Lessons I Have Learned From 30-ish Years of Audiology

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This weekend I went to see my daughter in college for “Mom’s” weekend. As a WSU cougar Alumni, I had a wonderful time wandering around my old stomping grounds in Pullman. One of my favorite moments from the weekend was being able to see my old building. My daughter took me to a play at Daggy Hall, the location of the Speech and Audiology program at WSU. Daggy Hall now has a large theater as it houses the drama department. I enjoyed the play immensely, but it was the wandering around the building after that really got to me. You can see the halls of my youth from the pictures below. My daughter watched me as I walked around in awe. So much had changed, and yet it was still the same.
Not only did this experience leave me with a huge feeling of nostalgia, but it also prompted me to start thinking about why I do what I do. On my long drive home, I thought about the conversations I had with my daughter. She is about to graduate, and nervous about the future she is trying to nail down. She still has yet to make official plans, and is a little stressed about the unknowns that lie ahead.
I remember feeling this way during that time period as well. I was lucky enough to land a job on this side of the mountains in the school district. It was a great starting point for me. I learned a lot in that position about what I wanted to do. It was this position, as well as all of the ones that followed, that got me to where I am today. I do not regret any of the positions I have been in, or experiences I have been through. Ultimately, every single one of them has helped me grow into the person, and professional I am right now. I am especially grateful for my experiences now, because I own my own practice. I have been able to pull from these experiences and advice I have received years and years ago, in order to further help my patients and community.
I knew back then on my very first day of Intro to Speech Pathology and Audiology Class, I wanted to be an audiologist. Everything I have done since has only confirmed this decision. So many people dread waking up in the morning and going to work. I look forward to it every day, along with my large cup of coffee.
I guess the purpose of this post is to explain why we are here. We are a practice that genuinely cares for their patients, because we enjoy what we do. Our passion is what sets us apart. Not every company can say this. I took great care in creating the environment we have today and Integrity, down to every employee I have hired. I encourage all other business owners to find the same passion for coming to work everyday. I promise this will trickle down to your employees.
Also, I really just wanted an excuse to post this picture of my daughter and I.  
Thanks for reading!

Communication and Hearing Loss

Communication could be considered one of the most important factors in any successful relationship. Whether it is with your spouse, your children, or your friends, a relationship lacking communication can be detrimental to yourself as well as your loved ones.

A lack of communication can be the result of many factors, often not immediately recognized. Many people with hearing loss along with their loved ones, face this major problem every single day. Not being able to hear someone can cause embarrassment for those experiencing the loss, and annoyance in those trying to speak with them. Sometimes, one party may feel as if the other is not listening. Sometimes, one party grows weary of having to repeat themselves. Meanwhile, the person with the hearing loss is tired of saying, “What?”.

Without expressing the severity of the hearing loss, many relationships struggle due to this lack of communication leaving both parties exasperated. Moreover, many people in this situation have no clue as to why they are so frustrated. Too often, I have seen individuals withdraw from their daily lives and the things they love to do, because they struggle with communication. “To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others”(Tony Robbins).

As the quote above states, in order to maintain effective communication, both parties must be willing to understand one another and see where the lack of communication is occurring. If you or a loved one in your life has hearing loss, you probably understand the significance of communication in your relationships. Below are some tips on how to communicate when someone in the relationship is hard of hearing. Remember, hearing loss does not just impact those who have it, but also their family members and friends.

Communication Tips
For a person with hearing loss:
* Watch the person you are speaking with to pick up visual clues.
* Decrease the background noise as much as possible. Closing doors and windows may help.
* When you cannot control background noise, position yourself so the noise is behind you and the person you are talking with is in front of you.
* Ask people to rephrase rather than repeat; be specific about what you did not hear.
* If you have hearing aids, use them consistently.
* Paraphrase and repeat back important information to be sure you understood correctly.
* Please be patient.
For Family members and friends:
* Speak slowly and clearly without exaggerating speech.
* Face the person you are talking with so he or she can make use of visual cues.
* You may speak in a slightly louder voice, but do not shout as you will change the way speech sounds and looks.
* Do not talk with your hands or objects (such as mugs, newspapers or pencils) in front of your face.
* Keep all auditory and visual distractions to a minimum.
* Be sure you are understood by asking the person to repeat back important information.
* Rephrase rather than repeat when necessary.
* Get the other person’s attention before speaking. Call their name, tap their shoulder, etc.
* Please be patient, Communication is a two-way street.

I hope this was helpful to you. If you have any questions, or would like to discuss any hearing loss issues with me, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thanks for reading,