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Journey to AuD- overcoming obstacles- Episode 47 with Dr. Saunja Burt

Welcome back to the All About Audiology podcast. I’m your host Dr. Lilach Saperstein and on this show, we discuss audiology and how it relates to your life. Whether you’re a parent, a student or a professional, you’ll find discussions and conversations here about how audiology affects your life, and practical everyday tips for improving the care that you give your patients, the way you can advocate for yourself or your child and advice for students and young professionals.

Today’s guest is Dr. Saunja Burt, an audiologist from Florida who has more than 20 years experience, including 17 years as an Audiology Program Manager. Dr. Burt received her BA in communication science and disorders from Hampton University, her MBA from Nova Southeastern University and her Doctor of Audiology degree from Central Michigan University in 2001, where she became the first black student to complete a four year residential AUD program.

Just before we dive into that interview, I’d like to remind you that your comments and your messages are the most exciting part of this show and for all of us to have a conversation around these topics. So, come and join the All About Audiology Facebook group, follow me on Instagram and Facebook. And of course, all of your messages are so dear to me and I answer all my DMs and I can’t wait to hear what you think of our conversation.

So, welcome Dr. Burt to the show.

Dr. Lilach Saperstein: “Welcome to the show.”

Dr. Saunja Burt: ‘Well, thank you. Thank you. I appreciate you inviting me. So, just to tell you a little bit about myself. I’m a Midwestern girl. I’m from Ohio, Youngstown, Ohio to be exact, born and raised. I have three sisters. I’m number two. And people always ask why did you become an audiologist? And the reason why is actually my younger sister had ear infections. She had to have pe tubes (pressure equalizing tubes). She had speech and language therapy, so much so that one time I went to one of the appointments with my parents, and she happened to have to have a hearing test that day. We go into, I say the basement because it was the lower level. And I see this lady and she’s explaining everything to my mom, what they’re going to do, the hearing test. So, while she’s talking to my mom, I’m also asking questions, like, ‘Who is this lady? What does she do?’ And my mom was a nurse.”

LS: “Do you know how old you were?”

Dr. B: “I was in middle school, but I remember my mom saying, ‘Oh, this is an audiologist and she does this’. And the audiologist at the time heard this conversation. She stopped and said, ‘Hey, if it’s okay with your parents, you can come test your sister’s hearing with me.’ And of course my parents are like, ‘Yes, go’ you know. They are all about that support. I like to say I did my first hearing test when I was in middle school.”

LS: “What a great experience. That’s so nice.”

DR. B: “Yes. And it was really nice of the audiologist. And you know, at the time, I knew then, I was like, ‘Oh, this is great.’ I ended up attending Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia. They actually have one of the first communication science disorder programs at a historically black university. And I say that to say, I didn’t realize that they had this in undergrad. I went in thinking I was going to be an education major, with the occupational therapy, physical therapy. And then I went back, I was like, Oh, let me take this communicative science disorder class. That was my second semester.”

LS: “We hear from a lot of students and it’s a very common experience that people will say it’s because of my sister, or my parents or I had a kid in my school… But, you know, there’s always some kind of personal connection with learning about audiology as a field, as opposed to just like everybody knows what a dentist is. Everyone needs dentistry. It’s almost like, where is the gap with that, like education or even awareness that audiology is a field. That’s been a journey of evolution in our fields.”

DR. B: “Absolutely. Because I know since I could remember, I know I wanted to do something in healthcare, but I thought, my mom was a nurse, so I thought, Okay, well, maybe I want to be a doctor. So, I actually went to medical camp, and I believe I was in high school. And I realized I was like, Oh, no, this isn’t for me. So, I knew it was something maybe in the allied health care system field that would probably suit my personality a little bit more.”

LS: “Sure. I mean, I was all about medicine also in high school, and then we had the fetal pig dissection.”

Dr. B: “You said that was it? Hahaha.”

