UTHSC May Graduate Emily Jones Overcomes Barriers to Become Audiologist

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Emily Jones will graduate on May 11 from the UTHSC College of Health Professions. (Photo by Adam Brimer/UT)

At first, Emily Jones, who received a cochlear implant at the age of 8, thought it would be impossible for a deaf person to be an audiologist.

Jones was diagnosed with hearing loss at 15 months old and wore hearing aids until she received the cochlear implant as a child.

“What an experience that day. I will never forget it,” Jones said, who received a second implant at age 24. “I went from a very quiet and distorted world, to very loud and hearing all kinds of noise I had never heard before with my profound hearing loss, such as water running, feet shuffling, birds chirping, airplanes flying overhead, leaves rustling. Having a cochlear implant has forever changed my life.”

She was inspired to be an audiologist by a close friend, who worked in the field. A meeting with an audiologist with bilateral cochlear implants showed her it was possible.

“My whole life, I have grown up going to audiologists and speech-language pathologists, so I know what it is like to be the patient,” Jones said. “They molded me into the person I am today, so I have a deep appreciation for the professionals who have worked closely with me, giving me the best quality of care. I want to do the same for my patients, giving back the same quality of care that I was given.”

The UTHSC Doctor of Audiology program was a perfect fit for Jones, who says she chose UTHSC for its reputation and the opportunity to work with patients from the very beginning during her first semester.

“Without the audiologists and speech-language pathologists’ dedication and compassion to serve patients with hearing loss like me, I would not be as successful as I am today and walking across the stage getting my doctorate,” Jones said.