Say that Again? Community Pharmacy’s Role in Identifying Untreated Hearing Loss

2023-05-25T11:28:56-05:00May 12th, 2023|Categories: Community Pharmacy, News Release, Pharmacy Practice|Tags: , , |

According to the National Institutes of Health, about 1 in 6 U.S. adults ages 18 and over reports some trouble hearing — approximately 37.5 million U.S. adults—but less than half (46.0 percent) of them have seen a doctor or other health professional about their hearing or ear problems in the last five years.

Untreated hearing loss significantly impacts an individual’s quality of life and contributes to high health care spending. A JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery study showed that untreated hearing loss was associated with $22,434 higher total health care costs per person over a 10-year period compared with costs for those without hearing loss.

Additionally, untreated hearing loss impacts individual’s quality of life and mental health. It can lead to isolation, and has been associated with serious conditions such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, dementia, reduced mobility, and falls.

Making hearing health care more accessible and affordable is a public health priority, especially as the number of older adults in the U.S. continues to grow.

While prescription hearing aids have been available for years, NIH data shows that only one in four adults who could benefit from hearing aids has ever used them.

To address this public health issue, in October 2021, the FDA formally proposed a rule to establish the new OTC hearing aids category for adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. Finalized in August 2022, the final rule allows hearing aids within this category to be sold directly to consumers in stores without a medical exam or a fitting by an audiologist.  Overall, among those reporting that they have trouble hearing, nearly two-thirds (62.6 percent) say that they have mild hearing loss, defined as “a little trouble hearing.”

The Role of Community Pharmacy

Community pharmacies are well-positioned to reach these individuals, who may not be aware of the recent availability of OTC hearing aids. OTC hearing aids that are FDA-compliance are usually more affordable than prescription hearing aids and can be FSA/HSA/HRA-eligible.

As the most accessible health care provider, pharmacists should be prepared to answer questions about OTC hearing devices and have the opportunity to discuss hearing screenings for patients during consultations.

Learn how to add a new clinical service to your pharmacy by offering in-store hearing tests and offering OTC hearing aids for adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. Hearing aids for more severe hearing loss or for users younger than age 18 remain prescription devices.

Unlocking the OTC Hearing Aid Marketplace

Join ACA Corporate Member Soundwave Hearing for a 30-minute webinar on “Unlocking the OTC Hearing Aid Marketplace” and receive more information on how your pharmacy can get started with their testing and OTC hearing aid solutions.

This activity will not offer CE credit.


Unlocking the OTC Hearing Aid Marketplace


Recordings Available On-Demand

Anthony Florek
President, Soundwave Hearing LLC

Anthony has thirty plus years of medical device Sales and Marketing experience developed at leading medical equipment and consumer product companies, including Johnson and Johnson, Allergan Medical Optics and Beltone (GN Hearing Care). Anthony brings 15 years of experience from the traditional hearing aid industry and leads the development of the business model and value proposition at Soundwave Hearing.

Scroll down to register.

Opportunities in Wellness: Integrating Advanced Point Of Sale Functional Testing in Community Pharmacy

2023-05-17T12:15:16-05:00January 5th, 2023|Categories: Community Pharmacy, Functional Testing, Pharmacy Practice|Tags: , , |

Functional testing focuses on physiological function (i.e. how the body functions at a biological level), rather than the presence of markers of disease. Community pharmacies are well-positioned to offer functional testing to patients who want a clear picture of their unique health needs and to also provide nutritional and lifestyle intervention. This presentation will provide examples and evidence-based information on the concept of integrating Advanced Point Of Sale Functional Testing in the pharmacy practice, including stool testing, breath testing, saliva testing, dried urine testing, food intolerance testing, and others. Advanced Point of Sale Functional Testing has the potential to increase pharmacy revenue, improve patient outcomes, and expand the scope of the pharmacist and pharmacy technician without requiring a CLIA waiver.

Now available On-Demand

ACA & ACVP Members: $20
Non-Members: $35

Learning Objectives :

  1. Identify the different types of available testing to patients and the regulations.
  2. Discuss the different types of advanced point of sale functional testing.
  3. Discuss when to use the various types of advanced point of sale functional testing in practice.
  4. Identify which type of training is recommended to offer advanced point of sale functional testing.
  5. Compare the potential benefits and challenges to the patient and the practice.

