By Michelle St. Onge | Photo by Jessica McCafferty
Issue: August 2022
Hometown: Goshen, NY
Family: Husband Bob, adult children Brittany and Kyle
Education: Doctorate in Audiology (Arizona School of Health Science); M.S. in Audiology (Syracuse University); B.A. in Speech and Hearing Science (SUNY Plattsburgh)
Community Involvement: Noon Rotary for 25 years; CVPH Foundation volunteer, mini grant committee member
After more than thirty years as a practicing audiologist in Plattsburgh, Dr. Lori Mathieu has finally set her sights on retirement. She grew up in Goshen, NY and met her future husband while attending college at SUNY Plattsburgh. The couple moved back and forth across the Canadian border a few times before deciding to settle in Beekmantown and later Chazy. Dr. Mathieu worked in a large hospital in Toronto before joining the small but growing practice of Adirondack Audiology in 1990 where she practices today.
The Plattsburgh practice is part of a group of four locations including the head office in Shelburne, Vermont. Dr. Mathieu spoke fondly of her team and the way her practice is organized. Being part of a larger organization allows her and her fellow practitioners to focus on patients and their care. “We have great support from the practice owner and our administrative director,” she shared, “It is a nice small group and we all work well together.”
Dr. Mathieu’s passion for helping people and happiness with her work environment has made her decision to retire a difficult one. In order to ease the transition, she will be semi-retiring in January 2023, when she will cut back to working a few days a week. “It is difficult to express how enjoyable it is to be able to improve people’s lives through my work,” she explained. “It will be difficult for me to tell my long-time patients that I will be retired soon.” She recently took some time away from her busy schedule to sit and reflect on her career for Strictly Business.
SB: What attracted you to a career in audiology?
LM: I originally attended SUNY Plattsburgh to major in nursing. Along the way I took an introductory class in Speech and Hearing Science and decided that I wanted to be an audiologist instead of a nurse and switched majors.
SB: Who was your most influential mentor?
LM: Marlene Cashman was a very experienced supervising audiologist who really pushed me to learn new skills and taught me a lot. She was the head of the department of Audiology at the hospital where I worked in Toronto. Under her guidance I gained proficiency in all areas of the field, including specialized testing and intraoperative monitoring of the auditory nerve during surgery.
SB: What was the best piece of advice you ever received?
LM: My parents taught me to invest in myself, save for the future, live a life of moderation, and to never stop learning.
SB: What is your favorite quote and how does it speak to you in your life?
LM: I love this John Marshall quote, “To listen well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well.” I feel like this speaks to who I am. It is critical to listen to people to show them that you value what they say and how they feel. Listening allows you to understand what’s most important to a person, and this is an important part of what I do. As an audiologist, it enables me to provide individualized care, and most importantly to understand and connect with my patients.
SB: How does your work make a difference?
LM: Listening to others is a struggle for hearing impaired people. Lots of things are compromised when you have a challenging time hearing. Social situations become more difficult, and often people do not enjoy doing the things that they did before. People get lonely and become socially disengaged, and this really impacts their quality of life and overall health. When I help someone improve their hearing, I help to improve their quality of life.
SB: If you could talk to your younger self, what advice would you offer her?
LM: I was really driven and focused early on in my career, almost to a fault. I’d tell my younger self to make sure to keep work and private life balanced.
SB: What are you most proud of professionally?
LM: It is gratifying when I have a patient tell me that I have changed their life for the better. Knowing that I helped someone to achieve the kind of life that they want to have is the best feeling. This is especially true when it comes to helping children with hearing loss.
SB: If you could have dinner and spend an evening with any well-known person, living or dead, who would you choose and why?
LM: I would choose Mother Teresa. I find her life of service fascinating. As a longtime Rotarian, I really love its guiding principles which focus on service above self — the ‘Four-Way Test’ – Is it the TRUTH? Is it FAIR to all concerned? Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? Will IT BE BENEFICIAL TO ALL CONCERNED? I feel these guiding principles are the basis for the way I choose to lead my personal and professional life.
SB: How would you like to be remembered?
LM: I would like to be remembered as a kind, compassionate person, a good family member and friend, and a competent, skilled professional.
SB: What is something no one would guess about you?
LM: I feel very awkward in large social situations, I am nervous about public speaking and my favorite band is the Rolling Stones.
SB: What do you believe the North Country community should do today to ensure a prosperous future?
LM: We should do our best to predict the changing needs of our community and plan to address those issues proactively instead of reactively. It’s hard to do, but so important. Issues like affordable housing, school safety and promoting the beauty of this area for recreation and enjoyment.
SB: What do you do in your free time?
LM: I like to spend time outside walking, gardening, swimming, and biking. I also love to read magazines and try new recipes.
SB: What is the last book you read that you would recommend to a friend or colleague?
LM: The Husband’s Secret, by Liane Moriarty. It is a great novel that a fellow audiologist and I both happened to be reading without knowing about the other.
SB: Do you have a morning routine?
LM: Yes, coffee and a two-mile walk. I’m a consistent morning walker. I love being outside, and my morning walk is a time where I can set the tone for my day and take some time to think. Looking around at nature just makes me feel good.
SB: What are your hopes and dreams for your coming retirement?
LM: My sister lives in Vero Beach, Florida and we have a condominium there. I plan to spend more time there, walking on the beach, riding my bike and being outside. I might even join their gardening club.