Becoming a Part of the Family

As I write this post I am reminded that we all are different, that we all are unique in our journey to our current day. How exciting it all is and even more special that we can share it via modern technology.

Nicole at Sonova

My transition to audiology is not one of the “classic” stories you hear. I don’t know anyone with hearing loss, I have no family history of hearing loss or hearing aid use, and I was never exposed to hearing loss throughout school.

How is it then that I ended up as an audiologist?

Pure coincidence! The medical field was always my interest and during my undergraduate studies in the U.S. I was urged to take a class called “Introduction to Communication Sciences” by a friend who had just signed up. The class was based purely on speech pathology, which at that time I found intriguing and wanted to learn more about. I completed my general education requirements and was on my way to a graduate program to complete the training required to become a speech language pathologist.

My future and neatly organized roadmap changed abruptly when I started my required audiology courses during the final semester of my senior year. I knew after that first day that I was not meant to be a speech language pathologist. I was meant to be an audiologist.

Speech pathology and audiology differ in many ways. Striking contrasts are observed solely on the physical and anatomical mechanisms each consists of. However, there is a contrast in the practice of each specialty. Speech pathology is a long-term commitment from both the patient and the therapist, with progression towards an end goal often being slow and tedious. Often times the goal is never achieved, or it is changed to accommodate the pace.

The same can be said for audiology, however the time constant changes. The moment you identify a hearing loss, prescribe hearing aids, and put them on a patient — you see an immediate reaction. Call it instant gratification, however all audiologists will tell you that there is a journey ahead, a treatment path to follow, but the life-changing impact can be seen immediately. That is what hooked me.

After eight long years of undergraduate and graduate work I am proud to say that I earned every bit of my Doctorate of Audiology (Au.D.) from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. After a short period of private practice I was given the opportunity to become a part of Sonova, via their new “audiology post-graduate” position.

Open to recent Au.D. graduates, the program is made up of a one-year journey through the various Sonova companies: Phonak U.S. (Chicago), Advanced Bionics (California), Connect Hearing (British Columbia), and Phonak headquarters (Switzerland). I am only the second person to take part in the new program, however interest is growing at a rapid rate and more applications are received every year. The program offers insight into the workings of Sonova as well as how each individual company works on their own as well as with each other.

At the end of the year-long program, I have the opportunity to survey all of the Sonova companies and make a choice of where I would like to work. I like to call it a golden opportunity.

So where does my future lead from here? I like to keep my opportunities (and my eyes) wide open to all possibilities in the future. I enjoy my job and love my profession. I am astonished every day by the technological opportunities we are able to work with in our overall goal of providing the best care and technology to the hearing aid community, their family and friends.

I consider myself very lucky to be a part of the whole experience. I also look forward to being a contributor to this community blog as well as reading the many interesting and thoughtful posts that my colleagues have written.

I thank you in advance for you warm welcome and look forward to contributing again soon!

One thought on “Becoming a Part of the Family”

  1. Fantastic story. I have heard that it is common to start speech therapist study and switch to audiology. Congrats on the jobs that you have obtained over time.

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