LS: “And I was like, um, this is enough. I don’t think this is a good idea. Hahaha. And even though I love being in surgery when I was working at the hospital, I got to be in the surgeries and doing a lot of the inter-operative monitoring and checking cochlear implants. And I, I like the drama. Haha.”

Dr. B: “Exactly. Oh, no, I’m telling you, absolutely. I had a great fourth year externship at University of Michigan. And part of that was the inter-operative monitoring portion of Audiology. And I was like, oh, this is cool. I don’t know if I could have been the one operating but it was great to be the one monitoring.”

LS: “Nope. Way too much responsibility. But I mean, when I’m in the OR (operating room), it’s like a play, and everyone has their role. And you’ve got the scrub nurse. And you’ve got all the other people who are like in charge of devices and one guy who’s like, his whole job is to make sure that electricity just always stay stable for all the different drills and lights and things. And yeah, I just like being kind of a fly on the wall and then stepping in when it’s necessary, and then stepping right out.”

Dr. B: “I like that description. It’s absolutely true. Everyone has their role.”

LS: “And then you have the surgeon and then the resident and sometimes you have students watching, and I love it when the med students come over and ask, ‘What’s going on?’ And I’m like, ‘Well listen here med students…’ “

Both laughing.

Dr. B: “Right. Definitely!”

LS: “So, that’s how you came into audiology. And what was your schooling like? What was the experience like while you were an undergrad and then graduate school?”

Dr. B: “Undergrad, like I said, I went to Hampton University. And Dr. Robert Screen was the program chair at that time. Be brought the program to Hampton University. One of the reasons was that he felt that this was needed to educate black students and students from diverse backgrounds. This was needed in our profession. But I had very supportive instructors there. And the reason why I found out about the AUD actually is because of the audiology instructor at the time, Teresa Graham. I think we had a class of maybe 15 to 20 students and I probably was one of the only ones or the only one who was going to audiology. I knew early on, like, ya know, I’m definitely an audiologist. That’s what I want to do.”

LS: “And not a speech pathologist.”

Dr. B: “Which is great. They supported that. I remember, as I was applying to go to graduate school, she was the one who told me, ‘Hey, the profession is changing. It’s just a great call to AUD, Audiology doctoral degree. There’s only a few schools that have it right now. But I think you should look into it.’ And she even, you know, gave me some articles. So, I looked into it. At the time it was only three schools, it was either two or three schools. I know one school stopped accepting students because they no longer continue their AUD program. And essentially, it came down to Central Michigan, it was like my only choice really, because the other school I think was brand new, and I don’t know if they were accepting students that year. It might have been the following year.”

LS: “So, for our listeners who are not familiar with this history. Basically, we had first the master’s level and a lot of audiologists were practicing that way. And then they introduced the doctoral program. And there was kind of like a period of time where it overlapped. I mean, you know, this, you lived through it. I just know the story. A lot of people were kind of grandfathered in, if you use that expression, where they could continue to practice if they had the Masters, but any new students needed to complete the doctorate. But then you were in that middle ground.”

Dr. B: “I was in that middle. And honestly, it was kind of controversial because everyone wasn’t on board, to be honest. And we didn’t realize that, my classmates and I, when we went to our first conference and realized the discussion going back and forth. So, anyway, I applied to Central Michigan, and was accepted. And I did all this back then. No, we didn’t have zoom or if we did have it, we didn’t do Skype. So, everything was like over the phone, phone interviews. And I was accepted. I didn’t visit the college. I didn’t do any of that. I had made up my mind already that if I got accepted, I would go. So, I’m thinking it was in Michigan, and I’m from Ohio, but I mean, honestly, I’d never been as far as Mount Pleasant.”

LS: “So, what’s the distance, like the drive from Ohio to Michigan?”

Dr. B: “It was about, I should know this, about eight hours, I believe.”

LS: “Oh, wow. Okay, so that’s not like, I’ll just pop by on the weekend.”

Dr. B: “No! Right. It was definitely, definitely longer than a couple of hours. So, that was good. When I went to Central Michigan, it was definitely an adjustment going to Central Michigan from Hampton University.”

