The other day, my son asked me,”Mom, what exactly does an audiologist do? My teacher asked me at school and I know that you work with hearing aids and do hearing tests, but what all do you do?” I thought about it for a few minutes and came up with this to send back to school with him:
Yes, we do work with hearing aids and complete hearing tests on patients, but to me, being an audiologist is so much more! It is investigating and finding out why a patient has a hearing loss, why they are so dizzy, or why they have that “buzzing” sound in their ears. It is walking a patient through the results of a hearing test and sometimes holding their hand as they become upset learning that there is a permanent disability. It’s reassuring patients that there is help and something that we can do to help. It is following through with balance therapy, tinnitus therapy, or hearing amplification to help the patient improve their quality of life. It’s choosing the right hearing device to help that patient hear their new grandchild, listen and understand their favorite play or TV show, understand the sermon at church, or just to hear the birds sing again. It is helping that 9 year old little boy love and embrace his uniqueness by helping him choose those green hearing devices and streamer to help him hear music better. It is helping someone, who is not able to function due to the noise in her head, learn to live again, and have the confidence to walk into that favorite coffee shop one more time. It is making a decision that there is something other than hearing loss going on and they need to be seen by an ENT for possible medical intervention. It is listening to patients as they tell me about their ailing spouse, their grandchild who was born with hearing impairment, the new tremor which is making hearing aid insertion difficult, or the realization that they are having trouble with dementia. It is embracing a patient who has just lost his spouse of 50 years, suddenly, and then crying along with them.
My son looked over my response, and said, “You do a lot more than hearing tests. No wonder you look so tired when you get home!” Love that kid!