Welcome to the SAA Becoming a ____ Audiologist Interview Series! There are many pathways or fields of audiology. In this series, the SAA will interview audiologists who work in varying fields of audiology.
Our next interview of the 2021 term is with Mondia Gallien, AuD, CCC-A, clinical educational audiologist who owns Educational Audiology Resource Solutions (EARS) LLC.
Q: Give us a quick description of who you are, what your official title is, and where you are currently working.
A: My name is Dr. Monica Gallien and I’ve been practicing audiology in Indiana since 2005. I’ve worked in several different settings over the years (as a clinical audiologist in a neuro-otology practice, and at Riley Hospital, and with the ISDH EHDI (Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Action Center) program as Follow-Up Coordinator), primarily focusing on pediatrics throughout my career. Currently, I own my own educational audiology consulting business called Educational Audiology Resource Solutions (EARS) LLC. My business model is primarily focused on providing educational audiology services through contracts with multiple school districts across central Indiana, but I also have some private hearing aid patients that I follow.
Q: Where did you receive your bachelors and AuD?
A: I received my Bachelor of Science in communication disorders from Murray State University in Murray, KY, in 2001. I received my AuD from Ball State University in 2005.
Q: What made you want to become an educational audiologist?
A: To be completely honest, I first became interested in educational audiology because of the schedule. I was starting a family at the time and was drawn to a school schedule that included summers (mostly) off. Once I looked into the opportunity more, I realized that I was really excited about the opportunity educational audiology provided me for serving children and families from a different perspective than clinical audiology can typically offer.
Q: What do you do as an educational audiologist?
A: The easier question is probably “what DON’T you do as an educational audiologist?”! A general list of what I do from day to day would include:
- Hearing screenings on all ages
- Aural rehabilitation-type services related to students’ self-advocacy IEP goals (such as learning to use/maintain their hearing aids and classroom equipment, learning about their hearing loss and etiology, etc.),
- Recommending, fitting, and maintaining classroom equipment
- Troubleshooting problems with students’ personal devices (including programming adjustments, tubing changes, earmold impressions, clean/checks, etc)
- In-services for teachers and school staff regarding impact of hearing loss and how to use equipment, tracking district inventories of equipment;
- Diagnostic evaluations for students who don’t pass a hearing screening (among other reasons)
- Perform Functional Listening Evaluations (FLEs) to help define how the student’s hearing loss may impact them in different listening situations
- And I’m sure much more I’m not thinking of to list here.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being an educational audiologist?
A: I often describe educational audiology as the “yin” to clinical audiology’s “yang.” As a clinical audiologist, you see the patient regularly maybe a few times a year. As an educational audiologist, I see many of these students once a week or once a month. As a clinical audiologist, you fit the hearing aid and send them out into the world, but as an educational audiologist, I get to be “in the world” with them, helping solve problems that I may not have even been aware of as their clinical audiologist. I love working so closely with teachers of the d/Deaf/hard of hearing, SLPs, special education teachers and administrators, general education teachers, and families as a team. It’s really so rewarding, and has truly given me a completely different perspective as an audiologist.
Q: Are there any additional classes would you suggest for students who wish to become an educational audiologist?
A: A course on special education or even specifically d/Deaf education would be really helpful. Before I began working in schools, there was a lot about special education law and educational options that I didn’t fully understand. I believe it would have made me a better clinical audiologist to have had a better understanding of d/Deaf education. Although not all educational audiologists are business owners like me (many are employed by school corporations rather than independent contractors), I personally wish I would have taken some type of business class that could have given me some background in business formation and administration before I attempted to launch a business on my own.
Q: What opportunities do you remember from your undergraduate or graduate career that really helped you solidify your interest in educational audiology?
A: Unfortunately, I’m not sure that anything I experienced in my undergraduate or graduate career fostered any real interest in educational audiology for me. The only exposure I had to educational audiology in graduate school centered around school hearing screenings, which is honestly just one part of the many services I provide as an educational audiologist.
Q: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were deciding to go into educational audiology?
A: I wish I had more knowledge of Functional Listening Evaluations and special educational law. These were things that I learned on the job once I had already taken a position as an educational audiologist. I also wish I had paid more attention in my undergraduate SLP classes when goal-writing was discussed! I actually work closely with teachers of the d/Deaf/hard of hearing to write IEP goals for many of my students.
Q: Is there anything else you want to say or suggest to students considering going into educational audiology?
A: Don’t assume you know what the role of an educational audiologist is all about! If you’re interested in educational audiology, talk to someone working in the field. I always knew I wanted to work with children, but I never considered educational audiology until it sort of landed in my lap. I also would have said as a graduate student and new audiologist that I wouldn’t have enjoyed a position that wasn’t medically-oriented or hospital-based, but I actually really love so many of the non-clinical aspects of my job as an educational audiologist. We are sorely in need of more educational audiologists in Indiana! I’m always happy to share more about this amazing career path if anyone is interested in learning more!
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