Cancelled Appointments

I’m walking a bit faster than I’d like to and my breathing is becoming quicker and more shallow with each breath.

I should have taken the bus to prevent this from happening but I had already resolved to walk since I woke up early and wore my runners.

I make it on time. With two minutes to spare. I say a quick prayer, take a deep breath (as deep as I could which was not very deep) and walk inside.

“Hi, I had an appointment at 9.30…”

“…sure, let’s have a look…”

“I’m sorry, but your appointment was cancelled…”

I let out a sigh of disappointment? Relief? I’m not really sure. The receptionist continues to apologise and I find myself reassuring her. She proceeds to do a bunch of things to try to help. But at that point, a part of me just wanted to give up. I tell her it’s okay and that she needn’t try anymore, but she insists, so I let her. So, I decide to keep the door open for a bit longer.

I leave the place somewhat relieved. I step outside and feel the cool breeze and warmth of the morning sun peaking through the maple trees and I breath it all in with thankfulness to God for His glory and magnificence revealed through His creation. I smile, because I know I’m loved.

Although it was tempting to think, “Man, well that was a complete was of my time which I could have spent studying”. I know that it wasn’t a waste at all. I know that everything happens for a purpose, and I was thankful that I stepped out of the house to get some fresh air, get a bit of light exercise, listen to a podcast on suffering, reflected and meditated on God’s word and even did a little grocery shopping to prepare lunch for my family. My heart and mind was filled with peace and I was reminded that God ultimately knows exactly what I need most, because I wouldn’t have done these things otherwise, and probably would have been at home grumbling and complaining about not being able to focus on studying.

As I am writing this, I am feeling a bit dizzy and light-headed probably from the lack of oxygen to my brain but I won’t let it bother me because I’m feeling inexpressible peace and joy. I pray that I’ll continue to find quality time to spend with my Heavenly Father, and to be thankful for every situation that I’m in, including this difficult time right now.

All praise and glory be to God!

The role of an Audiologist

As a student in my last semester of Clinical Audiology and studying for my final exams, I just wanted to take some time to reflect on what I have learnt over the past two years.

There is so much that I’ve learnt that it hurts my head, and sometimes I am left wondering what the primary focus really is. I’ve learnt all these concepts and theories but predominately, there’s a whole bunch of things that I have quickly forgotten…so here I am thinking, what is really the most important quality of an Audiologist?

I remember in my very first day of class, the lecturer asked us, ‘why did you choose Audiology?’ and I remember that the general consensus was because we wanted to help people. The lecturer then told us that every year, the students all commence the course wanting to help people, but often by the end of the degree, they are too focused on the technical aspects of audiology that they forget the most basic and fundamental things like, thinking of the client as a unique individual and a whole person; yes, an actual person like you and me. Low and behold, that’s exactly what happened throughout the course of my degree. I became so focused on trying to keep up with all the theory and passing my units that at the end of each semester I’m left wondering, what did I actually learn? Don’t get me wrong, when I am listening to lectures and studying, I find it fascinating and can understand what I am learning most of the time, but because there’s just so much content to grasp, my tiny brain just can’t keep up. It fizzles and shuts down once exams are over after each semester, and I can’t seem to retain what I learn. I honestly am not sure how I have gotten this far into my degree, all I can do is thank and praise God.

So here are just a few personal reflections (of course this list is not exhaustive and is meant to be brief. I don’t want to go into too much detail as I could write pages and pages. Moreover, I am not an expert. I am merely sharing what I have learnt in class):

  • One primary goal is to improve an individual’s communication ability in order for it to help with different areas of their life.

    People who are deaf or hard-of-hearing often face many difficulties and challenges that people without hearing loss may have never thought of. As Helen Keller (who was both blind and deaf) once said:

    “Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people.”

    Not only does hearing loss have significant social impacts, it also affects a person’s emotional and psychological wellbeing (which can stem from social isolation). It’s difficult to imagine a world without sound. But if you want to experience even just a tiny snippet of what it is like not being able to hear clearly, try wearing earplugs for a day and do your daily activities. But of course, take necessary caution for when you cross the road or for when you are in a hazardous environment.

    Improving one’s communication ability does not necessarily mean hearing aids or cochlear implants (although much of the time it is). It could (also) mean recommending assistive listening devices (ALDs), educating about listening tactics and repair strategies to aid communication, as well as other options. But of course, this differs from person to person as there are many individual factors to consider, such as their specific listening needs, their type and degree of hearing loss, individual physiology, lifestyle, motivation, expectations, etc. Just because two people have exactly the same configuration of hearing loss does not mean they will have the same outcomes.

