Volunteer audiologists bring the gift of hearing to Alaska with OtiCongress 2018, part 2

Last month, more than 100 U.S. hearing care professionals participated in a week-long event called OtiCongress 2018 in Anchorage, Alaska. The conference allowed hearing care professionals to combine professional development, with the opportunity to put their professional expertise to work to benefit Native Alaskan children and adults.

One such audiologist who participated in this years OtiCongress 2018 was Dr. Patrice Rifkind of Santa Clarita, California who has been an audiologist for 23 years. She and a small team traveled to Bethel, Alaska where they volunteered in a small Alaskan hospital. The team quickly set up rooms and designated spaces for ear wax removal, testing, fitting hearing aids, and post-orientation education. This is the fourth humanitarian she has been involved in and mentioned this kind of work is what she really enjoys.

“If someone needs hearing aids we provide them. That’s really as audiologists that’s what we like. It’s what keeps us going and makes you want to go to work every day.” – Patrice Rifkind, Au.D.

The week-long event provides audiologists from all around the country with the ability to not only learn but connect – to each other and the surrounding community. Dr. Rifkind mentioned that being able to speak to audiologists from other places all over the U.S. and ask them about their practice is one of the things she loves most about the week. But still, the conference would be incomplete without its humanitarian mission and outreach. When recounting her time in Bethel, Dr. Rifkind recounted a specific patient story.

“A native Alaskan man came in, he must have been around 70 years old, with his daughter. We were able to give him new hearing aids and the first thing he said was ‘if I had had this type of technology 40 years ago, my life would have been so different.’ He continued to talk about all the things that were different and how he loved music and he was going to have to go and play music again,” she explains.

“As an audiologist, this is something everyone should do especially now. It recalibrates you as a person, and provides younger audiologists with a great introduction to this kind of work.” -  Patrice Rifkind, Au.D.

To learn more about OtiCongress 2018 and the impact these audiologists had, check out our first post here. 




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