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All About Audiology – Episode 1

In this inaugural episode of the All About Audiology Podcast, Dr. Lilach Saperstein introduces the field of audiology. She describes the different settings that audiologists can work. Below, is a transcript of the episode.

Welcome to All About Audiology, a podcast that’s, well, all about audiology. I’m your host Dr. Lilach Saperstein, an audiologist passionate about the field of audiology, and how there’s this fascinating intersection of communication, medicine, technology, phonology and speech production and linguistics, and neuroscience and music. We’ll explore together how hearing works and how it affects all of us everyday in different ways. What information do you need to make empowered decisions. We’ll discuss topics like hearing aids, cochlear implants, tinnitus- ringing in the ears, and tubes/grommets, sign language and deaf education and also, what to expect at an appointment with an audiologist, and lots more.

Who’s this podcast for?

Whether you’re a parent to a child with hearing loss, teacher or a therapist, or you’re trying to convince your mom to go for a hearing test, or you yourself went to an audiologist and you’re interested in more about what audiology is, this podcast is for you. Every other episode will be an exploration of a specific topic and the in between episodes will be all about you. I’ll be answering listener questions and sharing your comments and feedback so that this will be an interactive process, not just me lecturing into the void. I want to hear from you and have you be a part of the podcast along with me.

In this episode I want to give an overview about audiology and tell you what are the different things that audiologist do. Not only getting your hearing tested!

Audiologists are experts of the eighth cranial nerve. We have, in our head, 12 cranial nerves that each go to different parts of our face and head. For example, the optic nerve for vision and the olfactory nerve for our sense of smell. We have not only the sensory nerves, but also those that control motor movement, for example the muscles around the eye, and all the facial muscles, controlling the muscles we use to chew, and smile and wiggle our nose. So of these 12 cranial nerves, the eighth one is the vestibulo-cochlear nerve, the auditory nerve. And it’s the one that’s connected to the inner ear, bringing information from the cochlear up to the brain, and also from the other part of the inner ear that controls for balance.

Audiologist study all about what goes right first, how this works and what’s meant to happen, and then what can go wrong. We consider all the different parts of the ear.

Audiologists perform hearing testing and other diagnostic testing, treatment and rehabilitation, and counseling. Counseling is my favorite part of being an audiologist because explaining someone’s diagnosis and their options to them gives them a sense of control and empower them to make good decisions.

Patients learn to be self-advocates when they understand what’s happening.

Audiologists work in various settings such as in private practice or combined ENT offices, in hospitals and cochlear implant centers. Audiologists also work in industry with hearing aid and cochlear implant manufacturers. The setting closest to my heart is the school setting; as an educational audiologist at a school for the Deaf, I worked to maximize the students’ auditory potential and ensure everyone’s devices were functioning properly. I also communicated with the medical home and with the families.

When people hear that I’m an audiologist and say cardiologist? Radiologist? And I find that so fitting with what it is that I do, in helping people understand that everyone needs top down and bottom up processing. This means we use context to help us understand the message, not only the words. We use redundancy, our knowledge of culture and language, to process sounds.

The other thing is that if they did hear me properly, then they say “what?” and I don’t fall for that one anymore. This is usually the corny dad type, but they always seem to think it’s hysterical.

Thanks so much for joining me for this first episode of All About Audiology, I look forward to creating these for you and with you. I hope you learned something today and I invite you to let me know what that was, what’s something that you didn’t know about audiology before, or something you’d like to know in the future. So send me an email, a DM on instagram @allaboutaudiologypodcast , or a review with your comment or question and it might be there in our first mini episode that will be all about your comments and your experience with audiology.

I’m Dr. Lilach Saprestein and you’ve been listening to All About Audiology.

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