Different Areas of AuD

30 Mar

I need to make an informed decision about what type of audiology I might like to do.  When I was trying to gain admission into vet school, I always put small animal private practice (like the other 90% of applicants) because that was what I knew, what was easiest to get involved with, and that’s where most of my experience was at.  I want to actively choose my arena for Audiology.  So I went to the student academy of audiology website and here is what I found:

http://www.audiology.org/SAA/SAA_News/SAA_interviews/Pages/default.aspx

–>everything without ** in front of it is cut & pasted directly from the interview.  **are my thoughts and comments.

Beltone audm

AuD/PhD:
**absolutely not! That sounds like either double the years in school or double the credit-load. Financially, that would be awful to pay for that much more school. Personally, I want to start working much sooner!

Walking about-July 2012 034

Intraoperative Monitoring AuD:
–>there is only one non-medical profession permitted to provide monitoring independent of medical oversight? That profession is Audiology

-2. What is a typical day like?
No such thing really exists in the OR, and for me that is one of the attractions of intraoperative monitoring. Many surgical cases begin before the sun comes up and may last into the night
**I think I would like a more regular schedule then veterinary medicine allowed. I want a cemented schedule of appointments, and regular work hours.

3. you have to be able to think on your feet to overcome electrical fields generated by drills, suction devices, beds and operating microscopes in order to have a signal that is stable and useful in helping to guide the surgical procedure.
**I’m tired of being stressed to the max, and this scenario sounds panic-inducing.

Educational Audiology:

Her first opportunity to provide audiology services was with the Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board, providing itinerant audiology services to seven different Native American communities in New Mexico, Utah, and Southern Colorado for 13 years. She then went on to develop an educational audiology program for the Rio Rancho Public Schools in New Mexico and has provided educational audiology services for 20 years to students and staff.

**I think this sort of thing would be awesome in the short term!  I would love to help my people.  But I would want more stability eventually. . .

inner ear 2

2. What is a typical day like for you as an educational audiologist?
Every day is different, but I spend some time doing just some basic hearing screenings, repairing hearing aids, working with teachers to help them understand hearing loss, and working with FM systems. So usually about half of my day is out at one of the schools and then I usually return to my office to contact parents, write reports, and do more complete hearing evaluations. I have portable equipment that I take with me to provide some itinerant services out in the schools and then I have a sound booth and clinical equipment at my office to provide more complete evaluations. I don’t do any hearing aid fittings, but hearing aid checks and minor hearing aid repairs are a daily routine. I fit personal FM systems and provide monthly checks. Our district has purchased a number of classroom amplification systems for each school; three of our newer schools have classroom amplification systems in every classroom. So I do spend some time troubleshooting classroom sound systems and doing some teacher training with them as well.

**all of this sounds cool.  I wonder if I would miss actually fitting hearing aids, or if I wouldn’t love the fitting process in the first place.

3.  I am fortunate to have the opportunity to follow the students throughout their school careers. Some of my students I’ve seen since preschool and have graduated or are getting ready to graduate from high school and go on, so you get the opportunity to see how the students mature and hopefully become contributing adults. I have even tested the child of the first cochlear implant student I worked with.

**this would be amazing!  Unless you had to work with some sort of turkey, then you had to be with that person forever. ..

my_dbay_room

4. What are some of the limitations and challenges in the field of educational audiology?
I think one of the most important things that we need to do is the communication and collaboration with the teachers and speech pathologists, and yet this probably one of the most difficult things to coordinate because of the teachers’ schedules. Teachers are being required to do more and more with less and less. I think that collaboration is probably one of the most important things that we can do to support our deaf and hard-of-hearing students, not only with teachers but also with ancillary staff. Finding that time to collaborate continues to be a challenge. And I think sometimes just for people to understand the impact of hearing loss on a student’s ability to access instruction is a challenge.

**I totally concur.  Talking to my Mom, she is excited to make changes or learn about audiology and hearing, but just didn’t know the info.  I think I might have an advantage in this because my Mom is a teacher so I can see both sides of the story and fill in holes.

