Note: This is Part 2 of a three-part series on Tri-City Audiology. The practice is jointly owned by David McBride, M.S. FAAA, Allen Rohe, Au. D., FAAA, and Kay Kochman, Au.D., FAAA with locations in Mesa, Chandler and Tempe, Arizona.
Kay Kochman, Au.D., FAAA likes to joke that the reason she became an audiologist is simply because she walked through the wrong door. "I was actually looking to take sign language classes in the speech and hearing department," she said. "Once I started learning about audiology and speech pathology, I found I loved the science of audiology and sound - and the anatomy of the ear was fascinating - so I changed my major. I joke that I walked in the wrong door, but it definitely led me in the right direction."
A 20-year veteran of the profession, Dr. Kochman is also somewhat of a "puzzle master" with her patients at Tri-City Audiology in Chandler. "We're really looking at the whole patient," she explained. "We sit down together and find the missing pieces to their life. I ask "what can I do from my end to solve that puzzle and put your life back together?" What product can we use, what settings does it need, what features should it have? That's the fun part of my job."
Her patients tell her they can feel the difference and won't go anywhere else. "It's not about testing their hearing and selling a hearing aid," she explained. "It's about giving back what they're missing."
Dr. Kochman said Tri-City Audiology Chandler's average patient is in their mid-60's, and is still working or recently retired. Chandler residents are invited to attend monthly in-office seminars on topics such as hearing aid technology, assistive devices or how to trouble shoot problems with hearing aids. They publish a quarterly newsletter, which is available in all three Tri-City Audiology offices and local retirement communities, and maintain a social media presence on Facebook.
"When I started as an audiologist 20 years ago, we were still doing analog so I saw the emergence of digital hearing aids," she said. "More recently, it's been the wireless technology. Even when people say "Oh I don't use Bluetooth," they end up wanting to use it once we explain it to them."
When patient expectations are unrealistically high or bureaucracy interferes with the clinic's efforts to help, Dr. Kochman remains positive. She knows it's all worthwhile when she's able to make a difference in someone's life.
"My favorite scenario is when we have an older mom come in with her kids, or maybe her husband, and the story is that she is withdrawn and her family can't communicate with her. Then we put the hearing aids on and she starts responding. They come back for the follow up and say "I can't believe how much you changed my life." On those days, I get to go home really thinking I've done my job."