by Kim Cavitt, AuD, and Stephanie Czuhajewski
We met Eric Hagberg almost two decades ago as we began our journeys with the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA). From the outset of our relationship, we found him to be an equal measure of brilliant, irreverent, committed, funny, kind, and cantankerous.
As one of the early dispensing audiologists in the United States, a torchbearer for the Audiology Foundation of America (AFA) and the AuD movement, and the driving force for the 18 x 18, Audiology Patient Choice Act and Medicare Audiology Access and Services Act (MAASA), Eric was one of the greatest advocates for audiology, its growth, and its place and status within healthcare. He also blessed our profession (it is NEVER a field) as a committed clinician, a successful audiology business owner, and a generous mentor.
Oh, we did not always agree on any number of topics, but, throughout every disagreement, we always knew that respect remained and that he would have our back in any skirmish. Eric was one of the most principled men we ever met and he always functioned in accordance with those principles. While many may have always seen a fighter, some of the greatest compromises we have ever seen in this profession came under his guidance and watch.
People have asked us many of us to memorialize him. Many have struggled because most of the best Eric stories are not suitable for print. He was known for his colorful language and was one of the very best of storytellers we have ever met. These are the memories we hold most dear and we will hold them close to our hearts (and share them next time we can all be together) forever.
So, in honor of Dr. Hagberg, we will do two things: We will continue to fight for the removal of the Medicare physician order requirement, Medicare coverage of treatment provided by audiologists, and the reclassification of audiology within the Medicare system and, when MAASA passes, we will raise a glass of Grey Goose in his honor.
We will miss you forever, you old coot! Rest assured we will continue your fight for audiology!