Five Questions is a series of profiles of people at Augustana College. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you know someone you’d like to respond to five questions.
What sparked your interest in audiology?
I was introduced to the field as a high school student by a great family friend who was a speech-language pathologist. I was intrigued by her work with school-aged children with communication impairments. Later, the courses I took as an undergraduate pre-med student in acoustics, human anatomy, sign language and psychology confirmed my passion for audiology.
Please describe a favorite class experience.
A few years ago, we began giving poster presentations in our hearing science course. Several students arrived at the evening poster session that first year in gowns. Yes, full-length gowns and heels—to my surprise! As it turned out, they had a sorority event that same night. Now when students ask about the dress code, I just laugh!
What is the most challenging part of your job as an audiologist or as a professor?
As an audiologist, the most challenging part of my job is informing the patient, or parents of a patient, that they or their child have hearing loss. In my 10-15 years of experience, this does not get any easier!
As a professor, mentoring undergraduate research and Senior Inquiry projects can be quite challenging because of the time commitment involved. But when students present their work to the department and at conferences, it is also one of the more rewarding aspects of my job.
You examine the effects of acoustic stimuli and tinnitus relief. What prompted this study?
What can you share about the results? I developed tinnitus myself in both ears about four years ago. After that occurred, I became more interested in finding ways to develop better treatments. Currently, I am working with the University of Iowa on a randomized, controlled trial of tinnitus maskers, or devices used to mask or cover up tinnitus. Though only half of the subjects have completed this study, these maskers have had a positive impact on tinnitus for some individuals.
What is the most valuable aspect of your career?
The high-quality interactions I have with students in the classroom, patients at the clinic and with colleagues at Augie have kept me inspired and motivated to continue my work.
By Rachel Reiter ’18, Augustana Writers Bureau