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The Hearing Journal > Blogs > Online First > Posts > Spotlight in Hearing Care: Overcoming the Confidence Gap with D’Anne Rudden, AuD
Spotlight in Hearing Care: Overcoming the Confidence Gap with D’Anne Rudden, AuD

Having the ability to confidently communicate with patients and their families is critical in any health care setting. But do audiologists suffer from a collective self-doubt? At the 2018 American Academy of Audiology annual conference in Nashville, TN, The Hearing Journal spoke with D’Anne Rudden, AuD, who led a conference session on the science behind confidence issues and explored potential fixes (spoiler alert: there’s no quick fix!) that may help boost one's self-esteem. Read on—with confidence!
 
Hearing Journal: Dr. Rudden, can you give us some context of the perceived confidence gap in audiology?
 
rudden.jpgD’Anne Rudden, AuD: We're a profession primarily of women, and because women tend to have underconfidence in themselves, as shown by statistics, it would be a great opportunity to speak to the vast majority in our profession—without leaving men out. Men tend to have the opposite issue, so you can kind of speak to the gap, not only between having and not having confidence but the gap that sometimes exists between male and female audiologists in general. We often lack confidence in general as a profession, so we need to talk about how we can change our mindset and the direction we want to take audiology in the future. 
 
One of the interesting statistics that I think about a lot is that success correlates more highly with confidence than competence—and it kind of blows your mind. 
 
Hearing Journal: In what specific area(s) have you seen this confidence gap manifest in audiology?
 
One thing that comes to mind is when mentoring audiology students. They come in with skills that they try to put into practice. But I've been noticing that many of these students miss some of the basics—how they can use their knowledge in a meaningful way. They sometimes put themselves in a place of not showing up as the expert. They lack confidence in presenting test results and recommendations, and I see that patients are not exhibiting any trust. If we're going to show up in the world, especially in light of people being able to buy things over the counter, we need to have an even stronger belief in ourselves and in what we bring to the table.
 
Hearing Journal: Do you think the advent of over-the-counter hearing aids is affecting/has affected this issue with self-confidence among audiologists?
 
Anytime change happens, there’s always this potential for one to feel like he or she is being attacked or to create stories to stabilize what one’ thinks will happen in the future. Audiology is always in this really interesting place in health care where we certainly have the expertise but we don't always have a seat in the health care table as we would want. There is an inherent gap between where we are and where we want to be. So it’s important to realize that we don't have to stay in this gap; that we can overcome that gap.
 
Hearing Journal: What are some practical strategies to address this confidence gap?
 
There's no way to go around it but through practice. There are some things that can be done to work on it—things that I've worked on myself. In this alchemy of confidence—how to create transformation in your confidence—the first step is simple awareness: being aware, without judgment, of what's going on and how it plays into how you show up to the world; being willing to dig a little deeper into some of your fears; and then being able to flip the script and practice putting yourself out there.
 
For example, do the power pose, wonder woman pose, or CEO pose. Putting yourself in that physical shape and breathing deeply can change your limbic system's response. Your fight, flight, or freeze response can shift in relationship to your physical shape and how you breathe into that particular shape.
 
We have all of the skills. It's just a matter of creating the condition for confidence to show. As hearing care professionals, we're here for each other. So let's have each other's backs and work together to move the profession forward in a confident manner. 

Dr. Rudden is the owner of Longmont Hearing and Tinnitus Center in Longmont, CO. 

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