LS: “So, you were coming from Virginia, from a predominantly black university.”

Dr. B: “It was. Central Michigan was kind of, I don’t wanna say the middle of nowhere, but you know, Hampton, was full, like a military base, kind of a city. You know, we were close to DC, Norfolk, Virginia Beach. And then I go to Mount Pleasant and I remember driving up there, we were like passing, Lansing and all these major cities and we are going through like farmland. And my parents looked at me and were like, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, no, I’m doing it. Hey, I’m gonna do it. You know, I committed to it.’

And I can tell you my breakdown was not school. It was Linda Seestedt-Stanford who was the clinic director at the time. And I remember I was, this is the first semester there at Central Michigan, and I happen to pass by her office and she said, ‘How are you?’ And I just was crying. She was like, ‘What is wrong? Like you just got here? What happened?’ And I had just spent money, trying to redo my apartment, at target and Walmart and I just spent all this money and I couldn’t find any hair care products. You know what? She sat me down. She listened. And I felt better after I talked to her. I was like, okay, because I’m an out of state student. I didn’t know where to get my hair done. That’s like a big thing, you know, for anyone. She called me at home that night. She had called the stores and told them that I couldn’t possibly be the only student who was having this issue. And she called and she said, ‘Saunja, let me know, what do you need and they’re going to order it for you.’ I was like, ‘Okay, I have made the right decision here’ because it wasn’t a clinical thing. But she took it personal that she called around and took action. So, that’s what she did.”

LS: “Wow, that’s pretty impressive but what impresses me from the story is that you were able to be open about what you were going through.”

Dr. B: “Exactly.”

LS: “I can imagine other people might feel ashamed or just say that this is a concern that I’m feeling uncomfortable sharing. But you were open so then you were met wonderfully by a good person. That took a lot of bravery and I think students need to hear that, you know.”

Dr. B: “Yes.”

LS: “Your professors don’t only care about the the work they, they want you to be okay and for you to get through it.”

Dr. B: “I had some mentorship at Central Michigan, Linda Stanford introduced me to one of our professors, Dr. Dawn Nelson. She was on maternity leave. And she called her and told her about my situation and me just adjusting to being at Central Michigan and needed some help. And so Dr. Nelson had me call her immediately. And I did and that was a great relationship in terms of her being a mentor to me through the program. She also served as a chair on my capstone project, and really helped me when I first started practicing audiology. You know, sometimes you have questions about what you learned in class because she taught us electrophysiology, vestibular, and auditory processing. So, if I had some questions, She was very helpful to have someone to go back to and get that information. So having a mentor is really beneficial.”

LS: “Yeah, it’s so important to have a mentor, and to have those connections with professors. Exactly. Like all on a team and it doesn’t end when you graduate. I always kind of, just on a personal note as well, had to learn that difference in graduate school versus being in undergrad. In undergrad, you’re one of 60, 80, or 300 in your program, whatever. And then in grad school, you become one of ten or one of twenty. You know, much smaller ratio, and everybody who is invested in you completing that program.”

Dr. B: “That’s important.”

LS: “You’re all on one team together. It’s not you versus professors or administration in a way that it might feel like that in undergrad, and then in graduate school, your partners, they want you to succeed. So, go to them with your issues and then try and work things out.”

Dr. B: “I have to say, honestly, I was fortunate that I got that in undergrad as well.”

LS: “Oh, that’s wonderful.”

Dr. B: “We used to joke that our little department was small, but we were mighty. And I find that in audiology, period. I’ve always been in a smaller group, like audiology CDL. Communication Disorders is small, but we were a close knit group. Our professors really, really cared. And then go on to Central Michigan, we were a class of I think ten, a small group, but we had that support. And I feel like even in audiology, we’re such a small group but we are so mighty and what we do is great. We help so many people. So, we are a small but mighty force as well.”

