Beauty Queens and Audiologists

Alan Desmond
October 16, 2012

Is a Beauty Queen Smarter than an Audiologist?

A few years ago, a poor young lady competing in the 2007 Miss USA Teen Pageant had a classic brain freeze moment. When asked why she thought one of five Americans can’t locate the U.S. on a map, she responded: “I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some people out there in our nation don’t have maps and, uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as in, uh, South Africa and, uh, the Iraq and everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, uh, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, should help South Africa and should help Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future for our children.”

To be fair, she was only a teenager at the time, and she was on a stage in front of many people, knowing she was being broadcast live to many more. We have all had that “deer in the headlights” moment. Can we really hold her responsible, and is it right to poke fun?

This reminds me of the dumbest thing I ever heard an audiologist say. I may be a little less forgiving, because there were no crowds, no spotlight,  no apparent hairspray, and a frightening amount of apathy.

Several years ago, we hosted a Mayo Clinic Teleconference at my office. We invited all the audiologists in the area to attend. They could earn continuing education credits, free of charge. I was even going to buy lunch. Well, this one audiologist’s response to the invitation was this:

He:” What’s the conference about?”

Me: “Early Recogniton of Acoustic Neuroma and New Tests of Vestibular Function.”

He: “We really don’t see those kind of patients. Thanks anyway”

Me: “That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard an Audiologist say.”

Why am I telling you this story? Because you never know what is going to walk into your office. You can’t be expected to be an expert in all areas, but if you don’t consider all possibilities, you are going to miss some important things.







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  1. Alan, to my mind, this is right up there with the current situation whereby telecoils in hearing aids are not only ‘optional’, but there’s an additional charge! $45! One audiologist tells me that people don’t want the telecoil, when she asks them. I say, “why ask them, just give it to them for free, and explain how to use it.” Many of these same clients are often approached about buying $4-500 systems that connect them to their phone and tv, but leaving them unconnected in the outside world.

  2. Regarding the above comment, I find it strange that telecoils are “optional” and a charge for it, to boot! For the past 45 years, all my hearing aids came with telecoils as standard equipment and no extra charge. I’ve never even heard of telecoils being “optional”! I couldn’t have held a job all those many years without that vital telecoil. It had the wonderful advantage of completely eliminating all outside noise and conversation around me, so I only heard my correspondent. I cannot imagine anyone not wanting a telecoil–it’s like someone driving at night, and discovering they can see so much better with their headlights on!

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