Hearing Associates focuses on providing compassionate care to individual patients with a focus on the patient as a whole person. They have provided hearing healthcare to patients in the Lake County area for more than 30 years and have locations in both Libertyville and Gurnee.
Dr. Carly Girard, the current owner and president of Hearing Associates, has a longtime interest in the hearing healthcare profession, dating back to adolescence when she watched how sign language and then a cochlear implant helped the infant sister of a friend to hear again:
"I watched her learn and acquire speech and language and that was fascinating to me that there was a device like that that could bring her from having a severe and profound hearing loss to having essentially normal speech and language."
Dr. Girard has also always felt a calling to help others improve their quality of life through communication and relationships with others. She has carried this focus on building relationships and restoring communication to her practice. Hearing Associates hosts aural rehabilitation classes in which those with hearing loss and their families can know what to expect from hearing aids and how to manage communication. They also share information with patients about their rights as individuals with hearing loss.
"We really take the focus off of just 'this is a hearing aid and we're putting it on your ear.' We look at that particular patient, what their needs are. We assess what environments are important to them, and then we focus on helping them in the environments that are important to them."
At Hearing Associates, Dr. Girard and her colleagues get to know their patents and their individual hearing needs. Aside from hearing aids, they work with patients to find other devices that might help them, including things like assisting them with paperwork to receive a captioned telephone through a government-sponsored program. Hearing Associates also serves as an advocate for hearing loops in the community, and to date, there are more than 50 hearing loops in Lake County, a majority of which are due to Hearing Associates community relations and advocacy efforts.
Dr. Girard acknowledges that providing optimal hearing healthcare takes a lot of work:
"It's very easy to make people hear a little bit better. It's very hard to make people hear the best that they can. And we always strive to make sure we're providing people with the best hearing that's possible."
But, the end result is extremely rewarding for her.
"My favorite part is the reaction you see from patients and their families when you're able to provide someone with the ability to go back and interact and participate in their lives fully ... The improvement in their relationships that you can help facilitate for these family members is just incredible."