  • Audiometrist DOES NOT equal Audiologist

    Essentially, in Australia, Audiometrists are required to complete a TAFE certificate, whilst Audiologists are required to complete a Master’s degree. The scope of practice and services provided by Audiologists are much broader and more specialised than Audiometrists.
    Click here for a simple comparison.
  • Generally, Audiologists distinguish themselves from some medical professionals by steering away from the medical model, and instead, focus on rehabilitation and patient-centred care.

    Medical
    model says: I do this to you.
    Rehabilitative model says: Let’s do this together.

 

  • If I became an Audiologist, I would want to be an Audiologist, not a sales person.

    I would do my best to recommend things that I believed would be best for my client, and not to recommend anything for the sake of meeting sales targets or for financial incentives, as tempting as that might be, I know that it would not be glorifying to God, nor would it be loving or beneficial to others.

 

There are many other aspects to audiology that I could have mentioned, and I could have gone into more detail, but I thought I’d leave it at that, really just as a reminder for myself as well!

Final exam period

I am currently in my last month(!) of my Master of Clinical Audiology.

*deep breaths*

Every time I think about it, it’s difficult not to allow my mind to spiral out of control.

I will have the first out of five final exams on the 13th of November. For the past 2 weeks, I have been studying every day for approximately 12-15 hours a day (except Sundays because I make time to go to church, and the remaining time leaves me about 5-8 hours to study). I sound diligent, huh? But wow, I really feel the life draining out of me day by day; not that it is anything new. Honestly, I feel like I need to study this much because I’m not very intelligent, nor do I have good memory in general. Although audiology isn’t about memorising things, there are naturally a lot of things you need to remember as the course is extremely content-heavy and there are many concepts I find difficult to understand and grasp.

Which leads me to my next internal dilemma: if I have terrible memory and poor understanding, how can I become a good audiologist? Especially as I am not an eloquent communicator and have a tendency to dissolve into puddle in the face of social situations. Yet, I desire to work in a profession where I can have an impact on someone’s life by helping them; specifically, to empower someone to take ownership of their hearing difficulties and take action to improving their hearing health and thereby, their general well-being. Truth be told, I really don’t know how I have gotten this far into my degree. I was pretty confident in my first semester, but that all went downhill after that. I no longer remember the foundation knowledge anymore; the bread and butter. I think my arrogance and my anxiety started getting in the way. I was humbled by a particular audiologist and consequently I lost all confidence in myself, to the point where I would find myself blanking out and my heart strongly palpitating whenever I was faced with anything related to what I was criticised about. Thankfully, with much prayer, I am slowly regaining confidence in that area, but the damage has been done and has affected other aspects of my life that I was aware existed, but became more and more evident as time passed. Mentally, I am an absolute wreck and I feel defeated. Heck, I have been feeling this way since I started this degree at the beginning of 2017.

I have burnt out more times than I can even remember over the past two years, and last month I hit a new level of rock bottom. But maybe I’ll save that story for another time.

For now, aside from intermittently being bombarded about thoughts of the future (mainly in regards to work and relationships), I have decided on these things:

1. I will do my best to complete my degree. And if I cannot, I will pray that I will have peace with that (because if I fail more than one subject or the same subject twice, I get kicked out of my degree)

2. I will continue to pray for peace in regards to whether I will be able to find work next year or not, and whether I will be able to stay in Sydney (ideally, I would like to stay in Sydney and work after taking a break for a few months). I know and trust that God knows what’s best for me, better than what I know what’s best for me.

3. I have resolved to rest properly and fix my physical body and mind because it is in absolute shambles. At this point in time, I do not think it is wise to start full-time work in the state I am in. I will burn out for sure very quickly.

4. I pray that I will continue to trust God no matter what happens; to trust in His sovereignty and to align my will with His will. Over the past week I have been reminded by various people and situations to view my struggles in light of eternity. When I’m reminded that everything I am currently going through (whether joy or suffering) is temporary and pales in comparison to the glory that is to come. As a result, my worries and anxieties don’t seem so significant anymore. My utmost priority is living for God.

Remember this: I am still here today and have gotten this far not by coincidence, but by God’s grace, providence, sustenance and kindness.

All glory be to God!

A Time For Everything

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

The inspiration behind the name.
From my favourite book in the Holy Bible, Ecclesiastes.