LS: “I love that. I feel that with the All About Audiology community, I feel that as well, you know. I don’t have hundreds of thousands of listeners, but I recognize a lot of people who comment. We’re the same people. I DM back and forth with students from around the world. And I feel that in the podcast. I’m glad that you felt that already so early in your career.”

Dr. B: “Yeah.”

LS: “So, what do you think were some of the highlights, top moments from your education? And then some of the challenges or barrier-challenges that you’ve overcome?”

Dr. B: “You know, I love to be around people. I realize now. It gives me energy. In terms of Audiology and graduate school, most of my classmates we are still really a tight knit group of different backgrounds. When I say different, you know, I mean some people grew up in the city, some people grew up in small little towns, just in general. But we are a small group, I would say that was my highlight. We always tried to have each other’s back. Even now I’ll send them, we have a little group, and we’ll say, ‘Hey, I have a difficult patient, what do you think?’ Or even like, it seems like we all had children, the ones that do have children are around the same age. So, it even spreads like parenting. And that was the highlight just being with people. I have that network, that extended network, but also I have some great externships. So, I even did one in Vancouver, British Columbia, that by far was probably the best one, just to be in another country and experience which is great.”

LS: “What was the setting? Was it a hospital, a private practice?”

Dr. B: “So, it was a private practice. So, I got that private practice experience. And the staff was really great. Yeah, so that was really a highlight. And I even got to travel through the Canadian Rockies. So, I just took advantage of being a student and taking in all the experiences, you know. And that would be like my suggestion to students. Take advantage of everything. I was even able to do a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Let me tell you, I miss those carefree days. Take advantage of everything. So, students, I’m telling you, if you have those opportunities, take advantage of it.”

LS: “Yes. Student Life.”

Dr. B: “Right?!”

LS: “Sometimes I think about, you know, the days that I looked at my afternoon, from one to six, even. And it’s like, I have all this time. When’s the last time I had five hours that were just open, no responsibilities, nothing to go to?!”

Dr. B: “Exactly. When was the last time? I’m thinking but I can’t think of it.”

LS: “And not to minimize that grad school is very challenging. You have papers, you have assignments and clinic days that can be very long. But it goes in peaks and valleys. You have like sessions of this semester, which are difficult. And then you have those clinic days that are hard, but it’s not always the same. You even have a month off in January.”

Dr. B: “Did we have off? Yeah, actually we did. I worked in graduate school.”

LS: “Oh, what did you do?”

Dr. B: “I worked in minority student services, and was helping out with the mentoring program. So, mentoring and it wasn’t just audiology students, but undergrad students. When they came through, we kind of paired them with someone who’s like in their third or fourth year of school, even a fifth year to help them get through the process because you know, the first year is difficult of college, period. Undergrad and graduate school. If you can get through the first year, then you got it made. So, I was able to work in an environment with students. For me it helped because I was able to enjoy a lot of events on a college campus. So, not just audiology, but also do things in the university setting, which was great and helped with the transition from, you know, undergrad to grad school and being okay. And you know, having another support system.”

LS: “That’s great. So, you had a great cohort. And you you figured out how to navigate friends and events on campus. You had this excellent internship. Those are good things to put in your bank of good experiences. But I’m also sure there were some challenges.”

Dr. B: “Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Unfortunately, most of the things you just remember. I have one, like a patient. I have many, but I remember our first year, typically you were paired with another first year student, and we had a patient who just kept calling me “girl, girl” and my classmate was like, ‘Where’s the lady? Where’s the lady?’ And so, finally the patient was like, I don’t want that girl touching me again. I don’t want to see her. And it’s funny because, you know, we had a clinical supervisor and she had just left and went to help two other students. It was just across the hall. So, I just told my classmate, ‘Just go ahead. I’ll sit back here. Just finish the appointment.’ And I just remember my supervisor just apologizing for this guy. Because at the time you just get them, test them, get them done and out. I just remember like, ‘Oh, here we go.’ I had to prepare myself to get ready for clinic, we had a test exam that evening. So, just trying to clear my mind and get through that. I have many throughout my career, I would say those are most of the experiences, unfortunately, that dealt with that.”

