Eric Bostwick, AuD, a member of the American Academy of Audiology’s New Professionals Committee interviewed Arielle Spector, AuD. Dr. Spector earned her doctorate of audiology from the University of Texas at Dallas. She is currently employed at the Hearing Diagnostic Center at Dallas Eye and Ear where she manages two clinic locations.
The New Professionals Spotlight is a series developed by the Academy’s New Professionals Committee to feature audiology’s rising stars and some of the amazing work that’s being done in the field.
Eric Bostwick, AuD: Hello, and welcome to our second segment of the American Academy of Audiology’s new professional spotlight, the feature where we highlight some of the rising stars that are making waves in our field.
My name is Eric Bostwick, one of the current members serving on the New Professionals Committee, and today I have the pleasure of being here with Arielle Spector, AuD. Dr. Spector received her bachelor of arts from the University of Maryland at College Park, and her doctoral degree of audiology from the University of Texas at Dallas. She also minored in Spanish. Some of Dr. Spector’s achievements include extensive work in the UT Dallas Student Academy of Audiology chapter. She was also selected to attend the Future Leaders of Audiology Student Conference and has collaborated with three researchers at the NASA Johnson Space Center.
Dr. Spector is currently employed at the Hearing Diagnostic Center of Dallas Eye and Ear, where she manages two clinic locations. From all of us here at the New Professionals Committee, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Dr. Spector. Dr. Spector, thank you for joining us here today.
Arielle Spector, AuD: Thank you for having me.
Dr. Bostwick: Dr. Spector, one of the things I think your resume speaks to at length is your unique research experience, and how you’ve worked to kind of extend audiology beyond the walls of the clinic. Can you tell us a little bit more about some of those experiences and how they’ve helped to shape your current position and helped you achieve success?
Dr. Spector: Absolutely. My research project for my third year focused on ear canal residences and measuring those residences and kind of using that as a clinical tool to explain to patients that our ear canals are different. Even our ear canals between ears can be different and you know I use that as a tool to customize hearing healthcare and involve my patient in the appointment and in their care. That’s one of the kinds of reasons that I’ve seen my research as pretty valuable in appointments.
The other research that I would say is relevant is the one I spent working with Dr. Danielson at NASA. We worked on a project together, where we developed a protocol to be able to implement the CUDA wave in space, to be able to track astronauts’ hearing status, and kind of monitor any changes that they may have experienced up there. I actually did work with the developers of that software in South Africa to be able to customize that software and equipment for NASA and the astronauts there.
I have kind of used that knowledge and translated that into my clinic with telehealth, opportunities, and appointments. It kind of feels like if we can do telehealth from the ground up to space, then we can implement that into our clinics as well.
Dr. Bostwick: That’s amazing. How does one get involved with NASA? that That’s a cool element of research that you were able to work on.
Dr. Spector: Yeah, so honestly, I, as a graduate student, wanted to take advantage of any opportunity that I saw available. And I wanted to be very active in the community and in the field of ideology. So, I did take some opportunities with advocacy. And then I also saw this opportunity for research, and I thought it was a very unique opportunity.
And we are always looking for new ways to advance our field and kind of learn from different experiences. And that was a really cool experience for me to work clinically and with research and kind of be able to see both sides of audiology with a new perspective.
Dr. Bostwick: Yeah, that’s great. At your current role, in terms of scope, what are some of the things that you see on a day-to-day basis? And what are some of the current projects that you’re working on?
Dr. Spector: At our clinic, our clinic is Dallas Eye and Ear, so it is set up as a multi-sensory clinic. We have ophthalmology, optometry, and audiology, and I work very closely with ENT as well. We have tried to cover a few of the sensory bases, all in one location and in one place for our patients. It’s kind of a one-stop shop for everything that they would need regarding eyes and ears.
We do medical. I support the medical clinic. We do diagnostics. I do hearing needs. I do vestibular evaluations and also electrophysiology. I just kind of have a little bit of every aspect of audiology here which I love. It keeps every day interesting, and it keeps my skills current. I appreciate that.
Dr. Bostwick: Yeah. We were talking about how you currently oversee two locations. What are some of the other projects? Some of the extracurricular activities that you’ve been working on outside of some of the clinical scope?
Dr. Spector: Yeah. I have had the really unique opportunity to become a leader in our clinic so early in my career. So I’ve been working on updating equipment, expanding our referral system, exploring creative marketing campaigns to kind of increase our visibility in both locations where we are, and just thinking about different clinic structures and flows, and different ways that I can increase efficiency…just to name a few examples of other things I’ve been working on.
