JFK Medical Center The Center for Audiology | Hearing Center Interview
Virginia Gural-Toth, Au.D. didn’t know what audiology was when she first went to college, but she did know she wanted to help people and work in a hospital. Almost 30 years later, she is the manager of audiology for The Center for Audiology at the JFK Health System, Johnson Rehabilitation Institute– and still as avid about her profession as the day she discovered it.
“When I took my first audiology class in college, the professor was very passionate about the field and it sparked a very strong interest. I realized I could combine my two passions. Here at JFK, I have the best of both worlds.”
At The Center for Audiology, Dr. Gural-Toth works with a team of audiologists as part of a rehabilitation organization. Since they are housed in a medical center, the audiologists are committed to providing the highest level of quality hearing healthcare coupled with excellent customer service.
“It’s very easy to practice underneath that umbrella,” she explained. “When you have that as your barometer, everything else just falls into place. We follow professional standards of practice to ensure quality of care. An example of this is completing an on-ear verification measurement on each and every individual that we dispense hearing aids to. This ensures the programming of the hearing aid is appropriate for the hearing loss. We also ensure that our patients are supported and counseled on care, use and expectations of the hearing aids. You don’t get that when you buy online.”
Other audiologists at the Center for Audiology include Anne Eckert, Au.D. MBA, the Director of the program CCC-A, Maria S. Sulikowski, Au.D., FAAA, CCC-A, Sara E. Kader, Au.D., CCC-A, Betty Needleman, Au.D., CCC-A, Regina Criscione, Sc.D., CCC/A, and Elizabeth Aspell, Au.D., CCC-A. The main office is in Edison with a satellite office in Monroe.
Their philosophy on patient care is rooted in research to achieve the best possible outcomes, which results in satisfied patients. Her team’s goal is to make sure the patient is very satisfied and the hearing aids they dispense don’t end up in the nightstand drawer. “Sometimes the patient isn't ready for them and that's what the counseling is for. “It's never about the product. It's about getting people to buy into how we can make their life better.”
Because Dr. Gural-Toth has been practicing for almost 30 years, her favorite part of the job is watching patients she first diagnosed as children grow into successful adults.
“The thing that gives me the greatest joy is following them through the years, upgrading their technology as needed and watching them succeed in school and college, then becoming happy, productive members of society,” she said. “They start coming through the door as toddlers and I have a relationship with their parents – then suddenly they are teachers and graphic designers. It makes you feel old, but it's great because they've entrusted you all these years and they continue to come back to see you as adults. It is very rewarding; you contributed to their success. You made a difference.”
Dr. Gural-Toth said her staff is busy in the community, offering workshops to senior citizen’s groups, talking to schools about hearing conservation programs, working with JFK physicians to help patient’s with hearing loss and participating in community health fairs.
“We have a very passionate group here,” she said. “You have to set people up for success by properly counseling them on expectations on everything. When you have a higher mission, you have a better ability to accomplish that. We're very lucky to have great support from our leaders in the JFK Health and our community”.