To optimize human connection and effective communication through advocacy—with a focus on public health issues relative to hearing abilities and balance health.
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.
- To facilitate greater visibility of—and a higher profile for—audiology public health in allied fields.
- To raise awareness about and to promote prevention of hearing and balance disorders to reduce individual and societal impact.
- To promote the inclusion of audiologists on interprofessional teams to support patient-centered care and improve outcomes.
- To serve as subject matter experts within ASHA for public health issues in hearing abilities and balance health, and to provide expertise in ASHA’s outreach and media efforts.
- To support health advocacy groups (e.g., American Diabetes Association) in their endeavors to include hearing and balance considerations in standards of care for other specialties.
- To disseminate timely information concerning research, clinical activities, meetings, and educational opportunities related to audiology public health through the SIG 8 Online Community.
- Assessment: Support surveillance and risk assessment.
- Support epidemiology studies (e.g., epidemiology of hearing loss and balance study)
- Support newborn hearing screenings and early childhood hearing health programs
- Support hearing screenings for adults
- Identify populations at risk for hearing and balance disorders, particularly those at risk for health disparity
- Identify barriers to audiology health care
- Work to reduce health inequity
- Support development of an outcomes research database for the purpose of defining success or efficacy of rehabilitation interventions
- Policy: Inform, educate, and empower clinicians and the public about hearing health. Mobilize community partnerships, and develop policies.
- Influence public policy through informing, educating, and empowering professionals and the public about hearing loss and its impact on quality of life
- Advocate for awareness and the need for regulations related to community noise
- Promote occupational noise monitoring programs
- Promote public health campaigns for hearing loss prevention programs such as Dangerous Decibels or other educational/school partnerships
- Promote hearing health literacy
- Advocate for community health workers (e.g., promotoras)
- Support open wireless standards for hearing aids
- Advocate for reimbursement for rehabilitation services that fall outside the fitting of hearing aids
- Support hearing aid tax credits and/or insurance coverage of hearing aids
- Organize for policy action
- Assurance: Advocate that hearing health needs are met. Evaluate the effectiveness of hearing health care, interventions, programs, and services. Provide, or support the provision of, services directly to the public, which include the following:
- Individualized education program in schools for children with hearing loss
- Improved classroom acoustics
- Increase accessibility to audiology services to populations confronted with health care barriers (e.g., partnering with remote area health care providers) in an effort to reduce health inequity
- Support the development of a scope of practice for audiology assistants
- Advocate for more rigorous training accreditation
- Promote audiology health care delivery methods outside the sound booth (e.g., home visits)
- Ensure better access to hearing-related benefits and devices, particularly in underserved populations
- Consider alternative sound amplification devices
- Advocate for improved built environment room acoustics
Affiliate Benefits and SIG Programs
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups is the online peer-reviewed scholarly review journal of the SIGs. SIG 8 offers new self-study CE activities through Perspectives each year.
Earn ASHA continuing education units (CEUs) through
- Self-study of Perspectives and pay the lowest processing fee to take the learning assessments
- SIG sponsored Master Classes and one-hour sessions at the annual ASHA Convention.
SIG 8 Affiliates have access to exclusive discussion forums/groups, which provide the opportunity to interact with other SIG Affiliates who share interest in public health audiology. Use ASHA Member Directory to search for individuals by SIG affiliation. In addition, SIG 8 Affiliates can meet in person and online at an ASHA and SIG 8 sponsored events; typically each SIG hosts an Affiliates meeting at Convention and sponsors a virtual open house.
Representation Within ASHA
- The SIG 8 Coordinator represents the Special Interest Group on Audiology and Public Health within the ASHA Board of Special Interest Group Coordinators.
- The Coordinating Committee responds to ASHA requests for input regarding policy, guidelines, committees, and other issues.
- Affiliates have the opportunity to provide input to the SIG leadership and ASHA.
ASHA Web Resources
Web Links Related to Hearing Loss Prevention
The following list is not comprehensive, but does, we hope, include useful sites for professionals interested in hearing loss prevention. Inclusion in the list does not represent an endorsement by the SIG 8 or by ASHA of the site owner/content.
Coordinating Committee Members
- 2023–2025 Coordinator: Amy Nichole Boudin, DoD Hearing Center of Excellence
- 2023 Associate Coordinator: Sarah E. Warren, University of Memphis
- 2023–2025 Editor: Lauren Dillard, Medical University of South Carolina
- 2021–2023 Professional Development Manager: Laura S. Coco, University of Arizona
- 2023–2025 Member-at-Large: Charia A. Hall, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
- 2022–2024 Member-at-Large: Quintin A. Hecht, DoD Hearing Center of Excellence
- Ex Officio: Marquitta Merkison, Associate Director, Audiology Professional Practices, ASHA
View the Editorial Board Roster for Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups.
Professional Development Committee
- Laura S. Coco, Professional Development Manager
- Danielle Sturgeon Powell
- Kelly M. Reavis
- Sarah E. Warren
- Lauren Dillard, Editor
- Marquitta Merkison, Ex Officio
Liaisons to the ASHA Board of Directors
- Janice R. Trent, 2022–2024 Vice President for Audiology Practice
- Linda I. Rosa-Lugo, 2021–2023 Vice President for Speech-Language Pathology Practice