“Audiology, what’s that?” was my response to the sign-language interpreter, who just told me I was too old to learn her amazing skill, which had put me in a trance during Chem101. She then described audiology in such a way that I immediately concluded, “Audiology means science and helping people.” I changed my major the next day, only to find out months later that I needed a master’s degree (yes, this was 1985). Ultimately, in 2001, I earned my doctor of audiology degree.
Over 20 years later, I’ve never regretted that impulsive career decision. If you have a passion for audiology, you will always discover new areas of research and development. The profession offers tremendous opportunities and continues to grow.
As a private practice audiologist, my favorite patients are those who are convinced that the problem is not their ears but that the entire world has forgotten how to speak clearly. Being the person who allows them to rejoin conversations and social events is thrilling.
For the past two years, my practice has focused on evaluating and treating dizzy/balance patients. After months or years of other specialists and several MRIs, it is a doctor of audiology, me, who helps these patients understand and recover from their vestibular issues. The reward of autonomously directing a patient’s hearing and balance care is the reason I smile at the end of each day.
Happy 20th Anniversary, Academy!
About the Author: Lisa M Nelson is Executive Director of Hearing Professionals, Inc, Laurel, MD. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Audiology and serv.