A Fresh Perspective for Four SIGs

July 2, 2021

ASHA’s audiology and hearing-related Special Interest Groups (SIGs) 6, 7, 8, and 9 have been part of the Special Interest program from its inception in 1988. Over the years, each SIG’s leadership has ensured that their respective SIG addresses current issues and topics; however, the title, vision, and mission of three of the four SIG have not been updated since their start. Also, during the past several years, the scope of each of these four SIGs has become unclear. We recognized the need to revise the title, vision, and mission to reflect current research and practice and to better delineate topics and issues addressed by each SIG.

As a result, we convened a working group. The working group comprised the SIG coordinators, the Board of Special Interest Groups Coordinators (BSIGC) chair, ASHA Board of Directors (BOD) liaisons, and ex officios. Because the four SIGs address unique but overlapping topics, populations, and settings, the working group committed to working collaboratively.

From April 2020 through August 2020, the SIG coordinators—along with other coordinating committee members—identified key topic areas, areas of overlap, and missing topics within their respective SIG. The coordinators then shared their suggested revised title, mission, vision, and topic areas with other members of the working group—further refining information as group members agreed upon wording and content. Once the working group was satisfied with the draft information, sequential peer reviews followed: These peer reviews were conducted with respective SIG affiliates and non-affiliate ASHA members who have expertise in audiology and hearing-related matters.

Peer review comments helped the working group to further define the following titles, visions, and missions that were submitted to and approved by the BOD [BOD 11- 2021]:

SIG 6, Hearing and Balance Sciences: Research and Clinical Applications

Mission: To provide a forum for clinicians, researchers, and students involved in hearing and balance sciences and clinical care to share, learn, and collaborate to further advance evidence-based audiological services and research.

Vision: To be the community where audiologists, speech-language pathologists, researchers, and students can share ideas to (a) foster scholarship and research and (b) offer opportunities to collaborate on advancements in hearing and balance sciences and in clinical applications.

SIG 7, Auditory Rehabilitation

Mission: To promote comprehensive, culturally sensitive, evidence-based, and patient/person/family-centered auditory rehabilitation practices by audiologists and speech-language pathologists.

Vision: To support and connect an active community of professionals who maximize communication and quality of life across a range of abilities related to hearing and other functions of the ear through shared knowledge and resources.

SIG 8, Public Health Audiology

Mission: To promote, improve, and maintain public health across the lifespan through assessment, policies, and assurance related to audiology by advancing ear, hearing, balance, and overall health.

Vision: To optimize human connection and effective communication through advocacy—with a focus on public health issues relative to hearing abilities and balance health.

SIG 9, Pediatric Hearing and Hearing Disorders

Mission: To be an interprofessional, collaborative community for the creation, exchange, and dissemination of evidence-based knowledge related to the prevention, identification, assessment, and treatment of hearing and balance disorders and differences during childhood and adolescence.

Vision: To engage, inform, and connect a community of professionals who have an interest in identifying, supporting, and maximizing the outcomes of the diverse pediatric population with hearing and balance disorders and differences.

Special thanks to SIG Coordinators Erika Shakespeare (SIG 6), Elizabeth Humphrey (SIG 7), Kathy Gates (SIG 8), and Kristina Blaiser (SIG 9); BSIGC Chair Melissa Jakubowitz; BOD Liaison Sharon Sandridge (Vice President for Audiology Practice); ex officios Deborah Berndtson (SIG 6), Paul Farrell (SIG 7), Tricia Ashby (SIG 8), Regina Zappi (SIG 9), and Bria Collins (SIG 9); and BSIGC ex officio Michelle Ferketic. 

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