In May of 2001, I graduated from Ball State University with a degree in music engineering technology, with a minor in physics. My passion at the time was writing and creating music with hopes of finding work composing for film. After graduation first job was here in Fort Wayne at Sweetwater Sound. Back in 2001 it was a much smaller organization than it is today. At Sweetwater I was helping with studio design and acoustics. My wife and I had a two year old little boy, Thomas ‘Wes’ Burkle, and we were new residents in the Fort Wayne area. We enjoyed Fort Wayne, and although I liked Sweetwater, I knew that it wasn’t going to be a long term career for me. I toyed around with the idea of moving a city that had more opportunities in the music industry such as Nashville, New York, or Los Angeles, but with all of our family here in Indiana, we never felt that was the right move for us.
Soon after we moved to the Fort Wayne area, Wes turned two years old, and we were told by his family physician that he wasn’t hitting the proper milestones in his speech and language. He was in speech therapy for a few months, and was scheduled to have his hearing evaluated to rule out hearing impairment. Needless to say, being a musical father, I was terrified that my son could possibly have impaired hearing. As it turns out, his hearing was completely normal; he had just decided to be stubborn and didn’t feel the need to verbalize his thoughts. (He is now a junior in high school, and is still like this to some degree)
While we were in the audiologist’s office, I couldn’t help but realize that everything that they used to measure Wes’s hearing I was familiar with. Audiometry, impedance, oto-acoustic emissions, frequency, decibels… it all made sense to me. It did not take me long to realize that I could make a career out of audiology and still have spare time to compose music.
I decided on Indiana University for Graduate School, in which I completed my Master’s degree in 2004 and my doctoral degree in 2005. I practiced clinical audiology in Somerset, KY for 4 years within an ENT practice, and then joined Siemens Hearing Instruments as a training audiologist for 6 years after that.
In the spring of 2014, a colleague of mine, Gregory Lowe, approached me regarding taking over his practice. Going into private practice was always one of my goals when I decided on going into audiology in the first place, and Dr. Lowe’s practice had many of the same practice philosophies that I believe in. Dr. Lowe retired in December of 2014, and I have been on my own since then. It is a wonderful feeling and privilege to help those who come in to see me. I look forward to helping people hear better for many years to come!
So, when I’m asked, “how did I get started in audiology?” I always answer with; well… my son helped me find it…
Thank you for being stubborn Wes.