My Fondest Memory of Audiology
By Pat Bishop, AuD
I earned my master of communication disorders degree from LSU Medical Center School of Allied Health in New Orleans in 1983. At the New Orleans VAMC I gained valuable experience fitting veterans with hearing aids during a traineeship in 1982-83. My fondest memory occurred when I saw a veteran for a follow-up appointment after fitting him with a Telex behind-the-ear hearing aid. When I asked him how he was doing, he said with delight, “I can hear the birds again!” From that moment on, I was hooked on hearing aids! I knew I wanted to make audiology and hearing aid fitting my vocation. In the early 80s, audiologists were just beginning to fit hearing aids en masse in private practice. Many states, including Louisiana, required audiologists to obtain a license to fit hearing aids as well as an audiology license. I sat for my Louisiana Hearing Aid Dealer and Fitters examination and got my license to fit hearing aids before I earned my master’s degree. (I think I was the first student at LSU to do so before graduation, though I am not certain.) After 20 years of working in hospital, ENT, and private practice settings, I returned to the VA. I now work at the Rochester NY VA Community Outpatient Center. It is my privilege to work with veterans once again.
About the Author: I have been an audiologist for almost 25 years. In 1983 I received my master of communication disorders degree from LSU Medical Center School of Allied Health at the New Orleans. In 2004 I received my AuD from the Arizona School of Health Sciences.
I have been married to Max Bishop for 32 years. When I met Max, he was a merchant seaman. During the time I was studying at LSU, he managed a ship’s agency in New Orleans. We began a process of career change for him in 1986. Today he is a pastor and hospice chaplain. As a family we have moved numerous times. I have worked in a variety of settings: hospitals, clinics, and private practice. I have worked with hearing instrument specialists as well.
When I completed my master’s degree, my daughter Vanessa was in the first grade. One fond memory of my studies is the time Vanessa asked me if she could have a human skull of her own! I had brought a skull home in a wooden box numerous times to study for my anatomy class, and she was intrigued. Vanessa earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental health and now is a project manager for the Army Corps of Engineers at Wiesbaden, Germany. Our sons William and Daniel were born in 1984 and 1986. William is a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana. Daniel is studying architecture at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Needless to say, we are extremely proud of our children.
I have worked for the VA for four years. Drs. Lucille Beck and Kyle Dennis provide excellent leadership and support. I have a wonderful nationwide network of colleagues. At the VA I have been able to avail myself of numerous opportunities for leadership training and collaboration with other disciplines. To top it off, my patients are the greatest ever! I work with heroes every day. To dispel a common misconception, the hearing aids our patients receive are not “free.” These men and women have paid the price, in more ways than one, for the services and devices they receive from the VA.