February, 2014:  EAR-Central /Tucson’s “Narnia-themed” Sound Room is a Hit!

A number of years ago, Rachel Noble, Administrative Assistant at our Sierra Vista office decided that a plain, sterile testing room was rather boring, especially for children!  So, being artistically-inclined, she went about creating a “Jungle-themed” testing booth for our pediatric patients.  It has been a real winner with the kids!  (Adults like it too!)  So when we opened our Tucson office, audiologist Mike Webb–an avid C.S. Lewis / Chronicles of Narnia fan decided to create a Narnia motif for our sound room.  With greenery, a flickering lamp-post, Mr. Tumnus the Faun (in miniature), and Aslan looking on, we’re excited to offer a taste of Narnia to our Tucson patients… especially the kids (and the “kids at heart,” like Mike!).  Who said auditory tests can’t be fun?

October 2-5, 2013:  I (Michael Webb) just completed the Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) Advanced Practitioner Training Course in Denver, Colorado.  This rigorous three and one-half-day course was led by iLs Medical Director, Ron Minson, M.D (dually-certified neurologist and psychiatrist).  The course was co-led by Ann Brownstone, OTR, Certified Occupation Therapist and veteran iLs practitioner.

This training introduced the clinic-based iLs Pro System which allows more advanced treatment protocols to be custom-designed and administered to our iLs treatments.  The Total Focus system will continue to be the equipment used for home-based treatment, as well as in many of our clinic sessions.  The Pro system expands our treatment protocols with greater bone conduction stimulation, addition of balance adjustments for certain patients’ needs, along with the capability of custom-designing the treatment protocols to use in the clinic for robust stimulation sessions, supported by the Total Focus programs at home.

This course was attended by Speech/Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Mental Health practioners, and Educators.  This provided a rich multi-disciplinary environment for learning and networking concerning a broad spectrum of cases and applications for this  exciting multi-modal stimulation treatment for various neurological/ sensory based conditions, including Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD).

July, 2013:  Shelley Webb received practitioner training in the iLs system (accompanied by Michael for a refresher).  She came away very excited about helping with oversight of the new iLs Home-Supervision Training Program.  This new program permits more intensive home-based auditory training with far less “clinic time” (i.e., “less expensive”) and offers the iLs Focus System for very flexible rental terms (including rent-to-own).  For more details, please call us at 1-877-456-4725.

Feb., 2013:  I (Michael Webb) just returned from a provider training course for the Integrated Listening Systems (iLs) multi-sensory therapy program which was presented in Birmingham, Alabama. Not only was I trained in using the iLs equipment and training protocols, but also got to network with a number of existing practitioners from various disciplines (occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech/language, neuropsychology, and special education) who are currently utilizing the iLs therapies with signficant successful outcomes across a spectrum of developmental issues, including APD. We’ve ordered equipment for beginning both the sound-therapy treatments as well as the Interactive Language Program (ILP) designed to address the language-based deficits so common to individuals with APD. We’ll have more information about these therapy options in the near future!

Jan., 2013:  We’re excited to announce that Shelley Webb, M.A., Educator and Reading Specialist, will be joining us second quarter, 2013 to help oversee our Auditory Therapy Services.  Shelley received her M.A. from the University of Arizona, and has taught in various school settings for a number of years.  She is particularly looking forward to focusing her experience on assisting children and adolescents who are experiencing educational struggles as a result of APD.  We’ll give you specifics as they come online!

“Dear Parent…” –Why I am not “Dr. Webb”

Dear Parent:

I know you've struggled because you feel like you should call me "Dr. Webb."  Over the course of my audiology career, this has been a recurring issue for me: helping my patients know what to call me.  Because audiology is a "doctoring" profession, the natural assumption is that audiologists should have the title "Doctor."  Like medical doctors, dentists; etc.

When I trained in audiology, the required credential for practice was the Masters Degree in Audiology, which is what I have.  There were doctorates in audiology--the Ph.D.--which was the track for most interested in research and in teaching.  But the Ph.D. wasn't typically designed for the regular clinical crowd who did most of the actual "doctoring"with patients (there were exceptions, of course).

In the mid-90's (after a decade of proposals and planning) the audiology profession began the transition to making the Au.D. (Doctor of Audiology) degree the required entry level to practice audiology--a clinical doctorate (not to be confused with a medical physician).  We veterans who had practiced for decades with the Masters Degree were given the opportunity to transition to the Au.D. degree, but the choice was optional, unless a particular work position designated an Au.D. (or Ph.D.) as required (like most University teaching positions).

The mechanism for upgrade was a "Transitional Doctorate" degree which, while recognizing experience, still typically required about two years of "distance learning" courses and thousands of dollars.  For those working full-time careers and having families (and a life!), that was very demanding.  Many of my colleagues chose that route, and I applaud them.  I, however was in my fifties, had a large family and three busy offices, a large staff, and could not for the life of me make the leap back to school in order to simply change my degree.  Nothing much else in my particular world would have changed.  It didn't make sense to me.

It just so happened that at about that time, I was also being moved in the direction of increasing my practice in Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD).  And for anyone who takes the leap into CAPD practice, the learning curve is steep and demanding--audiologists simply aren't given more than superficial training in CAPD in most training programs (even Au.D. programs).  So to make a long story short, my decision was to invest tens of thousands of dollars in equipment and training--untold hours (over a decade) of continuing education, textbook and journal reviews, thousands of miles of travel for formal and informal educational opportunities in CAPD--my growing passion.

So, while it may seem natural to call me "Dr. Webb" because I am in a "doctoring" profession, and because you respect and wish to honor me as such, officially that is not my title.  So when people ask me what they should call me, I tell them: "Just call me Mike." The funny sidebar is, frequently, after I go through the litany of explaining all this to patients, they often say, "Oh, I see!  Thank you for explaining that, doctor." (Sigh.)

So, "Just call me Mike."  (I know it's hard, but you can do it!)

Warmly, Mike