with our membership. Not everyone has the time or inclination to volunteer for an association, but the one thing we each can do is become and/or maintain our membership.

Several years ago, Academy Past President Richard Gans gave a riveting speech at the Ohio Audiology Conference on why we must give to the Academy's Political Action Committee (PAC). Part of his message was on how we must make this an annual contribution and he explained that if we all just gave up one outing for pizza and beer a month we could easily make a substantial contribute to the PAC. So my challenge will be to forego just one beverage a week at one of those expensive coffee shops. You will easily save enough money to cover the cost of your dues and you will be able to make this very important professional contribution by being a member of the largest organization of, by, and for audiologists!

We see change happening before us. The new health-care landscape is taking shape. The Academy is assessing audiologist's role in this new system and how we can be recognized for the value we bring. It is imperative that we continue this work to secure audiology's future and each of us need to be a part of it.

Wishing each of you a blessed holiday season and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

Until next time…