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2017: a game-changing year

As the festive season approaches, I wish all members and friends of BSHAA a happy Christmas and look forward to a peaceful 2018, whilst recognising that in the world of audiology, the prospects are for another momentous if turbulent year.
Looking back to this point last year, I would be amazed if many of you would have predicted just how much of a game-changer 2017 would be for the hearing care sector.

We have seen the Lancet, the prestigious mouthpiece of the medical community, providing evidence that taking good care of hearing in mid-life is one of the most powerful things individuals can do to reduce the risk of dementia – one of the cruelest facts of modern life.

We have seen research results bringing the credibility of a randomised control trial (RCT) to demonstrate that hearing aids are good value and a beneficial intervention for mild hearing loss, putting some of the most pernicious myths into their rightful place – buried!  

On the global stage, 180 nations signed a joint resolution demanding that hearing care be placed higher in the priorities of public health and primary care: a fitting response to the realisation that only five years ago, hearing loss did not feature in the top 10 burdens of disability, because the method of calculating the impact of poor hearing was flawed. After correcting the method of assessing the adverse impact on individuals and communities, the consequence of poor hearing has shot up from the 11th to fourth highest global impact.

Plans are well advanced for the first ever shared platform in February, bringing together members of BAA, BSHAA and BSA – a tangible recognition that the hearing care sector is more powerful when we pull together than when we protect our own silos.

Come May and BSHAA will be working in partnership with BIHIMA to deliver a conference, exhibition and education programme drawing on the talents and resources of both the manufacturers and the professional body in new ways.

Closer to home, in one of the highest election turnouts in the Society’s recent history, members chose Andrew Coulter as the Society’s first Vice President to be appointed directly by members, rather than previous appointments to this important post being made behind closed doors.

The Society has been actively involved in seizing the opportunities to break down the barriers within the sector, at the same time as we have been raising the stakes in the policy arena.

And as if that wasn’t enough tangible benefit from your membership, earlier this month we launched Wider Wallet, an affiliate membership scheme making real cash high-street discounts available to all our members.

As the pace of change continues to rise, I’m anticipating another fascinating year ahead. Best wishes to you all.

Prof David WelbournBSHAA Chief Executive

2017: a game-changing year