Sessions & Speakers

The THAA 2022 Annual Convention & Trade Show will be held June 24–25, 2022, at the Royal Sonesta Houston. Click here to view the full schedule.

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Friday, June 24

The Last 75 Years of Marketing and Process Automation (1 Hour)
Speaker: Dusty Potter, BC-HIS, Owner, Amplify OMS/Ear Level Marketing

This course will educate the user about the development of marketing and process automation over the last 75 years and explain how your hearing instrument practice is defined by the sum of its processes and behaviors, many of which can be automated to intentionally deliver outstanding patient care repeatedly to create bulletproof outcomes. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. The organization of patient data.
  2. Automation and HIPAA compliance.
  3. Introduction to automating the patient experience—how to let computers do what they do well so that humans can shine.
  4. Creating social proof of your performance in your office.

About the Speaker: A second-generation hearing instrument specialist, Dusty has been connected to hearing care most of his life. After being a music major and restaurant manager, Dusty entered the hearing care field in 2001 serving as an apprentice under his mother. He opened his first practice in 2007, growing that business to a peak of 22 locations. It was during this time that he became frustrated with his options of management software and decided to create his own, Amplify OMS. Dusty later released Amplify OMS to a limited number of other practices in 2019. In 2021, Dusty reduced the size of his dispensing practice to his location in Wichita Falls, Texas, and two satellites. This enabled him to concentrate on Amplify OMS and his digital marketing and web development business, Ear Level Marketing. In summer 2022, Dusty will release a new marketing automation platform for hearing care practices—amplifyCRM Pro. Dusty resides in Wichita Falls along with his wife, Janet. The couple have three boys—Aiden, Logan, and Keegan. In his spare time, he plays bass and guitar in several local bands that can be seen around the Wichita Falls area.


Signia Augmented Xperience: Fitting Strategies (1 Hour)
Speaker: Dr. Sonie Harris, Sr. Clinical Education Specialist, Signia Hearing

Signia’s AX technology platform continues its evolution with new features and products for patient benefit. Today’s consumers with hearing loss are looking for innovative technology-driven solutions, and Signia delivers. Attendees will learn about new features expansions in both technology and product styles. In addition, AX fitting strategies using Connexx software will be reviewed to promote excellent patient outcomes. This course will explore the latest technology features available in the AX platform, newer hearing aid styles, as well as updated fitting options within the Connexx software. Various case scenarios will be used to describe fitting considerations for the new technology options and hearing aid selection.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to describe three new technology features in Signia AX products.
  2. Participants will be able to explain the benefits of split processing.
  3. Participants will be able describe the steps of a successful first fit of Signia AX hearing aids.

About the Speaker: Dr. Harris is a Clinical Education Specialist for Signia. She is responsible for training customers and sales staff on the company’s current technology and products. She conducts training sessions in customers’ offices, remotely, and at regional and national events. Dr. Harris has been with Signia for 10 years, serving accounts in both the commercial market and government services. Prior to working at Signia, she was a clinical supervisor for University of Northern Colorado, specializing in adult and pediatric amplification, educational audiology, and hearing conservation. She earned her undergraduate and graduate degree from University of Northern Colorado and doctorate from University of Florida.


Saturday, June 25

IHS Policy Perspectives and Updates for the Hearing Professional (1 Hour)
Speaker: Alissa Parady, Executive Director, International Hearing Society

IHS Executive Director Alissa Parady will provide a review of relevant legislative, regulatory, and other activities being undertaken by the federal government, agencies, work groups, and organizations that seek to address hearing health care policy. In the U.S., these will include updates on the application of the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act, Medicare proposals, veterans’ care, World Health Organization activities, and much more. She will also review new resources and news from the International Hearing Society that affect the role and advancement of hearing health professionals in their knowledge, professionalism, and practice.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify the national legislative and regulatory actions and initiatives underway that may affect hearing aid dispensing professionals and/or their clients/patients.
  2. Understand the role of international discussions about hearing healthcare in policymaking in future hearing healthcare policymaking and consumer awareness.
  3. Identify new education, resources, and tools that may assist the professional/practice in providing high-quality care to clients/patients.

About the Speaker: Alissa Parady serves as IHS Executive Director, having been appointed Interim ED in February 2022, and the role being made permanent in April 2022. Alissa joined the International Hearing Society in January 2011, coming on as Government Affairs Manager and expanding her role over the years to become Director of Government and Chapter Affairs. In her prior role, Alissa was responsible for advocating for the positions and priorities of the International Hearing Society and its membership at the international and federal levels, managing the organization’s payer advocacy and fundraising efforts, and overseeing IHS’ state and provincial advocacy program. This experience developed her keen understanding of the organizational and professional needs of the Society and its members, which she works directly with the IHS Board of Governors and staff to target and deliver. Alissa also serves as Executive Director of the National Board for Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences and Hearing Aid Foundation. Prior to joining IHS, Alissa spent five years managing state legislative affairs for the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. She also served as a lobbyist for a Connecticut hospital system, worked on various state and local campaigns in Connecticut and Kentucky, and worked for the Connecticut General Assembly as a legislative aide. Alissa graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Connecticut.


