We are excited to celebrate a new year. Growing up, I remember my grandparents questioning where the time has gone. We were all excited to get to 2021 and leave 2020 behind. Well, it is already 2022 so I ask “where did 2021 go?” For us at Hearing Solutions, it had been a year of change.
Beth Arey, my office manager, friend and the one who was with me from day one decided it was time to retire. The fear of finding her replacement was quickly ended when a previous co-worker and friend that I was working with at Dr. Whitaker’s office inquired about the position. Diane Pullium, who started in February, has been an asset to our team from the moment she walked in the door. She and Jamie work so well together and keep us all straight.
I truly believe good things come your way when you are not looking for them. Jane caught wind that the physicians from Northeast Ear Nose and Throat were merging with CEENTA and their hearing specialist was not going with them. We were not looking for another provider, but, when someone with 12 years of experience and has the personality to fit in with our team becomes available it is time to reconsider our plan. Cheryl Keene has been a great addition to Hearing Solutions. If you have not met her or Diane, please stop in to say hello.
Change is also happening in the world of amplification with over-the-counter and direct-to-consumer hearing aids becoming available. Remember these devices are strictly for those with mild hearing loss and are able or willing to self-test and self-program. The goal is to make hearing aids more accessible. Everyone in the hearing healthcare profession is hoping that hearing help becomes as “normal” as wearing glasses when vision problems need help. Getting hearing help early is good for cognitive health, maintaining connections with friends and family.
I had a patient ask, “what is the best hearing aid?” The best hearing aid is finding the right hearing healthcare provider to work with. Find an audiologist who follows best practices. Do your homework before deciding. Remember, you are investing in your hearing.
If you have been reading my articles for a while, you know I like to share real experiences that are happening in our clinic. I feel the need to share this story with you that just happened a few weeks ago.
Jane and I have been working with Betty for years. We took care of her when we worked in Concord, and are honored that she followed us to Salisbury. She was scheduled for her annual appointment. During annual appointments we always go back into the hearing booth, recheck hearing, review health issues and look at hearing aid programming to ensure all of our folks are doing the very best they can. Betty had also had her hearing aids for 5 years, so it was time to discuss if moving forward with new technology was in her best interest.
When I called Betty back, I noticed she was not hearing well, she was wearing hearing aids, but her pocketbook was feeding back. She was wearing her old hearing aids and confessed she had purchased a set of hearing aids in June from an office in Concord, but she could not hear with them. They were in her pocketbook. She also confessed that she purchased them because she thought she was saving some money. However, she had been back to their office every week since June.
She was hopeful I could work with her new hearing aids and do something so she could hear. A lot of hearing aids are locked making it impossible for us to do anything with them, but not those. After rechecking her hearing, I read the program out of the hearing aids. I can honestly say I have never seen anything so improperly programmed. It was evident why she was not hearing well. I cleared out the program of her new hearing aids, reprogrammed them and completed real ear measurements (live speech mapping) confirming that the programming was accurate. Immediately she stated she could hear and understand better.
After paying me for my time, expertise, services, going back to the original dispenser every week since June and the frustration of not hearing well for 6 months…what did she save? She admitted she made a mistake, but she knows we will continue to take care of her to the best of our ability. We will see her in six months, sooner if needed.
I, however, found her situation quite disturbing to the point that I contacted the representative for that product and suggested they provide him with some additional training. Additionally, she trusted her hearing to someone who evidently did not know what he was doing. My take home message to you is don’t just assume because someone hangs out a shingle that they know what they are doing. Do your homework, ask questions, know what following best practice is, read reviews, ask what hearing aids they routinely dispense and then ask more questions. It is not all about cost because as we all know, you get what you pay for.
If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the services we provide, give Jamie or Diane a call at 704-633-0023. Visit our website at www.hearingsolutionsofnc.com and remember to like us on Facebook. Jane, Cheryl and I look forward to seeing you soon.