Faculty Focus: Dr. Lindsay BondurantLindsay Bondurant

Q: Why did you want to become an audiologist?

A: I started out as a history major because I thought I wanted to go to law school. Once I started college, I realized that the world has a lot of lawyers already, so I decided to change my major. I opened a book of majors and literally let it fall open to a page, then put my finger on it. It fell on Communications Sciences and Disorders. I read the description and thought, “This sounds really interesting,” so I wanted to become a speech-language pathologist.

I enrolled in that major and started taking speech and audiology classes. When I took the last audiology course in the sequence, I had an amazing professor who ended up becoming my mentor. Within two or three weeks of the semester, I knew I needed to switch to audiology. Once I really opened my eyes to all aspects of audiology, I never looked back. I absolutely love it, and have never regretted my decision to become an audiologist.

Q: What are some of the more challenging things about being an audiologist?

A: One of the biggest things I encounter is that people don’t realize what hearing contributes to their life. For many adults, their hearing loss is very gradual and they may not realize it. It often takes several years for someone to first notice that they’re having trouble hearing, and then it takes on average seven years for them to then come in to get a hearing test. So they just live with it for a variety of reasons.

Their hearing loss puts a strain on the family. They can’t talk on the phone. They’ve started to withdraw from social situations. Even with that, it’s still hard for some people to accept that they have hearing loss and something needs to be done because they don’t realize the impact on their quality of life. It’s frustrating to know there are a lot of people out there not getting the help that they need.

I see that with kids also. People don’t even think about the possibility that kids can have hearing loss. They think of it as something that affects older people, but it’s actually the most prevalent sensory birth defect in the U.S. It’s so important to catch hearing loss early and be consistent with interventions so children with hearing loss can thrive.

Q: What are some of the more rewarding things about being an audiologist?

A: I love making connections with people. Being able to connect with a patient that has hearing loss and knowing that you’re making a difference in their life is rewarding. One of the things we focus on as audiologists is helping people connect to others and helping them participate in the things they want to participate in. That’s one of the things we see, particularly with adults who have hearing loss, they stop doing the things they used to love. They may not go to restaurants anymore or church or family dinners and that’s really sad when you think about their quality of life. These are all the things that make our days worthwhile. It’s terrible to see someone stop doing the things they love. When we can give that back to someone it’s amazing.

Q: What are some of your clinical interests?

A: I am first and foremost a pediatric audiologist. I specialize in hearing evaluations and intervention for children birth through age 21. Another clinical and academic interest is improving service delivery for underserved populations, which includes children, people with intellectual disabilities and those living in poverty or rural regions that don’t have easy access to quality healthcare.

Q: What are some of your personal interests outside of work?

A: I love to travel and experience new places, geography, history and cultures. I have a son and he is a lot of fun. We do outdoorsy things. We ride bikes and go hiking. I love to read. I love food and loved going out to restaurants, at least I did before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. That was one of the many great things about moving back to Philadelphia – it has some of the best restaurants. I hope we can get back to those once we’re past this crisis.

Q: Why choose the Pennsylvania Ear Institute of Salus University for your next career move?

A: There are a couple of reasons. One, Salus offers such an excellent audiology program — that’s what got my attention in the first place. It’s the only Doctor of Audiology program in the entire Philadelphia area, which is a unique opportunity in a city this size. I also just love the Philadelphia area so much. I’ve always wanted to come back and settle down here.

Several years ago I was presenting at an international conference and a faculty member from Salus approached me after I gave a talk and said, “We have a position that’s opening up for the director of our clinic and I think it’d be great if you apply.” It was really flattering, but at the time I wasn’t looking for a job. The more I thought about it, the more I thought I should look into it. As I went through the hiring process, I talked to colleagues throughout the U.S. and everybody had really positive things to say about Salus. When I came for my interview, I really just connected with everybody, and I loved the clinical facility. The things that are part of my job description, including direct patient care with children and families, and interacting with the community to increase awareness of the phenomenal hearing and balance healthcare services we provide at Salus — these are things that I really enjoy doing.