Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of an Audiologist looks like? Jocelyn Dore, Audiologist at Advanced Specialty Care, gives us a look into what her typical schedule looks like treating audiology and hearing aid patients.
Read on to find out what goes into evaluating, treating and restoring hearing in patients of all ages!
I wake up this morning at about 6 am to the sound of my son running up the stairs to our bedroom. My husband and I think he's part rooster. It is a very energetic way to start the day.
After getting the kids and myself prepared for the day, I'm ready to head to the office. On the way out the door I grab a loaf of Stew Leonard's bread and some jam to leave in the kitchen to share. It's a big office and we all love having something to snack on.
I arrive at the office about 20 minutes before my first patient is scheduled. I usually have voicemails from patients in the morning but today, I don't have any so I sign August birthday cards. Every month, the Audiologists send birthday cards to our existing hearing aid patients as a way to let them know we are thinking about them.
At 8:40 I see my first patient. I fit her in before official office hours. She is a power hearing aid user and our first hearing aid selection wasn't a good fit for her. We fit another hearing aid today and made some adjustments. We are both optimistic that this hearing aid will work out better. I'll see her in two weeks, but she'll call sooner if something goes awry. Hearing loss can impact your entire body’s mental & physical health so we take hearing health very seriously. I always want my patients to be comfortable and satisfied with their hearing aids and I encourage them to call me with any questions and feedback.
I now begin covering hearing tests for the Ear, Nose and Throat physicians for the next hour and a half. There are many reasons ENTs order a hearing test, including for ear ringing (tinnitus), dizziness, ear fullness, ear infections, or perceived hearing loss. Today, I evaluate a few children recovering from ear infections and a few older adults with various ear issues. It's wonderful having ENT and Audiology specialists working side by side within the same practice!
It's 10:30 and I resume seeing my own patients. My first is someone I've taken care of for seven years. Since we've been together for so long, we have seen each other through many milestones and life events. She remembers when I was pregnant with my son and I recall her husband's long illness. So much of hearing is about communication and I appreciate that I know my patients on such a personal level.
Next I see someone for a routine hearing test. She just wants to know the status of her hearing because she feels she is experiencing a little difficulty. Her hearing ends up being completely normal; It's fun to give some good news!
Since my previous patient was very straight forward, I have about 45 minutes for lunch so I run back home, sweep the kitchen floor and start a load of laundry.
I start up again at 12:30 with a 2 year old patient. She is getting a hearing test because she has a speech delay. Hearing tests for children, especially at this young age, are conducted differently than adult hearing tests. For young children, we test by making sound come out of speakers to the right and left. When the child turns their head toward the sound, they see a little light up toy as a reward. This type of testing is called Visual Reinforcement Audiometry. Everything looks normal with this patient; More good news!
I check my voicemails; Still no messages. I email one of the administrators to make sure the phones are working since this is so unusual.
Next up is a newborn baby. All the babies born in Connecticut hospitals (and most states in the US) have a hearing screening before they go home. This little one, just 6 days old, failed the hearing screening and is being seen for a follow up screening. If she doesn't pass again today, we will send her for full diagnostic testing at a children's hospital. If a child has a hearing loss, the goal is to fit him or her with hearing aids by age 6 months. The window of language learning is very small, so we want children to hear as much spoken language as possible so they can develop speech and language. Fortunately, this little one passed her repeat screening. We will see her again in 1 year to make sure everything is still going well.
Now I have a full dizziness evaluation. This is an hour and a half test that looks at the different parts of the ears that are responsible for balance and the connection from the ears to the brain. An hour and a half is a lot of time to get to know a patient. We shared some laughs and fortunately, I didn't make her too dizzy. She will return in a week to discuss the test results with the referring ENT.
It's 3 pm and I just grabbed a half a cup of coffee. I'll regret it at 10 pm when I can't sleep, but after that hour and a half dizziness evaluation in a darkened room, I need a pick-me-up!
Next I conduct another routine hearing test for someone who wants to know the status of her hearing. Many medical organizations are encouraging people to get a baseline hearing test at around 60 years old, and it seems that today, many people are doing just that! She shows me pictures of her first grandchild and we have a nice chat.
While waiting for my next patient I analyze some of the test results for the dizziness evaluation I did earlier this afternoon. I show some of the tracings to another audiologist to discuss the findings. I love being a part of our 5-audiologist team. 5 brains are better than one!
A voicemail! I guess the phones are working and mine is just suspiciously quiet today. A long-standing patient calls asking to be seen on Monday because her hearing aid isn't working. I call her back and offer her a 20 minute slot. It's a tight squeeze, but I think I'll be able to fix the problem fairly quickly.
Two more patients to go.
The 3:40 patient is a patient who purchased hearing aids about 2 years ago in Florida. They don't fit well and he doesn't wear them consistently, but I am very familiar with this brand. I retest the patient's hearing aid and recalculate the hearing aid settings according to his current hearing loss. I replace some of the parts so the fit is better. The patient leaves satisfied with his hearing aids and promises to wear them all day, every day.
My last patient of the day is another two year old child with a speech delay. This one is a toughie. He is very active so I have to pull out my bag of tricks to keep him occupied for Visual Reinforcement Audiometry but I get all the information I need so we don't have to bring him back for another test. His parents are bilingual so I get to try out my "it was nice to meet you" in Portuguese. I write the report and fax it to the pediatrician.
No more voicemails. I bring my coffee cups to the kitchen sink and turn off my office lights then wash my hands for the 15th time today.
Now I'm off to meet my family at my son's karate practice so my husband can bring our daughter to the orthodontist. Later, we'll meet at home and have leftovers for dinner. Tomorrow I'll get up, and do it all over again.
Jocelyn Dore, Au.D. is a licensed Audiologist. She practices at Advanced Specialty Care's offices in Danbury, New Milford and Southbury, CT.
At Advanced Specialty Care, we have a dedicated team of audiologists who will work with you. Through diagnostic testing and conversations with you, one of our audiologists will not only determine what your hearing abilities are, but will work with you towards solutions for better hearing and communication. To take the first step and schedule a hearing exam, call (203) 830-4700 today. Our offices are located in Danbury, CT, New Milford, CT, Norwalk, CT and Ridgefield, CT.