Jia Guo is an audiologist with Interior Health who has recently moved to Williams Lake with her family. Enjoying life in the Cariboo with her husband and young daughters, she says that she looks forward to practicing her rewarding career while getting to know her new community.
“We’re really enjoying Williams Lake,” she said. “It’s a friendly, small town with a laid back, relaxed atmosphere. We’ve had picnics at the lake and went to a local farm to pick fresh corn and green beans: the kids loved it.”
She said that audiology is an incredibly rewarding field.
“First, you get to put people’s minds at ease. And if it turns out there is hearing loss, you present them with options and solutions — parents learn that their child is not restricted by a hearing loss and that their child can have a life like any other child.”
She works with children birth to 19 years and adults with special needs, and said she loves working in a family friendly office where people feel welcome and where they come for answers, solutions and support.
Guo has an undergraduate degree in general science from the University of Victoria, and a Masters degree in audiology from the University of British Columbia, and said that working in pediatrics has always been her interests. “I love children, and have two children of my own,” she said.
As an audiologist Guo does assessments, identifies hearing loss, checks different parts of the ears and sees if sound is registering.
“We also provide speech and language evaluation in our office,” she added.
“If it turns out that there is a hearing loss we talk with the parents about early communication interventions and options, and what can be done. We answer any questions they may have. We like to start an intervention as soon as the family is ready — it’s so crucial for speech and language development.
“I can’t say enough how important early intervention is — babies start speech development right away; as humans we are born with ears ready to hear.”
Guo said that children who are born with hearing impairment find it very hard to learn sounds and assign them meaning.
“It can be extremely difficult when they start school — hearing loss can cause all kinds of learning and social problems. Sometimes parents can understand what a child is trying to say, but others won’t,” she said.
Kids can be referred to see her through their parents, a doctor or a community professional, Guo said.
“Sometimes with a child there is a family history of hearing loss, sometimes there are concerns that rise from something like an ear infection that goes on for a while. Sometimes parents notice that the TV is turned really loud, or a child shows a lack of concern when someone speaks to him or her. It may be that what looks like inattention is actual hearing loss,” she explained.
“It can be any number of things that brings a child to see me – my job is to help allay parental concerns and give them peace of mind.”
She said that technology has definitely changed both audiological assessment and interventions, adding that scientific research has contributed greatly to both diagnosis and intervention.
“With new diagnostic equipment we’re able to deliver more precise stimuli for testing, and thanks to the research in electrophysiology we are able to estimate hearing thresholds in infants and detect aspects of hearing nerve abnormalities,” she explained.
“This is wonderful for early detection and early intervention. With technology, amplification devices have come a long way, such as better sound quality, faster processing speed, and bigger memory.”
Guo said healthy hearing gives us communication with others.
“Without it, people feel isolated and locked in the dark. A child without hearing misses music, birds singing, waves and wind in the grass,” she said. “I really think that it’s our job, those of us with normal hearing, to compensate for those who don’t. We can’t judge them and assume they’re being rude just because they don’t respond in the way we think they should. We need to exercise understanding and reach out to them.”
For more information, including addressing any concerns you have about your child’s hearing, phone 250-302-5030.