LS: “That’s very demeaning.”

Dr. B: “Very!”

LS: “When you’re in a position to help this person and they would treat you that way.”

Dr. B: “Right. Exactly.”

LS: “And I think it’s very important for us to talk about this for students and professionals and families, you know, all the listeners of the show to start to say, you know, sometimes we look at the issues of racism as these big conglomerate issues that are just like, way too big to look at and it’s like, does it have to do with me, with my profession, with my clinic, with my class, my family? It’s like over there and more and more people are starting to really see that it goes deep everywhere. It has roots in every circumstance and that’s why I think it’s important to have these conversations and for all of us to learn what those experiences are that we’re missing.”

Dr.B: “Yeah, absolutely. And actually, part of graduating from Central Michigan, is we had to do a capstone experience. So, research, and I did mine on multicultural recruitment practices just based off some of the experiences I had. And like I said…”

LS: “I’m sorry, one more time. Multicultural…”

Dr.B: “Multicultural recruitment practices in audiology, and it was really based off of just a need of having more blacks and other people of color go through the program. So, people who don’t know the history will think that someone being called a girl is not offensive. But black people, black men were called boys, girls, women, even grown women like 80 years old, were called “girl.” That’s very offensive. Whereas someone else who’s younger, they always got given the respect of saying she’s a lady. She’s a woman. So, imagine somebody you know said that right now, they’ll call you a lady and like, oh, that girl over there. So, when you talk about my passion is students, I love working with students and I love working with people. There’s new in audiology that have innovative ideas. I love it. You know, it makes me work as an audiologist. My ideals and my thought aren’t stale because I’m around these great innovative minds. I truly love it. That’s the truth.”

LS: “That’s awesome. So, why don’t we continue from there? Tell us what you do now. What has been the progression of your career to bring you back now?”

Dr. B: “I work for one of the hearing aid manufacturers, Oticon, a clinic support audiologist for government services. And prior to that, just to understand, I was a supervisory audiologist at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the VA hospital for 17 years. I worked at the VA in Florida, the Miami VA. That’s where I worked. So, I definitely feel like my clinical experience and working with veterans and being a supervisor had helped in my current position. I love what I do now, because it’s putting all that together. I also worked in a school system when I first graduated, I was a newborn hearing screening supervisor. I trained technicians on completing newborn hearing screenings. I did some per diem work at some of the area hospitals. And I will say right now the position I have now is bringing all that together. All that experience because it’s important, you know, I may receive a call or a question from someone in the field about a difficult to test patient or they are not sure how to fit this patient so I can go back to experience a clinical experience. I love that I get to see that. It’s one thing we have amplification in school. You know, that’s part of what we do.”

LS: “The hearing aid class.”

Dr. B: “Yes, the hearing aid class. But to see the research and the minds that go into developing this technology is amazing. And then just to be able to educate, you know, audiologists as students on it honestly, I can’t explain it. It’s just really a great feeling. Because I feel like I’m still helping the end user, which is the patient and the family by having the opportunity to meet audiologists and clinicians and hearing care professionals from all over the world. So, I love what I do.”

LS: “I had a little tiny bit of that experience when I took acoustics, and I was like, physicists and people are studying like psychoacoustics. That’s their whole field. Then the next class, we’re taking anatomy and studying the people who are using mice models to understand outer hair cell function. And they’re like lab with mice, microbiology people. And then your next class you learn about engineers who are putting together these circuits, micro-circuits. The more you learn, the more you realize how many people are involved, and how many fields of study come together in audiology. And it’s that intersection that is my favorite part of it, where I could have something to talk to an engineer, a biologist, a surgeon, a med student, a teacher, a teacher of the deaf, a sign language interpreter, like all these different people all kind of have a web within audiology.”

