Fall Challenge - Interview with Dr. Laura Pratesi, AuD

Dr. Pratesi presented on diabetes related hearing and balance issues on the first day of the Fall Challenge: October 1, 2018.  Hers was the first recorded presentation for the Fall Challenge in the TAP state cohorts.  Below is an interview with Dr. Pratesi:

1) How far in advance did you start reaching out to do a presentation, or did they reach out to you?

I am on the board for HLAA. We met in August to set up our yearly calendar and arrange speakers. Most of the months had already been filled, but they needed someone for October. Since it was Audiology Awareness Month, I volunteered to take it. I thought that talking about Diabetes would draw a larger crowd for the group, and it did! 

2)      Your audience was HLAA.  How did you customize the presentation for this audience?  How long did you speak?  What kind of questions did they have?  What is your sense of how you did, looking back?

Most of the audience already has hearing loss that’s been identified, and are HA or CI users. Many of them have diabetes (or know someone who does) and did not know about the link between the disease and hearing/balance issues. Many thought that because they already have hearing loss, that they didn’t need to have their status monitored regularly. I had a CI user day that because she was implanted, she didn’t have to worry. I advised her that certain meds can affect her impedance levels and that affects her CI mapping, and that cognitive or vestibular side effects can affect anyone (CI or not). This was huge news for her. I spoke for about 30 minutes. The audience was engaged in that they asked questions that showed they had paid attention. No one nodded off either! I had issues with the projector, so my slides weren’t visible to anyone but me (on my iPad), but I emailed the presentation which our chapter then sent to the attendees. That’s the only thing o would have changed (since it took me several hours to make!). 

3)      Your presentation was the first recorded for the Fall Challenge in any state cohort.  Do you have tips to audiologists for scheduling their own presentations?

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. The information is already out there. It’s in an easy to digest form. HLAA got a write up about the presentation in a local paper a few weeks beforehand and that helped our numbers increase. This chapter was also a well-established group, with lots of members already. We were able to use their own listserv to reach a lot of people. Some people did not attend because they thought the information would not be relevant to them (because they do not have diabetes), but one woman I convinced to stay came up to me afterwards and told me she was glad she did. So, think about how to title your presentation. 

4)      How do you think this presentation helped your practice, short and long term?

The group I presented to was about 45 minutes from where I practice, so I don’t know that I will personally generate any referrals from that particular talk, but my goal was to elevate Audiology in their minds in general, and I think I achieved that. It was a good stepping off point for me as well, in that it helped me gain confidence in presenting the data, and getting comfortable in speaking knowledgeably about the topic. A lot of my marketing is about branding myself and my practice as an expert in medical management of hearing and balance disorders. I think talking about topics like this (and not just focusing on hearing aids) helps me succeed in doing just that.

5)      What is next on your Fall Challenge calendar?

I’ve approached a large primary care physician practice about doing my presentation for their doctors and staff. They already send me a few referrals, but I’m hoping this will encourage them to look more closely at the hearing and balance healthcare of their patients with diabetes. 

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Laura Pratesi, AuD, CCC-A, F-AAA

Doctor of Audiology

Citrus Hearing Clinic, LLC

Owner

The Audiology Project