Dr. Bostwick: Yeah, that’s great. Can you speak a little bit more as to how you found yourself in that leadership role?
Dr. Spector: Yeah. Most of my peers would describe me as a go-getter, and self-starter. I’m pretty motivated on my own. I like to seek new opportunities. I try to always be a leader wherever I am in any position.
I kind of just saw opportunities in so many different areas and decided ‘Yep, I’m gonna commit to this and I’m just gonna go after those opportunities.’ I’ve kind of just found different areas that I’ve focused on each month and worked on different projects like our website…updating content and database content that kind of thing as well.
Dr. Bostwick: Yeah, I think a lot of us are sort of at this crossroads where we’ve had a difficult couple of years, and we’ve had to think about the clinic and our workflow and staffing and you know some of the challenges that our field is currently facing. From your perspective and the work that you’ve done, what is one issue that you feel like you’ve seen that we need to look to work on more as we create the future of audiology?
Dr. Spector: I have found a huge opportunity with education, and counseling with my patients.
I have found that the interaction is more meaningful when I give them information that they’re seeking, and kind of involve them in the appointment. I just highly recommend taking advantage of the knowledge that we do have, and all the time that we spent learning in graduate school and just expressing that information in a clear and concise way to patients so that they understand and they have a good take on what’s going on throughout the appointment and what’s going on with their ears as well.
Dr. Bostwick: Yeah, I definitely agree. I think that the human element is so so important, you know, making that connection so that you’re really promoting that patient-centered care. And we’re treating each patient as an individual. So yeah, I definitely agree.
I think that’s going to be something that’ll be important as we continue to work through the next couple of years, and some of these challenges that we have described. Since becoming a new professional, what do you think has been your most rewarding experience?
Dr. Spector: I’ve had a few rewarding experiences here. One of them being a patient that became my hearing aid patient. She would bring her family to her appointments, and they knew that I was getting married in October, and I started seeing them in like May, and so every appointment after I fit them with the hearing aids, the patient would bring me a wedding gift leading up until my wedding.
They brought one for me. They brought one from my husband that they didn’t even know, and that was just really you know heartwarming to see that they trusted me, and they built that relationship with me so quickly. And they felt it was such a meaningful experience that they felt so inclined to kind of bring me those gifts at appointments.
Dr. Bostwick: Yeah, that’s great. It sounds like you really made a positive impact for that patient and they felt the need to sort of, you know, repay you back a little bit there. That’s a great story.
Lastly, we always have to ask, what is your advice to a student or a new professional who is looking to make that positive impact or make those first steps kind of within our field? Is there a takeaway that you’ve learned thus far that’s helped kind of establish yourself in your career, or maybe something that you wish you had known previously that you could share with others?
Dr. Spector: Yes, so like I said, taking advantage of opportunities is important. We participate in the Texas Workforce Mission program, and you know that increases your visibility in other ways that you may not realize. They may have a family member who will need your services later. They may go talk about a positive experience that they had with another person who could benefit from our services.
I’ve also kind of taken it upon myself to learn about other creative ways that we can help patients with hearing protection and kind of expanded into that space as well, depending on the patient’s needs. I would also say something that I’ve learned is to use the resources that are available to you.
I felt like starting out I am in a smaller clinic, so I didn’t work with as many audiologists that I had come from, you know, working in your graduate clinic. I was worried that I was gonna miss that cohesion in the group. Kind of bouncing ideas off of one another, and you know I called some of my hearing aid reps, and some of my old mentors, and so everyone is really happy to help and kind of give you their expertise from learning and what they’ve learned already from being in the field for longer. I really just found that kind of comforting to be able to turn to mentors and ask questions, and for those people to be open to answering any questions.
I would say, seek opportunities that present and use your resources. If you have questions, ask them, and if you don’t know where to ask them, kind of follow the avenues to where you can get your answers.
Dr. Bostwick: Yeah, I think that’s great advice. I think it speaks to the importance of networking and sort of relying on each other professionally. Those relationships are really important.
Well, Dr. Spector, your work thus far has been incredible. Keep it up, and we’ll be excited to see where you take your career from here. From all of us here at the New Professionals Committee and the American Academy of Audiology, I want to thank Dr. Spector for joining us here today. For all things audiology, stay tuned to the Academy website at staging.audiology.org. Once again, my name is Eric Bostwick, and see you next time.
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