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Why people become hearing healthcare professionals

Contributed by | Monday, October 20th, 2014

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One of my favorite assignments for Healthy Hearing is conducting interviews with hearing healthcare professionals for our Wednesday Hearing Center Interviews. During the 30-minute phone conversations, I get a glimpse into what makes each hearing center unique, as well as the personality of the professionals who work in them. While their reasons for entering the profession vary, their commitment to improving their patients' quality of life through better hearing is a common thread.

Why do people become hearing healthcare professionals? I'll let them tell you ...

They followed in their parents' footsteps

Aaron Brody, HIS 

Aaron's Audio Aids, Brooklyn, NY

Like many college students, Aaron was trying to decide what to do with the rest of his life when a part-time job gave him some direction. His father, an audiologist who dispensed hearing aids from an office in the back of their home, enlisted Aaron’s help in the business.

choosing audiology
There are numerous reasons people decide to
become hearing healthcare professionals, 
whether they love science and technology or
are following in their parents' footsteps! 

“I found this field was a great opportunity to meet people and make a difference in their life,” he said, “not only emotionally but physically as well.” Today, Aaron’s father is “85% retired” from his Brooklyn business and Aaron – now a Hearing Instrument Specialist — is the owner.

“I got into hearing health because I love being part of someone’s life in a positive way,” he said. “It’s so satisfying to hear you’ve improved someone’s quality of life by fitting them with hearing aids.”

Yvette B. Bethea, M.S., CCC/A, FAAA

Associates in Hearing, Baton Rouge, LA

Yvette grew up in a medical family. Her grandfather was a physician, her father was a dentist and her three brothers are physicians. As a child, she was very drawn to science and learned sign language. When one of her brothers introduced her to audiology, she knew she’d found her life’s work.

“I feel like everyone is called to do something,” she explained. “This is my service.”

They took the fork in the road

Nancy Datino, Au.D, CCC-A,

Audiology and Speech Solutions, Rye, NY

Dr. Datino isn't just an audiologist — she's also a speech-language pathologist with a focus on rehabilitation. "It doesn't stop at the hearing aid for me," she explains. "I really pride myself in integrating a person’s difficulty with lifestyle, budget and challenges they might have in my treatments."

Dr. Datino was a special education major in college when a course in Communication Problems of the Mentally and Physically Handicapped changed her direction. "I met an audiologist when I was doing a research paper and observed him working with an elderly patient in his office. he impressed me with his knowledge and care. That's when I realized that's what I wanted to do. I finished my undergraduate degree and went straight into my masters in audiology. It was quite the revelation."

Corry Wilcox, M.A., CCC-A

Audiology Associates of Lancaster, Lancaster, PA

When Corry realized hearing was central to communication, she switched her career goal of becoming a high school English teacher to that of audiologist. That was more than 17 years ago.

“It became my mission to help as many people as possible attain better hearing,” she said. “Being a hearing healthcare practitioner means you do a lot of counseling. It’s a privilege when your patients feel they can open up and talk to you.”

Karen Cowan-Oberbeck, Au.D., FAAA, CCC-A and Glenn Oberbeck, BC-HIS

Earcare PA, Melbourne, PA

What do a former speech pathologist and firefighter have in common? When it's this husband and wife team, it’s restoring communication to individuals with hearing loss.

Karen was originally a speech pathology major in college but realized diagnostics were more her forte. Glenn was a police lieutenant, paramedic and firefighter.

“My kids were growing up and I was working nights, weekends and hurricanes,” he said. “I wanted to find something career-wise I could do and not miss it.”

They like science and technology

Dan Trimble, M.S., F-AAA, CCC-A

Metro Hearing, Phoenix, AZ

Like most audiologists, Dan likes helping people hear better, but it was the science behind the profession that attracted him to it in the first place. "Audiology isn't one of those things that most people aspire to," he said, "but for me, I enjoy the scientific, analytical pursuits including acoustics and sound. All of that flows into hearing."

Kay Kochman, Au.D., F-AAA

TriCity Audiology, Chandler, AZ

Dr. Kochman likes to joke that the reason she became an audiologist is simply because she walked through the wrong door. "I was actually looking to take sign language classes in the speech and hearing department," she said. "Once I started learning about audiology and speech pathology, I found I loved the science of audiology and sound — and the anatomy of the ear was fascinating — so I changed my major. I joke that I walked in the wrong door, but it definitely led me in the right direction."

They want to help people

Frank Pamplin

Frank Pamplin Audiology, White Hall, Arkansas

Frank knew there had to be more to life as he recovered from a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis more than 20 years ago. When he told a rehabilitation counselor that he’d like to find a profession where he could help people, the counselor recommended speech pathology. “I like gadgets more than pencil and paper, so it led me to audiology,” Pamplin said. “I’ve been doing this now for 17 years and have no plans to retire in the near future. It’s just not work for me at all.”

Nimet Adams, Au.D., CCC-A

Hearing Partners of South Florida

Dr. Adams is a problem solver. So, when she took a fundamental speech and audiology course in college “it hit home,” she said. “The main reason I’m an audiologist is because I want to help people. Audiology is a good balance of medical and technology and I love both. With other types of medical specialties, you have to work with people for several years before you see a result. I knew that wouldn’t work for me.”

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