If you feel like one of the family after a visit to Hearing Care Center, don’t be surprised. The family-oriented practice prides itself on developing strong relationships with their patients. As a result, the Sharon, Mass. clinic will celebrate 25 years of business in January 2014.
Owner Paul Milner, PhD, CCC-A, founded the practice after a prolific career as an audiological and technical consultant to the audiology program in the Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Disorders at Boston Children’s Hospital and work with the profoundly deaf at Yale Medical School and the Veteran’s Administration in West Haven, CT.
Other staff members include audiologist Judy Learner Nichols, MS, CCC-A, who has more than 35 years experience in the field, hearing care associate Phyllis Cohen, AA, who has worked at the clinic for more than 20 years, and customer relations manager Kim Marie Nicols.
“We’ve had 25 years of providing excellent customer service and we’re still going strong,” Kim Marie says. She credits their success to Hearing Care Center’s philosophy of treating the whole person. “Not one of our staff believes it’s acceptable to stick a hearing aid in someone’s ear and send them out the door,” she explains. “We put in the time to make sure it’s the right hearing aid with the right fit.”
Kim Marie recalls working with one bird enthusiast who wanted to improve the ability to hear his beloved birds. “We went through 10 different models of hearing aids before we found the best fit,” she said.
Another patient, who lost one of her hearing aids one month after the warranty expired, benefitted from Hearing Care Center’s focus on the patient. “She struggled with the decision to get the hearing aids in the first place,” Kim Marie explained. “Dr. Milner was able to find a replacement hearing aid at a discounted price. When she came in to have it fit, she said she didn’t realize how important it was to wear two hearing aids until she had to live without one for awhile. Patients like her make us realize why we work in hearing health.”
Kim Marie appreciates the advances in hearing aid technology first hand. She lived in a multi-generational home as a young girl and remembers her grandfather being fit with a hearing aid in the home. “The salesman came to the door and sat my grandfather in a chair. Dogs were barking, kids were playing, the television was on and he used a tuning fork to program the hearing aid – which was easily the size of a pack of cigarettes.” she recalls. “It helped a little, but the digital technology we have today is so much better. Now hearing aids can be programmed for different sound environments and come in such fun colors. Grandpa would have loved it.”
Both Dr. Milner and Phyllis wear hearing instruments, too, so they are better able to counsel reticent clients. Kim Marie’s background in social work and education is helpful identifying the proper resources for clients who need them.
“We take the time to learn about our clients’ kids and lifestyle,” Kim says. “Our relationship with them helps improve their relationship with others. And that’s what makes this all so worthwhile.”