CLOSING THE AUDIOLOGY GAP: EPISODE ONE
This entry of the GSI Blog is a reaction to the first video in the series, Closing the Audiology Gap, that features two of our most beloved key opinion leaders: Robert Margolis, PhD and James W Hall, III, PhD. Dr. Margolis and Dr. Hall have been influential in the audiology profession for decades. They both were professors and saw patients in their university clinics and are both very dedicated to hearing healthcare. It was so interesting to have them sit down in the same room and talk about some of the challenges that are facing the profession, as well as the future of audiology.
The first video in this series is an overview – or a teaser. It’s only about 3 and a half minutes long, and in that time, there are clips of Dr. Margolis and Dr. Hall discussing three important topics: Increased Need for Audiologists, Improving Access to Hearing Healthcare through Automation, and The Future of Automated Audiology. Based on this paragraph alone, I want to watch more!
There are many studies on the demographics of patients and number of audiologists that have been circulated throughout the years. One of the first papers I remember reading was published by Barry Freeman and Ian Windmill in 2009 and it talked about the Crisis in Audiology. I think I actually laughed out loud. It was crazy to me that there was going to be a crisis in audiology as I found myself looking for jobs and competing with other peers for limited positions. But as time has passed, it is becoming increasingly evident that there IS a crisis in audiology. There are not enough hearing healthcare professionals to meet the number of patients who need audiologic services. This is a global issue and I thought that Dr. Hall and Dr. Margolis did a nice job of summarizing this in the video.
The second and third topics in this video are around automation. In this context, they’re speaking about automated audiometry – specifically, AMTAS. This is an automated method for testing auditory sensitivity that was developed by Dr. Margolis over many decades of planning, experience, research, and validation. The thing that really sticks out in this section is that initially, Dr. Margolis developed AMTAS to make his clinic run more efficiently, but has since realized the huge impact AMTAS can have on helping people access hearing healthcare. AMTAS is positioned to become a key player in store-and-forward teleaudiology because it is patient directed and professionally interpreted which truly increases access.
Finally, the biggest hurdle we have is embracing the technology as a profession. Audiologists and Hearing Healthcare professionals tend to be hugely skeptical of automated tests that have historically been performed manually. Dr. Margolis and Dr. Hall provide a compelling case for automation. I would encourage everyone to check out this overview video!
Watch part one of the Closing the Audiology Gap interview here, and check back with the GSI Blog for reviews on the remaining chapters!