Dr. B: “Absolutely. Now that’s, I’m telling you that is apart. I love and I work with a great team of people that chemistry is great. And everyone really comes and they’ll put forth their strengths. So, I like that. I don’t know everything about everything, but it might be that one of my teammates, they do and they’ll jump in and be like, ‘Hey, no worries, pass it to me, I’ll talk to him. It’s kind of working together. So, I do appreciate that.”

LS: “And the other thing you mentioned, which is that you had all these different work settings, working in school, worked with the newborn hearing screening, hospital, work with manufacturers, customer support, like all those different things. Who knows what will be the next changes. Hahaha.”

Dr. B: “Who knows, I like it. That’s what I like about our profession. Don’t narrow just to one thing, you’ll be surprised. I never thought that I would be on the manufacturing side. But I also didn’t think I would be a supervisor, but I was because when I first graduated, I really liked the clinical aspect of working with patients. And I still enjoy that. You know, there’s nothing like working with patients and their families. I just feel like I’m still able to do that in those different settings, just in a different way.”

LS: “So, I actually had one of my placements at the VA in Brooklyn. At the time that I was there a couple years ago, there were some issues on a national level with wait times, and other, you know, VA issues, but the audiology department had like one of the best ratings within the hospital. And I had an excellent experience. The wait time was very short. And the the feedback, the patient satisfaction was very high. And I think part of that is because of the excellent access to the latest technology and all the remote things. And I’m very grateful that our veterans can have that service. That’s that’s really important.”

Dr. B: “It is and that’s a great group, the Brooklyn VA. That’s a great group.”

LS: “I’m so honored to have been part of that. Fabulous group.

Dr. B: “Yes. I think that’s another great thing of what I do now. I literally get to meet audiologists all over at the different VAs, and active duty. So, the one thing that’s positive about COVID-19 is everybody’s moved to remote. So, typically, I wouldn’t travel to all the different sites on a typical day, but because of this, we’re able to meet people through zoom calls, you know, through just video conference calls, so I’ve been able to face to face see people that probably typically wouldn’t. I might see them out at a national seminar or something like that. And it’s been great. It’s been fun actually.”

LS: “COVID has separated and connected. It’s done a lot of weird things. Hahaha. That’s very cool.

Well, my last question is what advice can you offer to the individuals and their families that have someone in the family that has a hearing loss and that’s the old saying if one person has a hearing loss everyone has a hearing problem.

Dr. B: “I must say, always, if you’re a parent, for your daughter or son, you don’t feel bad about being an advocate for your loved one, just from personal experience with my mom, we had to be an advocate. Maybe they can’t speak up for themselves or you know, their day to day. Don’t back down. You be an advocate. My second thing is do your research. I used to love, some people didn’t like this, when patients will come with all these articles and all this information. To me, I look at that as a chance for us to discuss it, discuss the information and to educate each other. And then you find a way of finding out what is the patient’s expectations. But as a caregiver or a family member, don’t be afraid to do your research. And hopefully you have a provider that is willing to sit there and talk to you and go over that information with you. And if you’re not, my third thing is get a second opinion. It’s okay, we’ll get another opinion. Find someone that you feel comfortable with, that’s patient, and will help you walk through the process. That’s always my three: Be an advocate, research, and if you need another opinion, that’s okay.”

LS: “Now, if anyone has been listening to the show, I did not feed you those answers.”

Dr. B: “No, you did not.”

LS: “That’s like everything I ever talk about. So, I just had to make sure.”

Dr. B: “Really?”

LS: “Yes, I talk all the time about advocacy. In fact, I have the FIG method framework that I give workshops on for advocacy. That’s like one of the biggest things with parents. And the second opinion thing we have definitely mentioned that numerous times.”

Dr. B: “You know what, I put myself in the shoes, honestly, it’s the steps that I had to walk through myself. So, yes, I’m an audiologist. But I’m also a parent and I’m also a daughter, or granddaughter. And so, these are things I had to live with, myself. So, I had to do those things. And I will say the most, if you do not feel comfortable, it’s okay to get a second opinion. Sometimes you might even need to get a third opinion to get it, you know, and that’s okay. Because at the end of the day, you’re trying to help this person live a comfortable life, one that they could thrive in an environment. You look at the angle and your angles and make sure your child or your family member is okay in the long run. So, you did not feed me that information, I promise. Hahaha.”

