Since my early days at varsity Audiology struck a cord with me like nothing else. I can’t that that I ever had a second thought about the degree I was enrolled in. There were one or two peers who always felt that there’s something else that would have rather pursued. Not me, though. I remember during the selection phase, we were given a low down on exactly what audiology was and it excited me like nothing else! I loved the core of it, the science and the art. As the years went on in varsity, there were certain areas of practice that really caught my attention. Some of them were, vestibular rehab, tinnitus and cochlear implants. Albeit these were also areas that were not fleshed out at varsity, there were merely touched on; and rightfully so. There were numerous core principles and practicals that had to be mastered first.
Aural rehabilitation was something that always stuck out for me. Whilst my friends moaned and groaned about it, I secretly looked forward to it. I loved the therapy and the difference it made to the children I worked with. I had one very special little boy who I worked with, closely supervised by my lecturer. It might have been in those months that I completely fell in love with paediatric aural rehab (that’s what we called it at the time). Parents of children with hearing loss were given options for communication and then a school was decided upon. Those options included: Sign language as a primary means of communication, total communication or auditory-verbal/oral approach (read more about communication options here.).
I must profess that I am biased with regards to communication options for children with hearing loss. I believe that children with hearing loss should have the same opportunities as their hearing peers. That can only be possible if they have spoken language skills that are congruent to those of normally developing children. That is why this training that I am involved in so important to me. Hearing loss affects so many aspects of a child’s development. It extends into social interaction skills, cognition and reading skills. Most countries do not have universities for people who use sign language as their first language. So then what happens after high school? Options are limited! And that is unfair!
Of course, this stance can only be taken when children are identified early, fitted with amplification as soon as possible and receive the therapy and counselling. So by being an advocate for spoken language, I also hold very dearly to me, early identification and newborn hearing screening. I will discuss the importance of that in another article. Coming back to my unconditional love for audiology, there were so many things that surprised me when I first began practicing independently. The first of which was patients who expressed their surprise and pleasure in now being able to hear so many things that they had been missing out on. And now I am on this new journey and this is the happiest I have ever been about my profession at this exact moment in time. I can’t wait to see the results in my work, but all this knowledge is sobering. What’s more apparent now are Aristotle’s words: The more you know, the more you know you don’t know. I must also acknowledge the team of mentors that have been incredibly generous with their knowledge and expertise. Most of all, they are so humble, and that is humbling in its own right.
On a concluding note, I love audiology because it gives me the opportunity to serve others. I think that serving others is a privilege. When someone comes to me, trusting that I will be able to help them, that to me is a huge honour. Many people say that work can not be the most important thing in your life. But my work is more than work and it comes second only to my family. And even they understand my love and commitment for the “work” I do.
Til next time!