Growing up as a young child in Laredo, TX, I spent a lot of time with my great aunt Estela. She was a sweet, loving woman with whom we had a lot of difficulty communicating with as she had severe hearing loss. Like most people with hearing loss, she had trouble understanding us and often misunderstood what was being said to her (which got me in trouble on more than one occasion). She was also quite the stubborn woman, and although she had a hearing aid, she never wore it. As her loss grew worse, she was later diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease making our conversation nearly impossible. Though this was difficult to understand at such a young age, it taught me the valuable lessons of patience and clear communication.
Though Aunt Estela’s hearing loss was my first real exposure to the importance of hearing health, the most influential experience in my career path was when my mother was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease. For those who don’t know, Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disease which causes fluctuating hearing loss, episodes of vertigo, ringing in the ears, and aural fullness. Anyone who has experienced this disease knows how debilitating it can be when these symptoms occur. Although I haven’t been able to go into research for Meniere’s as I previously thought, my career has allowed me to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of many patients with the disease.
Once these experiences peaked my interest in Audiology, my decision was solidified during graduate school. I truly enjoyed every moment of my classes and practicum and find the auditory and balance systems to be so fascinating. Although my love for my family members lead me to it, my love for Audiology and the people that it allows me to help are why I chose to become an Audiologist.