Sandy Reams is an Audiologist who works for Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital- Cape Cod in East Sandwich. At Spaulding I am able to work with adults and children for audiology evaluations and hearing aids and auditory processing. Being with Spaulding almost since it opened has allowed me to develop programs as we feel the community needs them. A benefit of working at Spaulding is that I am able to be part of the rehabilitation team and provide insights to inpatient and outpatient therapists regarding their patients hearing. I love the multi-disciplinary atmosphere. Prior to working at Spaulding I worked in a private otolaryngology practice.
Why did you decide to become an audiologist?
I feel like I was meant to be an Audiologist. When growing up my best friend’s brother was deaf after his mother contracted rubella while she was pregnant. He went to the Beverly School for the Deaf (which was an oral school at the time). My brother was also delayed in speech and language due to many ear infections. My sisters and I got to stay home with the babysitter while he got to go play with toys at the Audiologist. My mother also had a unilateral complete hearing loss that she developed when I was young. It is thought that she contracted a mild form of the mumps when we had it. Both of my parents were in the medical field and I knew in high school that I wanted to follow their lead. I found speech and hearing because of my many experiences. I completed my undergraduate degree at Worcester State. I chose Audiology because I liked the technical aspect and did not want to do lesson plans etc. on the weekends. I then completed my Masters in Audiology at CID/Washington University in St. Louis, MO. I completed my AuD program through an online transitional program.
What excites you about your current professional projects?
Over the recent years I have started to feel that I can give back to the profession and have volunteered to serve rolls with ASHA. Most recently I have been the Audiology Representative for Massachusetts for the Committee of Ambassadors (CoA). A benefit to that position is that I attend the MSHA executive board meetings as aa non-voting member. This coming year I will also be serving as the CoA chair. The CoA is a new committee that was created when the Advisory Groups were sunsetted by ASHA.
I will be the 3rd chair and the 2nd Audiologist in the role. The CoA is an ASHA committee with one SLP and one Audiologist from every state. We work closely with ASHA on advocacy and public relations. Our role is to promote our profession and it’s needs to officials, constituents, peers, and the general public. I have found the advocacy component to be very rewarding. We have been able to meet with the staff of our legislators and state why we would like them to support different issues.
The CoA has a fairly broad scope in that it is guided by the ASHA Public Policy Agenda https://www.asha.org/siteassets/advocacy/2023-asha-public-policy-agenda.pdf and public events like World Hearing Day and May is Better Speech and Hearing Month.
In addition to the CoA Audiology and Speech Language representative, Massachusetts also has the State Based Advocacy representatives https://www.asha.org/advocacy/state/state-networks/ that specialize in specific areas like Medicare (StAMP), Education (SEAL), and Reimbursement (STAR).
What do you value about MSHA Membership?
Why do I value MSHA? Over the past 2 years of attending the executive board meetings I have met some truly devoted professionals. I have learned the strength of having a state organization devoted to our professions needs in our state. Those needs include advocacy for provisional licensure and telehealth, working with our board of registration and keeping track of any changes that they are considering, continuing education, and simply professional networking. I learned that MSHA welcomes Audiologists and hope that with MAAA dissolving that Massachusetts Audiologists will find a home with MSHA.