I’m an Audiologist. That’s right, an Audiologist. The uninitiated have trouble pronouncing it properly – it’s a little weird but really not that hard if you listen: OR-DEE-OL-O-GIST.
And Audiologists need to be able to listen, and be patient, and work in a quiet environment, and maybe sometimes raise their voices (not shout) to help their clients. So let me tell you a little bit about being an Audiologist and the attributes you should have if this is the career path you want to follow:
1. You are working with hearing impaired people. Guess what? They can’t hear properly so you have to be able to speak clearly and be prepared to raise your voice (not shout) if required. You also have to feel comfortable with gesturing to make yourself understood. You don’t need to know sign language but being expressive is helpful!
2. Most of the people you are dealing with will be elderly – so you need to be patient, empathetic and caring. You have to like people. If you don’t like people – don’t do this job!
3. You also have to be a good communicator. You are helping people to live with hearing loss – both the client and their family. If you are a poor communicator, this is not the career path for you. You will be dealing with communication impairment, so you need to be an excellent communicator and you should enjoy communicating on many different levels.
4. You have to be a good listener. Some of your clients will like to talk – a lot. Listen to their stories. Not only are the elderly very interesting, if you listen to them they will feel better and do much better with their hearing devices. Some people, on the other hand, are more reticent and don’t want to divulge their problems. This is where you have to listen to what they’re not saying to be able to help them successfully.
5. You have to enjoy the quiet. As an Audiologist you will spend a lot of time in a sound proof booth, testing hearing in all manner of ways. If you don’t like the sound of your own body noises, (or other people’s) this is not the job for you!!
6. These days, as an Audiologist, you also have to be a salesperson. Most Audiologists work in hearing clinics where they are selling hearing aids to clients. You have to motivate your clients to want to wear hearing aids (they are not as sexy as glasses) and show them how being able to hear will help them maintain positive social relationships.
As Helen Keller once said “Hearing is what keeps us in the intellectual company of man” and helping people to hear and communicate better is a rewarding job. If this sounds like the type of work you are interested in, take the next step and visit a hearing clinic to see what goes on in the silence. It’s more than you imagine!