Today on the blog, we are excited to speak with Starkey Hearing Technologies audiologist Carolyn Pinkerton. Pinkerton joined the Starkey team as an Education and Training audiologist in June 2012. She completed the Au.D. program at Northeastern University in her hometown of Boston and her clinical experience includes evaluations and fitting of hearing aids and assistive listening devices, vestibular evaluations and testing of the auditory brainstem response. She has also worked closely with tinnitus management groups and pediatric patients while at the Boston department of Veterans Affairs. Pinkerton focuses largely on student initiatives with the Starkey University program and has presented at a number of university programs and regional trainings across the U.S. Dr. Pinkerton also serves as the manager of education and training for our Government Services department.
Q. As an Education and Training audiologist, you work closely with doctoral students training to become audiologists. Why is it important to Starkey Hearing Technologies to invest in training programs for tomorrow’s professionals before they begin practicing?
A. We are committed to supporting the independent audiologist. Supporting students and faculty through the Starkey University program is investing in the future of audiology. We are helping propel the profession forward. Our goal is to bridge the gap between academia and industry by offering supplements to academia coursework with opportunities for hands-on learning with the latest innovations in the hearing health-care industry.
Q. Becoming an audiologist requires an additional four years of doctoral level training after the completion of a four-year bachelor’s degree. What type of training programs does Starkey Hearing Technologies offer to doctoral students?
A. With the Starkey University program we are hoping to provide additional education and training toward the development of skills necessary to be successful in any realm of audiology. Our Starkey University Workshop is offered twice per year and gives students and faculty members of audiology programs a unique opportunity to not only fine-tune skills such as deep insertion impression taking, modification techniques and advanced fitting strategies, but also to hear about the road map for our industry, business development and data-based design. Each workshop features key guest speakers that offer unique perspectives on innovation in our profession.
The Entrepreneurial Audiology Program has grown to be in high demand and offers students in their 3rd or 4th year, or recent graduates, the opportunity to attend several courses, each focusing on different key areas towards success in a private practice setting. These sessions are taught by experts in each focus area and are individualized to meet the needs of those accepted into the program.
Q. Doctoral students in the Entrepreneurial Audiology Program participated in a Starkey Hearing Foundation mission in the Dominican Republic that fit 20,000 hearing aids. What was that experience like for you and your students?
A. Our mission in the Dominican Republic was my second trip with the Starkey Hearing Foundation. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to accompany two of these stand-out student groups on missions. Dr. Sara Burdak and I had the chance to bring our most recent Entrepreneurial group to the Dominican and it was a truly unique experience from our prior trip to Peru. While the days were much longer and we had many more patients than we had in Peru, the reward of providing the gift of hearing to so many truly gracious and loving people was outstanding. During our first night in the Dominican, a few of the students and I stayed with Mr. Austin and his team members to help clean up and prepare for the next day. We still had a few young teenage girls from a school for the deaf and one of them was still not happy with her hearing aids as the sunlight was fading. We stayed and used cell phone flashlights to be sure she was comfortable before she left. The dedication of that team to bringing joy to each individual patient was truly admirable and the experience is something I feel blessed to be a part of. The smiles and love given off by the patients and families is infectious! I know that our students left knowing that our skills can do so much more than we ever thought possible and I know that they will continue these efforts as they move forward in their careers.
Q. Do you have any advice for someone interested in pursuing their Au.D. and becoming an audiologist?
A. Many students are unaware of the wide variety of positions you can hold with a degree in audiology. My greatest piece of advice is to get involved early in your program: join organizations, attend conferences and workshops and take advantage of all of the opportunities that present themselves for you as a student. Exposure to different settings and options comes from seeking opportunities and staying involved.
Q. What do you enjoy most about being an audiologist?
A. I love working at Starkey Hearing Technologies because every day is different. I’ve had the opportunity to participate in missions, student workshops, staff and customer trainings and have traveled extensively to different universities and regional trainings connecting with different patients, professionals and students across the country and the world. We continue to invest in our research department to provide better hearing to those who need it. I love that I’m able to be at the forefront of innovation and that I get to be involved in making our products and tools better every day. There is an undeniable energy and culture in the people who work here. I love my job. I am challenged every day and love being at the forefront of upcoming innovation!
Additional information about Starkey University programs and opportunities can be found online at Starkey University.