Deborah Berndtson: An Ambassador for Audiology through Grassroots Media
Helping the Professions by Raising Awareness of Their Services
Deborah Berndtson talks about how an interview with ASHA led to a grassroots media campaign regarding the importance of hearing loss and the role audiologists play in the field.
When Deborah Berndtson, AuD, CCC-A, became an audiologist, “lights, camera, action” were not words she thought she would hear when she went to work. But there she was in late November 2011 with a film crew in the University of Maryland’s Hearing and Speech Clinic she supervises.
The crew was taping footage, or “B-roll” as it is known in the news business, for distribution to local television stations nationwide. All of this was preparation for a December 1, 2012, broadcast media launch about an
AARP ASHA poll of AARP members' hearing health. Dr. Berndtson was interviewed for the B-roll shoot as part of her role in serving as an ASHA media spokesperson.
“I was thrilled to help,” she says. She enjoyed the media spokesperson role so much that when ASHA called upon her to assist with the media launch of ASHA's new "Speak Up About Hearing Loss" PSA campaign in May 2012, she jumped at the chance. Via a nationwide satellite media tour, more than 30 outlets from around the country interviewed her about the campaign.
An ASHA member since 1979, Dr. Berndtson had done her part to promote the professions by assisting ASHA’s Government Affairs and Public Policy cluster by doing hearing screenings at several U.S. Senate Health Fairs. However, working as a media spokesperson was a new experience.
“I knew that the hearing health story was going to be a big issue, and I was delighted that ASHA asked me to be a part of it,” Dr. Berndtson explains. She adds that she never felt overwhelmed with the rapid-fire media interviews that are part of satellite media tours. “After doing the first few interviews, I felt at ease with the entire process,” she recalls.
If you are unsure about becoming an ASHA media spokesperson, Dr. Berndtson recommends giving it a try. “Being an ASHA media spokesperson is beneficial in so many ways. It helps the professions by raising awareness for our services, it gives you a new experience and skill set, and it presents you as an expert on communication disorders, which in turn can help drive new clients to your practice.”