Strategies for Thriving in a Changed World (1.5 Hours)
Speakers: Michele Ahlman, President, HITEC/ClearSounds/ClearDigital Media, and Carla Hoffman, BC-HIS, Owner, Hoffman Hearing Solutions

There is no question our world has changed, and this includes the hearing instrument industry. The past several years have altered our perspectives, affected how we process information, impacted what we choose to put our faith in, changed how we navigate serving our customers, and affected our psychology and the psychology of our customers. Navigating through the past couple of years successfully has not been easy. In this session, we will expand on the hearing instrument marketing strategies and learnings from previous years while exploring new simple, effective strategies for creating a patient/customer experience that drives referrals, builds trust, and positions your hearing care practice to thrive in what is a changed world.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Define all of the components of the ‘Customer Experience’ for hearing instrument specialists.

  2. Define each step in the Customer Journey for hearing instrument specialists.
  3. Define key strategies that can be implemented by Hearing Instrument Specialists throughout the Customer Journey to improve the Customer Experience.
  4. Develop your own Customer Journey Map.

About the Speakers: Michele Ahlman is CEO of Clear Digital Media, an Austin-based privately held company that prides itself in providing high-quality, educational content to hearing healthcare providers’ waiting rooms. Michele is responsible for leading the development and execution of both long- and short-term strategies and strategic partnerships. With vision, passion, and commitment, this privately held, family-run, women-owned company creatively, stylishly, and economically transforms healthcare waiting rooms into a powerful patient engagement tool. As CEO and company cheerleader, Michele’s goal is to give people a great waiting room experience that gives patients an opportunity to learn about their health, their clinic, and the latest healthcare trends. She believes that being informed is an essential part of an enjoyable life, and is dedicated to delivering it in the most ingenious ways. Michele Ahlman is CEO of Clear Digital Media, an Austin-based company that creates and delivers inspirational and educational content to patients in hearing care practices, creating life-changing moments at the point of care. Michele is a second-generation entrepreneur with 30 years of diverse experience, from managing a hearing care practice to developing one of the leading brands of assistive listening devices as the CEO of ClearSounds Communications, contributing to a wealth of insights and a few wrinkles.

Carla Hoffman is a Board-Certified Licensed Hearing Instrument Specialist who has served the Coastal Bend Area for the past 18 years in the hearing healthcare industry. Carla cares deeply for her local and professional community and has served on the Texas State Licensing Committee, the Texas Hearing Aid Association Board, the Board for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Executive Women International, Junior League, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Kiwanis, Aggie Moms, and PTA, and was the recipient of the 2013 Texas Hearing Aid Association Dispenser of the Year award. Her passion is educating her community, helping those with hearing loss overcome their communication barriers, and her beloved family. She loves to fish, cook, and enjoy all the amenities South Texas has to offer with her husband Dan and their four children. She also enjoys cheering on the Aggies as well as sports teams from her home state of Minnesota.


Managed Care Credentialing and Contracting for Your Private Practice (1.5 Hours)
Speaker: Christy Farrar, Owner, Farrar Consulting

A guideline to managed care credentialing, re-credentialing, and contract negotiations. We will discuss how the various insurance plans throughout Texas contract with hearing instrument specialists versus audiologists, and the impact that has on billing.

Learning Objectives:

  1. To gain a better understanding of the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH) and the impact this has on hearing instrument specialists and credentialing.
  2. To understand the importance of properly structured credentialing and contracting, and how this directly affects a private practice's insurance billing. We will discuss this as it relates to dispensing practices as well as dispensing practices that also employ audiologists.

About the Speaker: Christy is the owner of Farrar Consulting and has been in the healthcare industry for over 25 years. Farrar Consulting provides managed care credentialing, contracting, and full-service medical billing to audiology and dispensing practices nationwide. She received her Bachelor of Science in Health Professions with a major in Health Care Administration from Texas State University. She began her career working in home health, where she hired and supervised a team of over 200 Certified Nurses' Aids and home health attendants throughout Central Texas, among other duties. Christy began her consulting career in 2010 and has successfully built multiple managed care networks for insurance plans across the nation. With a passion for assisting private practice owners, she began Farrar Consulting in April of 2014 and has successfully improved the managed care profile and financial bottom line of many medical practices throughout the nation, while easing their administrative burden and allowing them to focus on patient care. Christy lives in Richmond, Texas, with her husband Scott, and is the proud mom of Will, Allison, and Mack. She enjoys going to the beach, entertaining, gardening, and watching college football.


