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Frank Pamplin Audiology | Hearing Center Interview

Frank Pamplin knew there had to be more to life as he recovered from a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis more than 20 years ago. When he told a rehabilitation counselor that he’d like to find a profession where he could help people, the counselor recommended speech pathology. “I like gadgets more than pencil and paper, so it led me to audiology,” Pamplin said. “I’ve been doing this now for 16 years and have no plans to retire in the near future. It’s just not work for me at all.”

Pamplin earned his Masters of Science in Audiology from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in 1998 and is certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. His new offices, Frank Pamplin Audiology, in White Hall include a “state-of-the-art hearing aid fitting room outfitted with a surround-sound system capable of recreating virtually any sound environment.”

frank pamplin audiologyWhile Pamplin acknowledges there can be “headaches” involved with running a small business in America, he is encouraged by the progress insurance companies have made in covering the costs of hearing aids for their plan participants. “More and more insurance companies are covering hearing aids now, at least in Arkansas,” he said. “All our state and federal employees have hearing health benefits.”

Pamplin’s previous experience in the hospitality industry makes him a natural for working with individuals with hearing loss and is his foundation for providing excellent customer service. “I schedule a patient for an hour for their initial appointment and we probably visit for 15 minutes before I start looking at their hearing,” he said. “I want to find out about them – get to know them as an individual.”

Listening is key to Pamplin’s business – especially when a spouse brings in a partner who is reluctant to have their hearing checked. “You can’t force someone to wear hearing aids,” he said, “so I usually ask people ‘what do you want?’ If they aren’t ready, I advise them to wait.”

Digital technology is the most significant change Pamplin has seen since he became an audiologist. “I entered the field right before everything went digital,” he said, “and worked with an older audiologist who taught me how to get the old books out to choose power matrices. I owe him a lot for that because I have a better understanding of things now that digital technology is so prevalent.”

One of Pamplin’s favorite success stories involves a patient he couldn’t treat. The young man, always accompanied by his grandmother, was basically deaf and wearing a set of power hearing aids which weren’t helping him hear. “He was a bright young man and an excellent candidate for cochlear implants, but I couldn’t convince his grandmother of that,” he said. “I gave her literature and kept trying to convince her, but it was a chance meeting with another young patient of mine with cochlear implants that finally did the trick.”

As a result, Pamplin was able to send his patient to a university medical center to take over his hearing health. “It was divine intervention,” he said. “That young man went on to get cochlear implants and is doing very, very well. I think that I helped him as much or more than anyone I put hearing aids on because he got the help he needed.”

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