Why I Became an Audiologist
By: Dr. Molly E. Bishop
I always joke that I fell into audiology by accident. Oftentimes I think that I did not find audiology, but it found me. From a young age I knew I wanted to work in the field of healthcare. Growing up I would hear stories from my mother, a respiratory therapist at Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital, about children getting better and going home with their families. This is where I developed my passion for caring for others.
I say that I stumbled into audiology by accident because I began my journey at the University of Pittsburgh as a Pre-Pharmacy major. I chose pharmacy because I have always loved math and science. Early on in my studies, I realized that pharmacy did not have the one-on-one patient interactions that I wanted. At that time, I had several people suggest Speech Language Pathology as a new major. This led me to Communication Science and Disorders in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Lucky for me, the first class I took was Intro to Audiology. It was the science behind audiology that drew me in, but the connection with people that hooked me.
I will never forget a patient who came to me with his wife after a change in hearing. This patient was recently wheelchair bound and had numerous comorbid conditions including early onset dementia. His wife was distraught about their inability to communicate. That day, I found that he had a severe degree of hearing loss and poor speech understanding in both ears. His doctor said that he was not a candidate for traditional hearing aids or a cochlear implant, but we continued forward. On the day of his hearing aid fitting, his wife was stunned that he could hear her at a normal conversational level. At the follow-up, I was touched to hear that he could hear all of his family members at his 80th birthday party. I received the biggest hug from his wife because she was finally able to communicate with her husband again. As a girl who lost her grandfather to Alzheimer’s disease, this will always be one of my favorite stories. This solidified my decision to become an audiologist.
Audiology for me is all about the connections I form with my patients. It is not only a profession where we help people hear, but we are able to help people communicate. It’s true what they say, “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” And I love audiology.