Audiologist Relishes Mentoring Role at Rush

Our Q&A with Patricia McCarthy, PhD, a professor of audiology at Rush University, is part of a series celebrating women in medicine.

How and why did you get into audiology?

I recall vividly the exact moment when I decided to pursue audiology as a profession.  I was a junior in college and still playing around with my major. I was considering a major in speech-language pathology and was required to take an audiology course. As I walked home after the second meeting of “Introduction to Audiology,” it struck me that audiology was the perfect match for me.  I was 21 years old and I have never looked back.

I suspect I was attracted to audiology because of its rehabilitative component. While the diagnostic aspect of audiology is critical to hearing health care, I was attracted to the patient-centered treatment part of audiologists’ scope of practice.

It is often said that hearing loss doesn’t just affect the person with hearing loss, it affects the whole family. Furthermore, hearing loss can have an effect on every aspect of a person’s life: social, emotional, occupational, psychological, etc. Consequently, what happens after the diagnosis of hearing loss is critical. Individualized treatment planning that includes the patient’s communication partners makes the difference in whether or not the individual can “live well” with hearing loss. Continue reading