LIVONIA, MICHIGAN — The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have rippled across the world, impacting everyone at home and at their places of business – including IHS. With government limits on group gatherings, health concerns for our attendees, exhibitor and sponsor recommendations, the uncertainty of airline travel, the possibility of an additional re-insurgence of COVID-19, and the economic impact of a fall event on the Society, the IHS Board of Governors made the difficult decision to re-schedule the 69th Annual IHS Convention & Expo from this October, to August 12 – 14, 2021 in San Diego, California at the Town & Country Hotel.
“We made this decision after much deliberation and sincere thought, and concern for the well-being of all of our customers. Our annual convention is a homecoming of sorts for members and non-members alike. While we won’t be gathering in person this year, we have some wonderful things in the works to bring all of us together in a different way.”
–IHS President Todd Beyer, ACA, BC-HIS
IHS may have moved its 69th annual celebration, but the staff and leadership have already laid the groundwork for a “dynamic IHS Virtual Conference” to take place in late June/early July. The event will deliver up to 12 continuing education credits and feature “the same high-level caliber of speakers and engagement that customers have come to expect from IHS events and webinars”. Details about the event will be released soon.
While this will be the first Virtual Conference series for IHS, it isn’t the first time the Society has held a virtual event with multiple speakers. In April, nearly all of the live events practitioners usually attend to earn continuing education credits had been cancelled. IHS responded quickly to this need by holding a complimentary half-day virtual event where attendees learned from thought leaders like Dr. Keith Darrow, PhD, CCC-A and others, and received up to 3 free continuing education credits.
The response to this first-ever IHS half-day virtual event was overwhelming. Within 24 hours, all 500 virtual seats had been claimed. Within 1 week, another 600 professionals, both hearing aid dispensers and audiologists, had signed up to receive the event recordings. More than 1,000 continuing education credits have already been issued, and professionals can still sign up to earn 3 free continuing education credits until May 31. IHS is building on the success of this event to create a new conference and monthly programming.
“Professionals are looking for ways to not only earn the continuing education credits they need, but also remain sharp during a widespread lockdown. They want to connect with their peers and prepare themselves to get back to business full-time. IHS has everything ready to help them do that.”
In addition to the IHS Virtual Conference, the Society will be providing opportunities each month to connect with customers through Zoom discussions and Facebook videos. The IHS Annual Membership Meeting and other events usually offered during the live convention will be held virtually in the fall.
“Our goal is to build upon the sense of community that is experienced each year at our Convention,” said Beyer. “Learning from one another and sharing experiences is how we enrich our lives and contribute to something greater than ourselves — it’s how we build a meaningful Society whose sole focus is the interests of hearing aid dispensing professionals.”
International Hearing Society (IHS) is a membership association that represents hearing healthcare professionals worldwide. IHS members are engaged in the practice of testing human hearing and selecting, fitting and dispensing hearing instruments and counseling patients. Founded in 1951, the Society continues to recognize the need for promoting and maintaining the highest possible standards for its members in the best interests of the hearing impaired it serves. As the membership organization for thousands of dispensing professionals, IHS conducts programs in competency accreditation, education and training and encourages specialty-level programs for its members. IHS is located in Livonia, Michigan.