5.  to get involved:  Educational Audiology Association-EAA is probably the best value. It provides such relevant resources through the listserv. EAA also provides summer conferences that provide not only continuing education but also the opportunity to network with other educational audiologists and to belong to a community of people who have similar experiences and common goals of helping deaf and hard-of-hearing students become successful.

real estate agent

Industry Audiologist:

1.  I am currently employed as a product manager at Phonak U.S. and what that means is that I work with traditional hearing aids (BTEs, RICs, ITEs) throughout their life cycle. I work with our Swiss colleagues and our research and development team to get the right materials and to develop the right products for the market. Then once it’s brought to market I work with our sales and development team in the U.S. to train them on what the product does so they can in turn train the hearing healthcare professionals. I also discontinue the products when that time comes later down the road. –

**In my mind, I thought this would be more testing industrial workers for noise-induced hearing loss–something I’d be interested in.  I see now this is a fancy term for “drug-rep” aka sales.  Hell no!

2.  I thought, “You know, maybe I should join a profession that actually talks to people as opposed to talking petri dishes.” sales representative

**I’m the opposite.

3.  working with the veterans was amazing as well.

**Though, I think I would like this aspect.  But you could find it in other AuD niches as well.

4.  My typical day is crazy! I don’t really feel that any audiologist has a typical day. It’s always something different, which makes the field so exciting. Right now my day revolves around a lot of meetings with different departments from research and development, to science and technology, to marketing, to market insights looking at what are the market needs of the hearing impaired and how can we use our products to best serve those. I do a lot of work with the development and marketing of training material. How do we leverage the material we have and what’s the best kind of representation of material, be it print or digital, that we can give to health care professional so they can in turn help their patients the best way they know how.

**no, this isn’t for me.  I wouldn’t like all the travel or commissions, and I couldn’t be super-phony to sell-sell-sell!

5.  6. What are some challenges of working for a manufacturer?
Two things come to mind: One is travel. Sometimes the travel is amazing, like Switzerland, sometimes it’s not. For a lot of audiology positions within the industry, it does require an extensive amount of travel. You have to be flexible in your lifestyle, and really want to do that. The day to day travel can wear on you, so you have to be prepared for that. From the health prospective, to the family prospective, you have to make sure that fits within your life and the lifestyle you want to have. The travel does afford you the opportunity to travel and meet people all over the world and to see how audiology is done all over the place. The other challenge is that I don’t get as much patient care as I would like sometimes. I got into audiology to help people. As a clinical audiologist you get to do that every day in the clinic. Sometimes as you’re away from that you want to reconnect to that every once in a while. Luckily, opportunities within manufacturing allow for that but it’s not every day. Sometimes you’ll see a patient every once in a while, either working with a validation group, or working on a research team, or also going to help a clinical audiologist in the field. Sometimes you crave that patient interaction, which is why we all got in this to begin with.
**Just like I thought.

dino CI

Cochlear Implant AuD:

I think what really drew me to cochlear implants was the science-base and how frequently the technology changed; it was constantly evolving.  I liked being in on the cutting edge of that and being a part of the research and development and making it possible for deaf individuals, who before had access to amplification, but not with the same success that we are able to provide them with implants, actually be able to achieve near normal speech and language.  So that’s what made me really focus on cochlear implants and make that my primary area.

2.  typical work day?
So on a clinic day, it would vary between going to the operating room and assessing the internal device in the packaging to make sure it’s a functional device, and then again checking the device once it has been implanted, and then assessing the neural responses from that individual using the cochlear implant after the surgery is complete.  Another thing would be a cochlear implant work-up where we would do a full assessment unaided but also with amplification primarily focusing on speech understanding and working toward whether or not that person was a cochlear implant candidate and then discussing with them the devices available and helping them determine what would be the most appropriate implant for them.  I also do cochlear implant activations where implant recipients come in after the surgery and have their devices activated or turned on, so that would be the first time that they would hear or have access to sound.  After that it would typically be mapping, so coming back in for follow-up and testing, either to document their benefit and performance or to adjust and change their maps so that they could have additional benefit from the implant.  On research days, I would also be working with cochlear implants, but it would be testing different protocols for mapping and programming and seeing if we can come up with ways of improving that and making it better for patients.

**I’m not very familiar with what this would actually entail, so I’m not sure if I’d like it.

3. What do you like most about working in CI audiology? 
I think I like the fact that it changes so much.  I like the fact that the technology is always advancing, so you’re constantly learning something new, whether it’s software or equipment or parts and pieces.  I like the fact that it’s not static; it’s something that’s different all the time.  And I really enjoy the fact that you get a long-term relationship with families, so you learn to get along with your patient and kind of establish that rapport and the communication to help them do better with their implant.  It’s a long-term relationship so you really get to watch them progress over time.  I really enjoy having that relationship with the patients.

