I recently met someone who didn’t know what an “Audiologist” was (either did I before I stumbled upon it in college). But it made me analyze what I do everyday as I described my job. As I said “I test people’s hearing and fit them with hearing aids”…something didn’t feel right. That is what I do but not what I feel I do. What I know I do is I help people have a better quality of life. Besides improving peoples ability to hear and communicate, I listen, I share stories, I know about people’s grandchildren and their pets, their “crazy neighbors”, that time they went to Hawaii, and on and on. And all these stories never once included how they couldn’t hear or felt isolated or were embarrassed. They are out there enjoying life and I got to be a tiny part of it.
This occurred to me today as I sat and helped a gentleman learn how to better clean his hearing aids so he could do it on his own instead of having his “girlfriend” help. He continued to tell me his lovely story. Years ago, after his wife passed away, he went to a high school reunion and there he reunited with his first love who also had become a widow. He told me, after high school he was planning to marry her when he returned home from the war, but another man beat him to it. Now they are together again after all those years. I thought his story was so sweet because it reminds me that there are second chances in life. My thought was, what if he hadn’t gone to that high school reunion because he couldn’t hear well and felt withdrawn from conversation (as many people with hearing loss tell me.)?
I love being an Audiologist. I guess now I can say “I help people hear better so they may have second chances.”