Home Academia & Research Spotlight on SIG 6, Hearing and Hearing Disorders: Research and Diagnostics

Spotlight on SIG 6, Hearing and Hearing Disorders: Research and Diagnostics

by Keith Wolgemuth
Two scientists in lab

Members of SIG 6 work to provide a forum for collaboration between researchers and clinicians to translate research into evidence-based practice related to hearing and balance.  Read on for Keith Wolgemuth’s first-hand experience.

When did you join your ASHA special interest group (SIG)—and what made you want to join?

I joined SIG 6 in early 2016, initially to complete a one-year term left by a colleague who needed to fulfill other professional commitments. Within three months, I was in a position to fill a vacancy as the SIG 6 associate coordinator, by virtue of being the only person on the committee at that time who did not have a job, so to speak! I agreed to stay on after completing my colleague’s term because I wanted to learn more about how ASHA operates, and to give back to the profession and to ASHA in return for what the national organization has done for us over the years.

How has your involvement with the SIG helped you in your career?

Working for the SIG has kept me up to date with challenges in the field and how ASHA deals with these challenges by lobbying on Capitol Hill. It’s also given me the opportunity to go to Capitol Hill myself to meet with congressional staff to represent ASHA and the professions, and this has made my career more valuable, to me, as a result. We have to make our voices heard regarding the fields of audiology and speech-language pathology, and ASHA has done a good job overall, over the years.

How do you carve out time to volunteer with the SIG while working in your full-time job and balancing other commitments? What advice would you give to someone who’d like to get more involved in the SIG, including how you get support from your supervisor/institution?

For me, it is a balancing act to get my work done (teaching, clinic, research) along with what ASHA requires of me, but overall the workload is manageable. I would advise people who decide to be an ASHA volunteer to ensure your supervisor does support such volunteer work and to make sure that you get a list of all deadlines for the annual tasks required of the SIG coordinating committee. That way you can plan throughout the year, ahead of time, to complete all tasks by deadlines.

What upcoming events related to or sponsored by your SIG should everyone know about? Chats, conferences or convention events?

I want all SIG 6 affiliates and all ASHA members to attend our SIG 6-sponsored invited-speaker short course at the 2018 ASHA Convention. Brends Ryals, Jeff Holt and Tina Stankovic will present “The Evolution of Biological Therapies for the Inner Ear: Revolutionary Sensorineural Hearing Loss Treatments.” This short course will cover various lines of research involving cochlear hair-cell regeneration, gene therapy, and small molecules in development for treatment of sensorineural hearing loss. In addition, speakers will discuss how this research applies to the profession of audiology and the role of audiologists in future hearing-restoration approaches.

What is your favorite recent Perspectives article, and why?

My favorite recent Perspectives article was “The Gold Standard and Auditory Processing Disorder,” by Andrew J. Vermiglio. It applies the concept of a gold-standard comparison test to the diagnostic complexities of auditory processing disorder. The tests used to diagnose a condition cannot function as a gold standard for the disorder itself, a gold standard must exist as an entity separate from the diagnostic test used to assess—or otherwise, how can one state that the diagnostic test is accurate in the majority of cases?

Keith Wolgemuth, PhD, CCC-A, is an associate professor and director of the SLPD program, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, at the School of Allied Health Professions, Loma Linda University. He is coordinator of SIG 6 and an affiliate of SIG 7, Aural Rehabilitation and Its Instrumentation. kwolgemuth@llu.edu

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