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Sycle Continuum of Care - December 2018

My Au.D. Experience

My Au.D. Experience
Samira Anderson
June 2, 2000

''Good morning, I'm Dr. Anderson, the Audiologist''. Since May 8, 2000, I
have had the privilege of introducing myself as ''Dr. Anderson''. On that day I graduated from the University of Florida with a Doctor of Audiology degree through their Working Professional Au.D. program. I want to reflect on what the degree has meant to me, my colleagues and my patients.

When I enrolled in my first class, ''Applied Auditory Electrophysiology'', I was taking a leap of faith. I didn't know if I would be happy with the University of Florida program. I didn't know what a doctorate would mean to me personally or professionally. I told my husband that the benefits of the new degree were uncertain, but I felt that it would expand my opportunities and it seemed like the right thing to do. By the end of the first class, I knew I was in the right program.

I felt much more confident in my ability to obtain and interpret electrophysiologic measures. Rather than operating like a technician, I was finally able to select the parameters and define protocols based on my newly acquired fund of knowledge.

Every class I have taken has resulted in a positive change in my practice and a greater foundation of knowledge from which I can better manage and interact with patients. I now look at my patient's health history as a whole, and consider how factors may interact.

When I see deaf patients, I have a broader understanding of the issues surrounding deafness and cochlear implant candidacy. In particular, when I see children with post-meningitic deafness, I know to initiate the CI evaluation process quickly due to problems associated with cochlear ossification. I have a far better understanding of the deaf community than I did 2 years ago.

When I took the ''amplification'' class, I was expecting an easy course. Afterall, I spend hours dispensing hearing aids every day and I constantly update my knowledge; what could I have to learn? As it turned out, that class was a killer! I learned a lot, from earmold acoustics to the specific rationale for choosing prescriptive targets.

The ''Aural Rehabilitation'' class motivated me to start an aural rehabilitation group for individuals who are being fitted with hearing aids for the first time. The response has been highly enthusiastic -- patients love these groups! We are tracking two measures to determine the efficacy of the groups, our overall return rate and the number of individual follow-up visits.

Much of what I learned has been from fellow students. The interaction with students on the week-ends and during weekly chat sessions has been a major benefit from this program. The spirit of cooperation and mutual benefit has been outstanding.

As a result of the Au.D., I have changed the way I practice audiology and the way I perceive myself as an audiologist. I find myself relating to physicians, nurse practitioners and others as professional equals. I have received a great deal of respect from my colleagues and patients for the obvious effort that I put into obtaining this degree.

I have not received a salary increase or change in position, but the options are open. One patient told me that she chose to start seeing me for hearing aids and hearing care because I look at her as a whole person -- not just an ear that needs a hearing aid.

That kind of statement makes all the classes, the hours and the hard work worthwhile. I encourage all of you to investigate your options regarding Au.D. education. The knowledge gained was (for me) overwhelming.

20Q with Gus Mueller | Hearing Loss & Dementia - Highlights from Key Research | Author: Nicholas Reed, Aud |

Samira Anderson

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