Q: What has surprised you in your field lately?
A: These days there are more and more people with hearing loss in the baby boomer generation. We’re seeing a younger population now that we’re fitting with hearing aids. For them it is an issue of not being able to hear in the workforce, and that is greatly affecting their careers. When I first started practicing, the majority of my patients that I was fitting with hearing aids was an elderly age group.
Q: Tell me a strength of the audiology field.
A: I think there is a huge opportunity for audiologists. There are so many different settings. You can work in a school, in your own private practice, in an ENT office, neurotologist office, hospital, hearing aid manufacturer or a university. I think that is one of the strengths of the industry is that there is a little something for everybody.
Q: What gets you psyched about your job?
A: I work closely with Dr. House who is a neurotologist, so we see a lot of really interesting cases here and having audiologists on site is critical. He does surgeries on many of his patients, so hearing tests are really important. We can provide instantaneous help to a person with an ear condition, whether it is by helping the doctor figure out what is wrong with the patient, or by doing testing before surgery or after surgery following up on the improvement.
Q: What is the least favorite part of your job?
Q: What’s the value of post-graduate residencies?
A: Residencies allow you to explore the areas of interest that you have, depending on the site you are placed in. Some people are interested in pediatric audiology, so obviously doing a fellowship at the local children’s hospital would be a wonderful experience. I think it really important the student try to get placed some place within an area of interest to help them decide if they’ve chosen the right path.
Q: How important is American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) certification to audiologists?
A: The American Academy of Audiology (AAA), which I am a fellow of, was created because of the general dissatisfaction with ASHA. ASHA has definitely served its purpose with maintaining audiologists certification. And certainly their political action committees (PAC) have been very important. I would say though that AAA is coming to the forefront in terms of PACs. There has been a very strong push toward having our own certification aside from ASHA.
Q: Is it important to specialize within audiology?
A: I think it is important for an audiology student to be exposed to a variety of settings because you can’t know what you want if you haven’t had that exposure. I think it is important to have a variety of experiences so that it will either reinforce what you think you want to do or help you to see that maybe there is another scope of the practice that you’re either better suited for or more interested in.
Q: What advice would you give to audiology grads fresh out of school?
A: Be open to any and all opportunities, even if it means relocating to a different part of the state, the country or the world. Take advantage of opportunities in that time period and don’t lock yourself in some practice nearby because you don’t want to venture out in the world. Now is the time. When you’re ready to start your career be open to wherever and have an adventure. It will be the only chance you get.