The Big Picture

It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as President of the Canadian Academy of Audiology this past year, 2017-2018.

As an Academy, we have done some amazing work and we should pat ourselves on the back for all that we have accomplished. Through leadership, advocacy, education, research and increasing public awareness on hearing and balance healthcare, our many committees which include Third Party, Conference, PR & Awareness, and Science & Education, among others, have all worked tirelessly together with our Administrative team to bring audiology closer to the forefront of healthcare. This year, CAA launched a series of educational webinars featuring international and world-renowned researchers in hearing healthcare. We developed and posted beautiful and impactful videos online to raise awareness of hearing and balance health care. CAA also took a more proactive approach in advocacy initiatives throughout the country to encourage and optimize accessibility of hearing health services. We give a voice to our members by publishing content online on a variety of topics and we continue to encourage the growth of our profession by supporting our student audiologists. Finally, our website, blog and journal – Canadian Audiologist – and our annual conference help to elevate our professional status because they embody our full scope of practice (which is very broad) through dissemination of education and research.

I am proud and excited to be an Audiologist member of CAA. I have seen what we can accomplish in one year, and this gives me butterflies in my stomach when I imagine the possibilities for Audiology in this country as CAA continues to grow and to work as it has been. Our profession can grow its presence exponentially if we continue at this pace.

My experience as both a practicing Audiologist and a Scientist has allowed me to approach my role as President of CAA with a view to the big picture. In our audiology clinics, the patients we serve present with a variety of auditory and vestibular histories and unique needs. In the lab or in research endeavours, participants are equally heterogenous. To better serve our profession, we need to break away from the status quo and think outside-the-box (while remaining evidence-based) when helping our patients. This will ensure success in whichever hearing or balance health interventions we offer. We also need to allow our most challenging cases to inspire us because this is the only way we will learn and advance our field as we increase collaboration with our associated health professions.

When I reflect on my patients who suffer from a variety of hearing and balance conditions including tinnitus, concussions, vestibular loss, processing difficulties, cognitive decline, noise induced hearing loss, middle ear diseases, and deafness with cochlear implant hearing or presbycusis, I realize that being an audiologist is not about assessing and treating hearing loss, but rather, it is about asking the right questions and customizing the right interventions to promote our patient’s overall health care and optimize their quality of life within our scope of practice, of course.

In my practice at AudioSense in Toronto, I surround myself with professionals with complementary skills like office management, information technology specialists, research scientists, yoga and meditation instructors, vestibular physiotherapists, and nurses. I frequently collaborate with general physicians and ear-nose-and-throat specialists. All this to better serve my pediatric and adult patients.

Being President of CAA has inspired me to practice with the big picture in mind because this is how CAA approaches its mandate and is structured.

I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to lead CAA this past year and am humbled to have worked with such high functioning and dedicated individuals. The dedication, commitment, work, time and tireless efforts of our administrative team, our directors and the volunteers that serve on the many committees, task forces, coalitions and interest groups leave me speechless. I am truly excited to see what wonderful things CAA will accomplish in the years ahead. If history is any indication, Audiology will continue to raise in status in the Canadian healthcare field for years to come.

About the author
Salima Jiwani

Salima Jiwani, PhD, MSc, Reg. CASLPO

Salima Jiwani (PhD) is the founder/president and lead audiologist at AudioSense, a Hearing and Balance clinic located in Yorkville, Toronto.  Salima provides her children and adults patients with industry-leading and evidence-based diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation services by leveraging her clinical, research and industry experience. Salima’s clinical approach to audiology is proactive rather than reactive and she believes in focussing discussions on health care rather than loss, to help her patients connect to their world.  Outside of work hours, Salima is an advocate for the profession of audiology as current President of the Canadian Academy of Audiology and co-chair of the Science and Education Committee of the organization.  In these roles, Salima encourages clinical research in her field to elevate the profession, give audiologists a voice, and promote optimal audiological health care for patients.