W.L. “Hunter” Huntley III, HAS., BC-HIS was voted one of the top hearing health professionals in the nation by The Hearing Review magazine in 2012-2013. Huntley, the owner of Leonardi Hearing Center in Fort Myers, believes it’s because he’s in the profession for all the right reasons.
“We’re very honest, we’re fair and we don’t take advantage of patients,” Huntley said. “I try to help people hear the best they can with the hearing they have.”
Huntley purchased Leonardi Hearing Center from its previous owner and namesake in 1994. Since the business was founded in 1950, Huntley opted not to change the name. “I have people come in whose family has been coming here for generations,” he said. “Everyone knew who Leonardi was.”
Fort Myers, known for its large population of retirees and snow birds, is also home to a number of hearing centers and clinics. “Hearing clinics which aren’t in it for the right reasons don’t usually last very long.” Huntley said. “I know if I fit people with hearing aids successfully, I’ll take care of them for the rest of their life.”
The Leonardi Hearing Center sells hearing aids from a variety of manufacturers so Huntley can custom fit each individual. “People really don’t know anything about hearing aids,” he said. “What they’ve learned, they’ve learned from their friends. I tell them ‘your hearing may not be the same as your friend’s hearing. Just because a hearing aid didn’t work for your friend, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.’ One hearing aid does not fit all. If they fit properly, they work!”
The Florida humidity wreaks havoc on hearing aids so Huntley is a big believer in preventive maintenance. “We encourage quarterly check ups,” he said, “but we want our patients to come in sooner if they need us.”
One of the biggest challenges the Leonardi Hearing Center staff face is educating the public on the importance of treating hearing loss as quickly as possible.
“People don’t realize how important it is to hear and understand speech,” Huntley said. “It’s not the same as putting on a pair of glasses and being able to see 20/20. We hear with our brains, not our ears. If you wait until your hearing is too bad, you have waited too long and I may not be able to help you.
Huntley recalled a conversation he had with one 88 year-old gentleman who needed hearing aids. “He told me he was going to wait awhile,” he said with a chuckle. “I told him if he waited too much longer his hearing would be perfect!”
Huntley says his favorite part of being a hearing healthcare professional is changing people’s lives for the better by helping them communicate with their family and friends – and recent developments in hearing aid technology help him accomplish that.
“Digital technology has changed the world,” he said. “When I first started in the business, everything was analog. Hearing health technology is leaps and bounds from when I started – which means I can help people hear better with the hearing they have.”