Hearing Loss Ass’n of America Convention 2010 summary (updated)

The annual convention for the Hearing Loss Association of America wrapped up Sunday morning, following a busy three days of meetings, workshops, speeches, receptions, and a symposium.

Shortly, I’ll be posting the revised and extended notes from the workshop Martha Jones CCC-SLP and I presented on (class)room acoustcs.

There were a few Cheers and Jeers at the Convention worth mentioning:

Cheers to audiologist Tina Childress: She saw the CI processor blinking light on a little old lady sitting next to me, came over, and troubleshooted it, including swapping out coils with her own.

Jeers to HLAA executive director Brenda Battat, who preaches installing loop induction systems (which do .NOT. work well)… But only two of the meeting rooms had loops! The convention center ballroom, where the keynote and hearing aid technology symposiums were held, and the banquet hall in the hotel did .NOT. have loops installed, instead relying on wide area infrared ALD’s (assistive listening devices).

Cheers to Williams Sound for donating the wide area infrared ALD systems actually used. Gee, I wonder why it worked so well?!

Jeers to the unidentified vendor supplying the induction loop ALD system for the reception in the Harley-Davidson Museum: It was not set up properly, since it was too weak; and also there was no high frequency boost to compensate for the steel decking below the concrete floor, the roof decking, and the perforated sheet metal walls.

Cheers to Patricia Trautwein of Advanced Bionics, who booked a much quieter venue  for their reception this year. Sound meter readings were in the 70-75 dBa range, which makes it easier for the hearing impaired.

Jeers to exhibitor Phonak for not having their new Dynamic Soundfield system in their exhibit booth, even though their US headquarters is only 90 minutes away near Chicago.

Cheers to my co-presenter Martha Jones, CCC-SLP for putting on a superb first half of the From Mouth to Ear: Acoustic Architecture, Assistive Listening Devices and New Room Acoustical Standards Workshop.

Jeers to Hearing Aid Research & Development Symposium moderator Dr. Catherine Palmer of Univ. of Pittsburgh: When a fellow Member complained about how her audiologist was not competent in helping her set up ALD’s, she (Palmer) made excuses for the professional incompetence, rather than offering to investigate. In fact, it is incumbent on professors just like her to assure that their audiology schools graduate professionals who are competent in dispensing hearing aids & ALD’s. If these “professionals” can’t — or don’t want to — do the job properly, then they should get out of the business. And if these Ivory Tower professors and schools can’t — or won’t — weed out these inept students, then they should lose their accreditation.
Update (12/30/2010): Here is the 42 page PDF CART transcript of the symposium: Note the (deservedly) openly hostile questions from the audience about their experiences with their audiologists.

Cheers to HLAA’s Nancy Macklin, flying solo for the first time, for putting on a successful convention, and working to contain costs for the Members.

Jeers (again) to Hearing Aid Research & Development Symposium moderator Dr. Catherine Palmer of Univ. of Pittsburgh: The top hearing aid engineer in the world was only 90 minutes away, yet the Big Bald Guy wasn’t even invited. Besides the late Sam Lybarger, Mead Killion has probably helped more people hear better than anyone else in the industry.

Cheers to the management at the Midwest Airlines Center in Milwaukee for keeping the temperature at a comfortable 72 degrees (I measured): This was much more pleasant than the noisy, hot & humid Opryland venue last year.

Jeers (yet again!) to  symposium moderator Dr. Catherine Palmer of Univ. of Pittsburgh and Laurel Christensen of GN ReSound: This time for Palmer’s poor quality control in allowing Christensen to show a five minute movie to the Members without captions! This is the Cardinal Sin, coming in front of an audience of over 500 hearing impaired users, yet not captioning their video. #FAIL! [Thank you to Larry Stiverson at HearingLossWeb.com for his more detailed report on the Symposium.]

Cheers to AOS President and crack cochlear implant surgeon John Niparko, MD, incoming AAA President Patricia Kricos, PhD, VA Chief Audiologist Lucille Beck, PhD and IEC Chair Conny Andersson for taking time out of their busy schedules to fly to Milwaukee to address our Convention. Second cheer to Pat Kricos for spending parts of three days and conducting a workshop: She “gets it” with her excellent attitude towards us in the hearing impaired community.

~edited 3:30PM 9/24/2010

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About the author

Dan Schwartz

Electrical Engineer, via Georgia Tech


  1. Nancy Macklin
    June 28, 2010 at 11:28 am

    This is my second convention. Though I did not select or negotiate the contract for Nashville, the planning was all mine.

  2. Supervisor
    June 28, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Hi Nancy!

    You did as best the job as you could last year, given the crummy Opryland venue you were dealt last year.

    But, you sure earned a Cheer for your great planning and member cost containment for this year’s edition in Milwaukee!

    I have a few minor suggestions for you of things I’ve observed at conventions in other industries that may be helpful, to increase attendance, exhibitors, and revenue. I’ll email them to you separately.~

  3. Anonymous
    August 5, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Excellent wrapup on the convention experience. Thanks for calling out HLAA on the areas they need to improve on for future conferences.

  4. Margaret Hutchison,Au.D.
    January 4, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    I wish that I was in that convention. I am so sure that it is a very fun gathering and also you will learn a lot of important information from all the speakers in that event.

  5. Supervisor
    January 4, 2011 at 11:19 pm


    Nothing is stopping you from joining Pat Kricos at the 2011 Convention! It’s in DC June 16-19, and it abuts the Second Int’l Loop Conference June 18-20, hosted by HLAA. The venue is the Hyatt Crystal City, across the street from Reagan National Airport in DC… You may be able to get a direct flight. And here’s a teaser: You’ll be able to get 16 CEU’s (more with the loop conference) from AAA & ASHA.

    The last time it was in DC was in 1988, with over 1100 people — This year promises to be even bigger, as DC is only 210 miles from NYC & Raleigh-Durham, 130 miles from Philly (which has eight chapters), 90 miles from Richmond, and just 40 miles from Baltimore.

  6. Donette Hamaker
    February 17, 2011 at 4:27 am

    I was wondering if you were interested in conducting a guest article on my web-site. I seriously love reading your blog and I know a great deal of my followers would, too. If little else, you should get some additional visitors for your website!

  7. hearing clinics
    July 1, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Great information, The annual convention for the Hearing Loss Association of America wrapped up Sunday morning. I think, Hearing loss affects not only the person with the hearing loss, but also everyone that comes into contact with that person. This is the fact.
    hearing clinics

    • Dan Schwartz
      July 2, 2011 at 2:07 am

      Actually, this report you just commented on is from the 2010 Convention in Milwaukee: Like every one, it ends on the Sunday morning with the awards breakfast.

      For the wrap-up of the 2011 Convention, please see Smashing Success: HLAA Convention 2011

  8. hearing test
    October 18, 2011 at 5:19 am

    I think lots of patients of hearing loss experienced that kind of feeling. But for me wearing hearing devices is natural today. Hearing loss is not new to our society that is why they don’t need to feel embarrassed. Everyone that wear hearing aid for the first is very hard. Because they feel embarrassed in wearing that kind of device but after days passes. They will know that it is normal in our community today.
    hearing test

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