Having grown up in a family with extremely limited financial resources, I still remain vigilant in identifying the value in all things. Many of our Academy board of directors meetings are peppered with the frequent phrase “value-added member benefit.” Even as I draw nearer to the closing of my season as the president of the American Academy of Audiology, I still contemplate how audiologists can consistently demonstrate value of services offered to the consumer and our patients. 

I can’t help but recount a story about a young lady who decided to hire a stranger to clean her long- neglected home in preparation for a friend’s impending visit. Despite returning from work to a tidy and clean home, she was horrified to discover her cherished family antique china was missing. When asked, during the phone conversation, the cleaner expressed her perception that the china in question was of no value because they were haphazardly stacked in the sink or other precarious places with solidly caked food in varying stages of decomposition. Consequently, the cleaner placed the china pieces in the garbage. That story often comes to mind when I reflect on what contradictory outward appearances I exhibit about the value I place on treasured possessions, relationships, and even my profession. 

When we equate value to our professional services, it becomes implicitly necessary to quantify that value with observable action/s that are recognized as benefit/s. Unfortunately, neither graduate degrees (e.g., AuD, PhD, MS, MA, etc.), nor state licenses in isolation will ever guarantee perceived value or prove benefit. So, how can we show value?

One quick Google search will easily yield an abundance of identifiable behaviors and actions to “show your value” that are not limited to the following: demonstrate competence, challenge yourself, take ownership of mistakes, be big enough to apologize, make effective and honest communication a habit, give up feelings of entitlement, meet the benchmark/s (either perceived or stated), and exhibit authentic mutual respect and appreciation, etc. 

Ultimately, isn’t it really all about building honest relationships to imbue trust and respect and demonstrate value? Wouldn’t we willingly hold ourselves to the utmost highest level of accountability and authenticity; as if each patient were our most beloved family member or dearest friend? Arrogant, uncivil, and/or duplicitous behaviors have irretrievable toxic effects on building relationships and/or demonstrating value, and have no place in our profession. Rather it is about maintaining professional skills in a relevant manner performed at the highest level of our scope of practice that will ultimately demonstrate that quantifiable value.

We must push ourselves to that more difficult question: Can you PROVE your value on an hourly and daily basis? Our profession is depending upon each and every one of us to do so.