Let Me Hear from You
The recent online article, “The Least Stressful Jobs of 2011,” by Victoria Brienzi, generated a number of responses from Academy members, many of whom challenged Brienzi’s suggestion that audiology is a relatively stress-less career. Given the work demands and pressures experienced by many audiologists in the workplace, it is not surprising that many audiologists felt compelled to give examples of daily work they do with patients that can be quite stressful, such as telling parents their child is deaf, dealing with mounds of paperwork, and responding sweetly to folks who are not happy that their hearing aids are expensive and do not enable them to return to the hearing status they had “back in the days”.
Despite what may appear to some to be an expression of job discontent from the audiologists who reported tremendous work stress in their responses to the least stressful jobs article, I believe many of the responders who reported great deals of stress nevertheless have tremendous pride in their profession. A sense of professional pride means that you value the purpose and content of your job. Stressful or not, I think most audiologists experience pride in what they do to serve people with hearing and balance problems. Professional pride can have a huge impact on public awareness, consumers, prospective students searching for an appealing career, state and national government, and medical and allied health-care professionals. Likewise, a sense of professional pride motivates each of us to provide the highest quality of services to our consumers.
As this is my last AT E-News column as I wind up my year as Academy president, I want to urge all of you who are reading this piece to be audiology ambassadors, and to show your professional pride in as many ways as you can. Take every opportunity to tell people you know, as well as strangers, what audiology is and what audiologists do to help people with hearing and balance problems. Give people examples of what you do in your practice, and how it influences quality of life for so many people.
In your ambassador role, inspire students to consider audiology as a profession. When you meet a high school or college student, ask them what they are interested in, then tell them about the profession. By inspiring future generations, you will help ensure that a sufficient number of audiologists are available to provide services long after you have retired (and by then, you may need to have access to audiologists to help you with your own hearing and balance problems!).
Volunteer to speak at civic organizations in your town, and contribute interviews and articles to public media to get the word out about audiology, hearing loss, and balance disorders. Talk to your legislators, both locally and nationally, and promote your profession with pride. For effective advocacy, it is important for you to show your professional pride.
In summary, my fellow audiologists, please stand up and show major pride for your profession and the work you do to help people with hearing loss and balance problems! Even though you may not be one of the seven dwarfs from Snow White, who whistled while they worked, you can still share your pride in your profession in a myriad of ways, just about every single day!