Like many born and raised in Centre County, Sarah Wakefield chose to attend Penn State. She planned to study communication sciences and disorders to become a speech and language pathologist, but it was during her studies that she took a course in audiology and found her calling. "Audiology allows me to be steeped in science and technology while also working directly with patients," shares Wakefield.
The intersection of technology and care is one of the reasons Dr. Wakefield loves the audiology field. She helps patients find the right hearing aid, fits it, and completes ear measurements to ensure a personalized fitting to the patient. Additionally, she educates patients on how to use and care for their new devices. She can even be found repairing these delicate hearing devices for her patients, which can suffer from everyday wear and tear. This is all just a part of her dedication to her patients and her belief in the importance of hearing well. "Restoring a patient’s ability to hear and communicate is the most rewarding part of my job," shares Dr. Wakefield.
Dr. Wakefield finds particular joy in helping patients manage tinnitus. Tinnitus is a condition where individuals hear sounds that aren't actually present. This is commonly referred to as a "ringing in the ears." Tinnitus patients can suffer from distress and lack of sleep, and experience disruption to their daily activities. Dr. Wakefield works closely with these patients, counseling them on why this happens, and creating a treatment protocol that provides tools and techniques to manage the condition. "It is especially gratifying to see patients’ lead fuller, richer lives once this condition is managed," states Wakefield.
Becoming an audiologist is a commitment that requires four-year post-graduate study, including one full year based in a clinical setting, to earn a doctorate of audiology (AuD). Dr. Wakefield pursued her doctorate at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) in Florida and practiced there for an additional 10 years.
Her early career focused on working with children with autism as part of a multidisciplinary team providing diagnostic and evaluation services before returning to the academic setting. NSU recruited her to help train another generation of audiologists. However, she missed working directly with patients and the clinical setting. This brought Wakefield and her family back to Centre County, where she provides care to our community as part of Mount Nittany Physician Group. "Plus, you just can't grow a proper garden in Florida like you can in Pennsylvania," jokes Wakefield, who is an active gardener and professed green thumb.
October is Audiology Awareness Month. In honor of this, Dr. Wakefield encourages everyone to pay attention to their hearing. Healthy hearing is an essential part of physical and mental well-being. The audiologists at Mount Nittany Physician Group ENT/Audiology, including Dr. Wakefield, are here to help you hear better.
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