Guest Blogger, Carolyn Gigliotti, Au.D.
Those thank you notes are from a group of fourth-grade students at Glen Oak Elementary in Lewis Center. I visited their class to share my knowledge about hearing health, but I learned
something in the process. I’d never really thought about this before, but I realized we spend a lot of time teaching. And now that I’m thinking about it, I believe it’s time well spent.
I had been asked to speak to the class about the importance of hearing health. Including what hearing means to overall health, how to protect your hearing, and what the implications are when someone experiences hearing loss. As an audiologist, those are all topics I know well. What I didn’t know was how the experience would shed new light on the important role we play as educators.
Every day, patients come into our offices looking for guidance and armed with questions. Do I have hearing loss? How bad is it? Do I need a hearing device? Which device is right for me? Until my experience in that classroom, I thought of myself strictly as a Doctor of Audiology. Now, I recognize that I’m also a teacher.
In the digital age, volumes of information are only a few clicks away. We know today’s consumers have unlimited access to articles, reference material and of course, opinions. But in many cases, the information that’s available is not only undocumented, but it also lacks proper context.
Part of our responsibility is to share our experience and knowledge as one of the region’s leading hearing health practices. Our top priority should be to help patients make informed decisions about their hearing health. If we are successful in achieving that goal, we can not only have a tremendous impact on the hearing health of individual patients, but on the entire community, as well.
The curiosity of the children that day was both energizing and encouraging. It made me think about the results we could have if everyone shared their curiosity. Too often, hearing health isn’t the priority it should be. Patients choose to delay getting the help they need and the reasons for the delay are as varied as the patients themselves. Now, after spending time with the Glen Oak Elementary students, I’m reminded that the greatest service I can offer my patients is to provide accurate, honest information. So I’m rededicating myself to patient education.
There’s an effective solution available for the overwhelming majority of people with a hearing deficiency. As audiologists, and as teachers, it’s our job to help them find that solution.
Carolyn Gigliotti is a Doctor of Audiology at Hearing Health Solutions. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Hearing, Speech and Language from Ohio University and her doctorate degree from Kent State University. She completed her Residency training at The Cleveland Clinic and is a member of the American Academy of Audiology.