What made you all have an interest in/choose Audiology?

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Audiology Student
Nov 25, 2022
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Hello all! Long time reader first time poster. I am a 2nd year Audiology student and desire to see increased activity within the AuD forums. Among related healthcare fields, Audiology is rather small and unknown. I have come across numerous interesting stories about how individuals were drawn to the awesome field of Audiology. For any current audiologists, AuD Students, or prospective students with an interest in the field, what is your story? What did you find attractive about Audiology?

I'll go first. When I was little, I had numerous cases of middle ear infections and ear surgeries (mainly for PE tubes). I would see the ENT physician and audiologist all the time. Even though my episodes of ear infections would cause me great discomfort and substantial temporary communicative issues, those ear experts were always able to make me feel better. I didn't really have any other health problems growing up besides my ears, so over time I came to identify medicine and healthcare in general to my ear health. If I went into healthcare, I wanted to work with ears. I thought about medical school for a while and it was for the sole purpose to eventually be an ENT physician because they were the people who helped me feel better.

However, the more I looked into the profession (both with school and lifestyle after school) there were some considerable cons that existed with going to med school. My main goal in my profession was to study ears, so I was also looking at audiology as the main competitor to going to med school. I made a list of pros and cons (for me) for being an ENT vs Audiologist:

- med school and residency afterward to specialize in otolaryngology is both extremely expensive, intense/competitive, and time consuming. Huge con. I am well aware of the horror stories of good students starting med school and just being completely overwhelmed. I myself am a good student (I think) so I was somewhat confident I could push through if I really focused, but at what cost for my health? Not being pessimistic but just realistic; if I don't get into med school or fail out of med school, don't get in the right residency program, etc, what do I do with my pre-med degree and possibly the thousands of dollars lost in the start of med school?
- Audiology school is a much MUCH more manageable program financially and in terms of intensity and time. Between in-state tuition, GA scholarships, and 4th year (hopefully) paid externship, I will likely get through my doctoral program with little to no debt. That is really cool. Additionally, Audiology is a field of hearing and balance (more focused on ears, not a lot of vestibular in my AuD program) where ENT is more broadly head and neck surgery. One would have to further specialize to become an otologist to narrow their field of practice to just ears. I get to study my passion from day 1 of grad school.
- Salary always comes up and I won't really get into that because I am more focused on my motivations from a passion and practicality standpoint. Nevertheless it is my opinion that the AuD salary is perfectly sufficient if one practices good money management skills. I have heard of several MDs and DOs practicing for 30 years and drowning in debt because of poor money management. In my opinion, it's all about living within your means.
- with the added bonuses of not being on call as an AuD and (for me) not the liability of performing surgery, I felt AuD was a better path (for me).

These are just my quick thoughts. Do any of you all share these opinions? So far I am really happy with my decision and hope to inspire others if they are thinking about this field.
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