Lisa H. Ballinger, MS/CCC-A went immediately from school into private practice because she wanted to put patient care first. “No politics,” she said, “I just wanted to do it right and focus on my patients. We treat all of our patients like they’re a member of the family and like we would want to be treated ourselves.”
That philosophy even extends to the staff, which includes office manager Lauren Laney who’s been with Accurate Hearing Technology for 11 years. “My patients have watched her get married, get pregnant and have a baby (now 13 months old) who’s with us in the office. Patients are upset if we schedule them for an appointment and he’s not here.”
If that philosophy sounds a lot like the Golden Rule, Ballinger is the first to agree – and the proof is in the referrals. “If you follow that advice and treat people right, it comes back to you,” she said. “All my patients send me patients. They know if they send somebody here, I’ll do my best to take very good care of them.”
One of Ballinger’s favorite hearing device success stories involves an older disabled woman in her 70s. A wheelchair user with no hearing, she was depressed and slept for most of the day, withdrawn from friends and family. The first time Ballinger sent her home with a pair of hearing aids on a trial basis, she didn’t wear them.
“I talked to her about trying one more time and she took them home and wore them like religion for a week. When she returned, she said “you can’t have these back until you get me some of my own!” It surprised the heck out of me – it usually doesn’t work that way. Now she gives out my cards in the nursing home!”
That’s why one of the most challenging aspects of her job is working with patients who stubbornly refuse to give hearing aids a try. She knows first-hand what a difference these devices can make in the lives of the hearing-impaired and their families – both emotionally and physically.
“There’s a huge correlation between dementia and untreated hearing loss,” she said. “The hearing-impaired are usually sitting by themselves and not communicating with friends or family. Hearing aids can change people’s lives.”
As part of Accurate Hearing Technology’s philosophy, there are no high pressure sales. Ballinger allows patients to take the hearing aids for a week or two to make sure they’re happy before they make a final purchase.
“It sets up an element of trust right away,” she explained. “I trust them to come back in with my hearing aids and they trust me not to push them into something they don’t need.”
Ballinger, who has been in the field of hearing healthcare for 17 years, said digital hearing aids are the most significant change in hearing technology she’s seen.
“Oticon is the brand I use more than any other,” she said. “They’re so far ahead of any other manufacturer. The priority of their hearing aid technology is speech identification, which is the main reason why people wear hearing aids.”