Hillary Howell, PharmD, CCN, FACA

As a young teenager, Hillary worked as a pharmacy technician until graduating high school in 1998. Her passion for medicine led her to enroll in the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Ferris State University and graduated in 2004. Shortly after graduating, she married her high school sweetheart and took a position as a retail staff pharmacist at a local pharmacy chain. This ultimately led to a manager position with the same company. Hillary has two children, Hunter and Tanner, which she adores. 10 years into her position as a manager, her husband James was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer, leiomyosarcoma of the prostate. During his journey, the family decided to look into alternative treatments using both conventional and alternative therapies. Sadly, James’ journey ended 18 months later. As a single mother, Hillary decided to take her career in a new direction. She opened Michigan’s first integrative cash based pharmacy, Apothecary & Co, in 2019, focusing on helping others to find their root cause instead of applying a “bandaid”. Apothecary & Co proudly specializes in compounding, point of care testing, and functional medicine consulting. Since opening in 2019, Hillary received her Certified Clinical Nutrition designation in 2021. She is currently pursuing a certification program through the Institute for Functional Medicine. Besides the love for functional medicine, her other passion is medicinal herbalism leading her to complete coursework through Rosemary Gladstar’s The Science of Art and Herbalism program.

Men and COVID Severity—New Research That Links Them. What Are the Implications?

2023-01-05T09:40:33-06:00September 27th, 2022|Categories: COVID-19, Pharmacist Training, Pharmacy Technician, Risk Management|Tags: , , |

Pharmacists/Technicians will have better understanding of why men suffered more severely from COVID-19 than women, and what that can mean in other acute, viral conditions. Pharmacist will be better equipped to discuss relative health risks/benefits of testosterone in cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer.  Thus, the pharmacist/technician will be able to engage with and educate both physicians and patients on the information discussed regarding testosterone.


Webinar Attendee: FREE
ACA & ACVP Members: $20
Non-Members: $35

Learning Objectives :

  1. Describe medical literature linking low Testosterone in men with severity of Covid-19.
  2. Discuss why low testosterone exerts this effect in men with Covid-19.
  3. Describe the latest literature discussing testosterone in relationship to cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer.
  4. Choose useful ways to find current medical literature on testosterone.

Register for On-Demand Webinar here:

Bruce Biundo, RPh, B.S, FACA,  joined PCCA as a pharmacy consultant in 1997 after many years as a community pharmacist. What is likely the first educational event on low testosterone in men was presented by Bruce at the PCCA International Seminar in April 1999. In a short time, the interest grew and over the intervening years, the breadth and depth of information has greatly increased. As Bruce’s knowledge increased, so did PCCA’s ability to educate pharmacists and physicians on how to diagnose and treat low testosterone in men. Over the years, Bruce has had a dozen articles published, mostly dealing with men’s health and testosterone topics. In addition, he was a contributor to Remington: The Science and Practice of Pharmacy, 22nd Edition, and is the co-author of the chapter on Nutrition in the book Aging Men’s Health. Bruce retired from PCCA in December 2021 but continues to provide compounding education.

INDUSTRY UPDATE: USP 795 & Quality Nonsterile Compounds Webinar

2022-09-27T15:25:52-05:00September 13th, 2022|Categories: Pharmacist Training, Pharmacy Technician, USP 795|Tags: , |

USP has proposed revisions to chapter <795> which creates minimum standards for compounding of nonsterile dosage forms for both human and animal patients. Attendees will learn about the changes from the current version of USP <795>, highlight key themes in the proposed changes, and prepare themselves to meet or exceed these new standards. In addition, attendees will learn how some the concepts coincide with the FDA’s Insanitary Conditions Guidance document and the role this currently plays in pharmacy practice.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022
12 Noon Eastern / 11:00 am Central / 10:00 am Mountain / 9:00 am Pacific

ACA & ACVP Members: FREE
Non-Members: $20

Learning Objectives:

  1. Define the changes in the proposed USP <795> compared to the current USP <795>
  2. Illustrate the role that personnel and appropriate facilities play in limiting potential contamination of nonsterile compounds.
  3. Analyze the key themes of the proposed USP <795> and how they coincide with the FDA’s Insanitary Conditions Guidance
  4. Plan to implement any changes needed for compliance and quality of nonsterile compounds.

This webinar does not offer CE.

Register below. After you register, you will be directed to Zoom to complete your sign up and receive your Zoom webinar links via email.

