‘Be the change you want to see in the profession’

Patricia Mazzullo credits her CCCs for helping guide her as an audiologist, professor and mentor

When a patient cried after getting fitted for his first hearing aids, Patricia Mazzullo saw first-hand how her role as an audiologist impacts more than her patients’ hearing health.

“We make an impact on our patients that is beyond their hearing,” she said. “Witnessing their life-changing moments not only motivates me to be a better audiologist but it also makes me feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be professionally.”

On the staff at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, Patricia works with veterans and active military members, specializing in tinnitus management and vestibular testing. Tinnitus is ringing in the ears, and is the number one disability among veterans. Its incidence rate among active members has more than tripled in the last decade, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs. “I am honored and humbled to work with those who serve and have served our country,” she said.

Patricia, who earned her ASHA certification more than a decade ago, believes it has contributed significantly to her ability to make a difference in her patients’ hearing and lives. “Among other things, my CCCs are a reminder of the standard of ethics and high level of care that I should practice, as well as the importance of maintaining a high level of professionalism.”

An adjunct audiology professor at City University of New York Graduate Center, Patricia is passionate about mentoring the next generation of audiologists. Aside from mentoring students informally throughout the years, she also volunteers for ASHA’s Students to Empowered Professionals Program and serves as a preceptor for audiology students during their fourth-year externship. The role requires having your CCCs because it entails supervising students in their final year before becoming certified audiologists.  

As a minority in the field, she wants to make sure other Black students and audiologists have the resources and opportunities to become empowered professionally. “I always encourage my students and colleagues to earn their CCCs and be involved in ASHA,” she said. “It’s important to represent the change you want to see in the profession, and one of the best ways to do that is to be an active ASHA member.”

For Patricia, being part of the change and equipping future leaders in the field all comes back to helping her patients. She strives to make them feel supported and understood.

“We have a diverse world, and our profession should reflect that both in terms of who provides services and who receives them,” she said. “We’ve come a long way, but it’s important that inclusiveness continues to grow in order to better support members of the audiology profession and their patients.” 

Patricia is intent on making a positive impact on every patient in her care. She is grateful to ASHA and her CCCs for giving her the tools and resources to do that, as well as provide a foundation for becoming ‘part of the change’ in the field — whether as an audiologist, professor or mentor.

“I absolutely encourage people to earn their CCCs and be an active ASHA member.”