Over the years, I have been asked by many people, how I came to be an Audiologist. I have to say, I was very fortunate. It was not my first choice of a career. In fact, when I started college I had never even heard of Audiology. But I was one of the lucky ones to find my chosen career and something I truly love doing by accident.
I started college as a Computer Science major. I wanted to throw the computer across the room it was so frustrating. Decided that maybe that wasn’t the major for me. I started taking some business classes; accounting, microeconomics. Business wasn’t for me either. I didn’t mind working with numbers, I was good at math. There was just something missing. It was now my sophomore year. I had a roommate who was an elementary education major. She suggested a class called “Introduction to Communication Disorders”. During that class we learned a little bit about all sorts of communication disorders that child and adults can experience. We also had to observe 25 hours in the speech clinic over the course of the semester. That was probably the most interesting part of the class. I was even able to participate in a couple of the therapy sessions. That was the moment that I decided to change my major.
After I changed my major to Audiology and Speech Sciences, one of the required courses for the major was Introduction to Audiology. That’s where the bells and whistles went off and I knew I had found what I wanted to do for a career. I could blend my desire to help people and my liking of technology together. It was through my courses and observations in the clinic that I discovered so many things I did not know about hearing loss and deafness. For example, the field of Audiology actually developed due to the number of soldiers returning home from World War II who had experienced hearing loss caused by loud noise exposure from artillery and now needed help. That in the early part of the 1900s, deaf individuals were often institutionalized because they were thought to be retarded because they could not learn to speak. I learned that 95% of deaf children are born to normal hearing parents. I learned that sign languages are not the same in every country. While some signs may be similar, just like some words in different language may be similar, every language is unique. Also that sign language is not just a visual representation of English, but is its own unique language with its own set of rules of grammar and syntax.
I have had the opportunity in my career as an Audiologist to work in single and multi-physician offices and taught Audiology classes at the University level. I enjoy both career paths. They work well with each other. I keep my clinical skills sharp and I keep up with new advances in my field. I’ve been practicing Audiology for 28 years now. And I haven’t regretted a single day of it.
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