USP795 Webinar Oct 2022

Matt Martin, PharmD, BCSCP, joined the PCCA Clinical Services team in September 2014 and now serves as Director of Clinical Services. He graduated from Morehead State University with a BS in Chemistry in 2002 and received his PharmD from the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy in 2006. In 2020, Matt became board certified in Compounded Sterile Preparations through the Board of Pharmacy Specialties. Prior to joining the PCCA team, Matt worked in compounding pharmacy for more than eight years and has experience with both sterile and non-sterile preparations.

Tactical Dialogue A Key to Overcoming Vaccine Hesitancy

2021-10-13T12:15:20-05:00October 7th, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |

Student pharmacists, community pharmacies can reach rural areas

2021 has brought some unique challenges to the field of pharmacy that student pharmacists must be equipped to handle, for example, the ongoing debate about vaccination. The coronavirus pandemic has affected the entire world, and one factor that has changed the course of the pandemic is the emergence of vaccines effective against COVID-19.

Jovita Huynh is an October ACA intern.

The rapid deployment of these vaccines has been instrumental in reducing the number of COVID-19 transmissions. Over 401 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered since December 2020, a heartening number.

However, there are still some struggles in achieving higher vaccination rates in parts of the country. As of October 11th, 2021, 65.3% of the total population in the United States has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but some states such as West Virginia are lagging behind, with only 48.5% of their total population receiving one dose (1). Unsurprisingly, these areas tend to correlate with a higher percentage of people who are vaccine hesitant (2).

One of the most accessible places to receive a COVID-19 vaccine has been the common community pharmacy. Community pharmacies are widespread and in many locations around the country, even in rural areas that may have more limited healthcare access.

This makes the pharmacist, and by proxy, the student pharmacist, an important provider of COVID-19 vaccines and COVID-19 vaccination information. Therefore, encountering vaccine hesitancy as a student pharmacist is not unusual, and it can often be a stressful conversation if the student does not feel confident in their clinical knowledge.

Although I’m still a student myself, I have found a few techniques to be helpful when discussing vaccinations with patients. Like so many other facets of healthcare, I believe that addressing vaccination hesitancy starts with a question: If a patient expresses concern about receiving a vaccine, we should ask why they have concerns about the vaccine.

“Encountering vaccine hesitancy as a student pharmacist is not unusual, and it can often be a stressful conversation if the student does not feel confident in their clinical knowledge.”

It can be difficult to approach the conversation if the patient is belligerent, but I think helping the patient explore their hesitation helps a lot in developing a trusting relationship between the pharmacist and the patient. Engaging the patient in a conversation encourages the patient to express their concerns, and also enables the pharmacist to individualize their response.

When trying to tailor COVID-19 information to a specific audience, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers useful tips (3). The first step is always trying to understand your audience, and to that end, there are three things you should learn about them.

Most importantly, you should gauge their understanding, perceptions, beliefs, motivations, and barriers related to COVID-19 vaccines. Asking questions like, “What do you know about the risks of COVID-19?” or, “What would motivate you to get vaccinated?” can help a pharmacist assess where to steer the conversation next.

However, there are other factors to consider, so you should also try to find out about their communication preferences. Is there a language barrier, or would they prefer to receive information online or through print?

Finally, their socio-cultural context – do they have access to healthcare? How common is vaccination where they live?

These questions will help you develop an understanding of why a person may be reluctant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as well as identify why someone might want the vaccine. Reinforcing motivation while countering hesitancy should be the main theme of the conversation.

In addition, addressing misinformation may be an important part of your discussion with your patient. One important technique the CDC mentions for combating misinformation may be trying to use trusted messengers in order to boost credibility.

Some people may find it difficult to trust public health officials or may not have access to the CDC websites. In these cases, it may be effective to partner with trusted community organizations or religious leaders to address misinformation (4).

One important thing to keep in mind is that although vaccination may be the overall end goal, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to happen immediately.

For some of our patients who may be a tougher sell, just starting the discussion to give them food for thought can still be a successful counseling session. Not everyone will be receptive to a vaccine immediately and trying to reinforce the importance of the vaccine over several visits may be necessary.


  1. Carlsen, A., Huang, P., Levitt, Z., & Wood, D. (2021, October 11). How is the COVID-19 vaccination campaign going in your state? Retrieved October 12, 2021, from
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Vaccine hesitancy for covid-19. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 12, 2021, from
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, July 28). How to tailor covid-19 information to your specific audience. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 12, 2021, from
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, September 4). How to address COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 12, 2021, from


Jovita Huynh is a P4 student at Shenandoah University and an October ACA intern conducting an Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE)  focused in Association Management.