Got an Earful? Introducing OtoSet®, the First FDA-Cleared Automated Cerumen Removal Ear Cleaning System (1 Hour)
Speaker: Mandi Chambless, Director of Customer Experience, SafKan Health

The OtoSet® Ear Cleaning System is the first FDA-cleared and automated cerumen removal device for clinical use. In a 30-second cleaning cycle, liquid flow is directed from solution containers through disposable ear tips and towards the walls of the ear canals to break down cerumen. Continuous micro-suction draws the cerumen and liquid back through the ear tips and into disposable waste containers for a mess-free procedure. This course will outline the cerumen management challenges faced by both hearing healthcare providers and their patients, including limitations of current available techniques and the effect of cerumen on hearing aid repairs and patient retention. The story of the OtoSet® from idea to implementation as well as the benefits of the OtoSet® will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:

  1. List two problems commonly experienced by patients as a result of cerumen impaction.
  2. Identify current challenges in conventional cerumen removal methods and devices.
  3. List four key advantages of using the OtoSet® over conventional cerumen removal methods and devices.

About the Speaker: Mandi Chambless joined SafKan Health as the Director of Customer Experience in March of 2022. She received her B.S. in Communications Disorders from Southwest Texas State University in 2002 and went on to receive her Doctorate in Audiology from the University of North Texas in 2006. After her graduate studies, Mandi worked as a dispensing audiologist in various clinical settings and then held a position as a field trainer and senior remote support audiologist for a top five hearing aid manufacturer. Prior to joining the SafKan Health team, Mandi worked as a Clinical Specialist for a cochlear implant manufacturer.

 


A Commitment to Excellence (1.5 Hours)
Speaker: Kyle Harber, Manager, Clinical Education-Central, Widex USA

Complete Hearing Care looks and sounds different in 2022. Innovations in sound delivery, brainwave activity, and a deep understanding of the listening needs of today’s consumer are critical to maximize satisfaction. The discussion, treatment plan, and specific features will revolve around these modern needs and best practices.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Advanced hearing instrument features will be discussed to individualize a modern treatment plan. Understanding how and when to use these features will be intended takeaways for those in attendance.

About the Speaker: Kyle is an audiologist and manages the central region for the clinical education specialist team. He studied communication disorders at Oklahoma State University and audiology at the University of North Texas with research emphasis on cognitive decline and amplification in the Alzheimer’s population. Following his studies, he worked in an ENT setting where he focused on both audiological/vestibular diagnostics and amplification. Before his current role at Widex, Kyle was a regional sales manager within the organization. Outside of his professional life he has a passion for giving back to the community through fostering in the local community and volunteering through Be the Match. Hobbies and interests include quality time with family and friends, cheering on the OSU Cowboys, playing sports, kayaking, and camping.


Exactly What to Say in Hearing Healthcare (1.5 Hours)
Speaker: Nicholas Pitt, HIS, Ed.S., Vice President, Optimal Hearing

Quite often, the difference between success and failure in your practice can be pinpointed to the compounded impact of your conversations. Words matter, and understanding how you can use language to control a conversation is certain to provide you a fair advantage in many of your daily interactions. Whether you are looking to lead your team or are in a complex conversation with a patient or negotiating with a supplier—knowing the right things to say, in the right way, and at the right time is certain to have an instant positive outcome on your results. This thought-provoking session will have you enthralled from the very start as you discover the power that language has over the subconscious brain, gain practical examples that you can apply instantly, and learn how the “Magic Words” from the best-selling book Exactly What to Say are applied to your specific business-critical situations. This session delivers immediate actionable outcomes, where you can expect to be keen to work on your new word choices as early as the next break that follows!

Learning Objectives:

  1. Help attendees with tools to better ethically control conversations.
  2. Empower confidence to ask patients and providers for more.
  3. Learn skills to overcome objections and indecision in critical moments.
  4. Increase competence in creating more opportunities from interactions.
  5. Discover precise word choices that inspire action.
  6. Reframe thinking around “Sales” in a healthcare environment.

About the Speaker: Nick is a third-generation hearing instrument specialist with Optimal Hearing, based out of the Southeast U.S. After graduating from the University Georgia (05, BBA, Risk Management and BS, Spanish), he opted to pursue international education prior to joining the family practice. After 10 years of teaching and learning in Argentina, Thailand, Turkey, and Japan, Nick and his family decided to move back to Athens, GA, where he joined Optimal Hearing as a hearing instrument specialist. He currently serves as the Vice President of Business Development for Optimal Hearing Systems, and he has helped grow the practice through dedicated patient care and servant leadership. He regularly consults with independent practice owners and aspiring owners as well as sees patients on a regular basis in Athens and the Atlanta area.


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