LS: “I’m just listening to you thinking, wait a minute, you’re taking all my lines.

Both laughing.

It’s a good thing. I mean, I feel like many audiologists and audiology as a profession, we automatically need to come from a place that’s more patient centered to begin with, because it is about communication. It is about how are you navigating the challenges of your life? How’s work? And what’s the educational barriers for students in the classroom. We’re constantly looking at the effects of, and not just strictly the medical part of it. Or at least that’s how I experienced my education.”

Dr. B: “Yeah, and you have to realize there is a person on the other end of what you’re doing. When I have students, that’s the main thing I tell them. You know, a lot of students come with the book knowledge. But I’ve always thought as a supervisor, my job was to help them develop that on that bedside manner, on how to bring it all together. Because sometimes it’s one thing to see something in the book, but let’s be honest, that doesn’t always happen on the clinical side. You know, and I found students concentrating so much on trying to get these exact marks. And I’m like, hey, but there’s a person on the other side, let’s find out about this patient. Let’s find out how we influence their life. Let’s, you know, it’s so much more to what we do.”

LS: “I was recently speaking with a student who was telling me about vestibular testing, balance testing. And she was telling me that it’s so difficult to get all the different steps right. It’s quite a complicated test, the calorics. And she doesn’t want to take up time because here this person is, she’s making them dizzy. And she like wants them to be done with the test, but at the same time, still learning how to do it, you know, in a way that’s correct, but also efficient. And I feel like that’s one of the most difficult areas of Audiology that I personally don’t have that much clinical experience with. Oh, man, just thinking about people coming in and say that they’re dizzy or that they experience imbalance, that affects your whole quality of life. People are afraid to stand up from a chair also then become isolated and all that comes with that.”

Dr. B: “Yes. And that’s the main, that’s the takeaway that what we do is so important in every aspect of how we’re influencing someone’s life. From balance to hearing loss, even with auditory processing, traumatic brain injuries… There’s so many things that we as audiologists should be proud of what we do, do it well, but always remember that there is someone on the other end that we’re helping. How would you want to feel if this was you? And that’s how you treat people, the way that you would want to be treated. That could be your child, your parent, your grandparent, and you would advocate and you would want them to live a quality life so always remember that.”

LS: “That’s excellent advice. Thank you so, so much, Dr. Burt for coming on the show and for sharing your experiences with us.”

Dr. B: “I appreciate you inviting me.”

LS: “If anybody was interested in contacting you, or learning more about your work…”

Dr. B: “They can always email me at That’s one word.”

LS: “I’ll have that linked in the show notes as well along with a full transcript of today’s conversation.”

Dr. B: “Absolutely. Okay. And I also can be reached on LinkedIn as well.”

LS: “That’s how I found you so that’s awesome.”

Thank you again to Dr. Burt for coming on the show and sharing her story with us and so much great advice and wisdom. As always, you can find full transcripts of every episode at I do love getting to know YOU!, the listeners over on Instagram and in the Facebook group, All About Audiology podcast Facebook group. It’s really, really, so wonderful and so meaningful to get to know you. Whether you’re a parent to a child with hearing loss, or a student of Audiology, or any related professional, I really appreciate this community and all of us coming together to make the journey a little bit more human. There’s people on every side of it.

And again, I want to remind you that if you can become a patron of the show, it would absolutely help me produce more beautiful, heart centered conversations to share with you. You can become a patron at

And a quick reminder to the students out there that International Office Hours with Q and A take place on the first Wednesday of every month. And if you have any questions or anything you’d like to share with me, DM me on Instagram or Facebook and I can’t wait to hear your takeaways from today’s podcast episode.

I’m Dr. Lilach Saperstein, and this is the All About Audiology podcast.

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