Personal support a remedy for burnout: student pharmacist probes a common challenge

Pharmacy school can be a tough road, but we have chosen this path because we believe that this is a fulfilling career where we can positively impact our community. In between all of the exams, extracurricular activities, and other stressors, it can be easy to lose sight of the end goal. I am currently completing my last year of pharmacy school and in reflection of my

Jovita Huynh is the ACA intern during October focusing on Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) in Association Management.

journey through the didactic curriculum, I would like to discuss burnout, a pitfall that may affect many students, and two preventative strategies that I feel have served me well.

Burnout syndrome has been described by Dr. Christina Maslach as “a syndrome of emotional exhaustion and cynicism that occurs frequently among individuals who do people-work of some kind” (1). In May 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement recognizing burnout as an occupational phenomenon and included it into the International Classification of Diseases, 11th revision (ICD-11. The WHO definition of burnout mostly relates to the feelings of displeasure with one’s job, overall fatigue, and consequent reduced efficacy in the workplace (2).

So how do we recognize burnout, and who is at highest risk for it? Two well known contributors to burnout are emotional exhaustion and disengagement. Emotional exhaustion is characterized by a state of mental fatigue caused by factors such as constant stress and emotionally demanding work, while disengagement is a lack of connection or concern for the contents of one’s work. In 2020, Fuller et al analyzed information from an anonymous online survey administered to students enrolled in a pharmacy school in Kentucky. Surprisingly, they did not find much correlation between burnout scores and student’s postgraduate goals, extracurricular involvement and work responsibilities. This apparent lack of clear risk factors may make dealing with the problem of burnout more difficult. However, they did find that married students tended to report being less exhausted than unmarried students, hinting at a possible solution (2).

“Small study groups were a great way to focus on studying, as the added accountability prevented me from getting distracted.”

If burnout is such a problem, then what are some possible solutions? An analysis of reflective essays written by pharmacy students in 2020 by Babal et al showed that strong social connections may help reduce stress and burnout. A common theme among many of the submitted reflections was the strong psychological support provided by pharmacy school friendships. These friendships were developed through shared understanding of the challenges of pharmacy school, and created a sense of belonging and camaraderie (3). Additionally, the previously mentioned survey by Fuller et al showed that marital status may be predictive of lower burnout scores, further reinforcing the idea that relationships and connectedness may help prevent and reduce burnout.

Anecdotally, I do feel that the friendships I made throughout pharmacy school were important in helping me reduce stress and also in learning pharmacotherapy. Small study groups were a great way to focus on studying, as the added accountability prevented me from getting distracted. I even have some nostalgia for the stressful nights before an exam when the study rooms were crammed full of students doing last minute reviews, because the air was so thick with esprit de corps and shared connectedness. For any health professions student, including pharmacy, I highly recommend trying to form a study group for all the benefits they may bring.

Another possible solution could be something as simple as taking some time to explore nature. A systematic review in 2018 by Houlden et al found that interaction with nature and green spaces had strong positive associations with hedonic well being. Hedonic well being is a facet of mental wellbeing composed mostly of happiness and life satisfaction (4). Although this review did not look at burnout in particular, this simple intervention may be readily implemented by students. Personally, I found that trying to take some time to go hiking with friends on the weekends greatly improved my wellbeing and mood, serving as a mental reset and allowing me to throw myself into my studies once more.

Burnout is a problem that many pharmacy students may face during our challenging curriculum but there are some accessible and easy strategies that we can implement to mitigate the impact burnout can have.


  1. Maslach C, Jackson SE. The measurement of experienced burnout. J Organ Behav. 1981; 2:99
  2. Fuller M, Schadler A, Cain J. An Investigation of Prevalence and Predictors of Disengagement and Exhaustion in Pharmacy Students. Am J Pharm Educ. 2020;84(10):ajpe7945. doi:10.5688/ajpe7945
  3. Babal JC, Abraham O, Webber S, et al. Student Pharmacist Perspectives on Factors That Influence Wellbeing During Pharmacy School. Am J Pharm Educ. 2020;84(9):ajpe7831. doi:10.5688/ajpe7831
  4. Houlden V, Weich S, Porto de Albuquerque J, et al. The relationship between greenspace and the mental wellbeing of adults: A systematic review. PLoS One. 2018;13(9):e0203000. Published 2018 Sep 12. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0203000


Jovita Huynh is a P4 student at Shenandoah University and an October ACA intern conducting an Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE)  focused in Association Management.

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