**I also don’t know how I’d feel about constantly changing technology.  It’s good that improvements are constantly making things better for patients, but how difficult is it to keep up with the new knowledge?  Would you have to go to tons of classes and work with product reps a lot?  Because I don’t think I’d like that very much.

**As for seeing a patient progress over time–that would be very fulfilling and cool.

4. What are some challenges that you face in your practice of cochlear implant audiology?
I think a lot of it would be based on reimbursement from the hospital standpoint as well as from the clinic standpoint.  I think we’re always battling concerns that because of the cost of the device and the reimbursement that we receive, which leaves a big difference between the two, and the shortfall that we receive because of that, that the hospital may at some point limit the number of implants that we can do, and we would never want that to happen because we want to provide this device to as many people as possible and to all people that would be candidates for it.  I think that we are always struggling to have enough time and equipment to be able to see all of the people that are actually candidates.  We have a high patient caseload and we work diligently to see all of them.  I think the numbers are increasing, which is great, but being able to have the number of personnel and the equipment and the resources to provide those services continually is something that we are always looking to improve and make sure that we have.

**It would be difficult to keep up on changing state and federal level insurance intricacies, and I would HATE the business side of this!  I would not want to have an overwhelming caseload, pressure to implant as many people possible, or a struggle to get the funds I’m worth.

4.  there is a lot of job security—so I think you’re making an excellent choice that way—but primarily I think there’s just a lot of job satisfaction.  It’s a very rewarding field.  You’re able to provide so much benefit to a patient.  I think it’s exciting to see that.  It’s exciting to have a long-term relationship with the patients and their families.  I think the field itself is exciting because it’s constantly changing; it’s very dynamic.  You’re stimulated intellectually because it’s always challenging to learn new equipment and software and take on the new knowledge, if it’s out there, and incorporate it into your practice, but it’s also fulfilling because you get to work so closely with patients over a long period of time.

**It sounds good a bad to me, and ultimately I still don’t know enough to make a sound (pun intended) decision about whether or not I’m interested in this avenue.

maculae 1

 Vestibular AuD:

there is a lot of job security—so I think you’re making an excellent choice that way—but primarily I think there’s just a lot of job satisfaction.  It’s a very rewarding field.  You’re able to provide so much benefit to a patient.  I think it’s exciting to see that.  It’s exciting to have a long-term relationship with the patients and their families.  I think the field itself is exciting because it’s constantly changing; it’s very dynamic.  You’re stimulated intellectually because it’s always challenging to learn new equipment and software and take on the new knowledge, if it’s out there, and incorporate it into your practice, but it’s also fulfilling because you get to work so closely with patients over a long period of time.

**I would really like seeing a few patients, but in a very in-depth way.  I think it would allow me to do my best work, without all the scheduling and financial pressures.

3. What do you like most about vestibular practice?
Many patients with vestibular problems can be helped. I enjoy discovering a patient’s underlying condition, giving them a tangible diagnosis, and providing treatment options that can alleviate their troubling symptoms.

**That was one of the best things in the veterinary field–seeing how something YOU did provided direct benefit to the patient.  That would be good.

4. What are some challenges of vestibular practice?
Insurance reimbursement is always a challenge with vestibular practice. We depend on insurance reimbursement for most of our diagnostic work. As reimbursement is cut, we have to be creative in how we stay a viable business.
**This is a hard one.  How do you get past this stuff?  I would want to worry that I’d be out of a job at any given moment.

5.  There are a lot of conditions and presentations that you see in this line of work (more than in a hearing-specific practice), so exposure is very important.  Do not listen to nay-sayers. I was told over and over again that an audiologist can not build a successful practice and/or career out of diagnostic work. I did not believe this for a second, so I was not held back. I have been able to commit myself to an area of audiology that I love, and I have experienced great professional success doing so (without selling one hearing aid over the past 5 years).

ear art 3

I really liked this series of articles!  It gives me more information so I can really know HOW to choose an area based on my personality, interests, and skills.  Instead of just falling into whatever is convenient.

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