Yvette B. Bethea, M.S. CCC/A, FAAA, grew up in a medical family. Her grandfather was a physician, her father was a dentist and her three brothers are physicians. As a child, she was very drawn to science and learned sign language. When one of her brothers introduced her to audiology, she knew she’d found her life’s work.
“I feel like everyone is called to do something,” she explained. “This is my service.”
Bethea has more than 25 years experience as an audiologist and after 23 years of working in a multi-disciplinary practice, established Associates in Hearing, LLC.
“I like to spend time with my patients so things aren’t as disjointed (as they can be in a larger practice),” she said. “I can take them from diagnosis to treatment in a shorter period of time than before. Here, it’s a more relaxed, comfortable atmosphere. I think that helps them remember what they need to do and be compliant so they’ll enjoy their devices and come back year after year.”
Bethea believes it’s important to help the hearing-impaired person and their family understand the effects of hearing loss, then guide them through the hearing aid selection and fitting process. “It’s all about moving forward and continuity of care,” she said. “If they’re not successful and satisfied, they won’t stick with it and use their devices.”
Her favorite part of being a hearing healthcare practitioner is being able to make a difference in people’s lives. “I enjoy helping other people and improving their quality of life through better hearing,” she said. “A lot of times in life we can’t make a difference, but as an audiologist I get the privilege of visibly seeing the difference hearing aids make time and time again.”
Bethea said she enjoys the challenge of working with patients who’ve been told they can’t be helped. “So many have cried in my office because I was their last hope and they just threw it out there not expecting anything. Now they’re enjoying technology and have actually told me they love their hearing aids – and that’s a strong statement,” she said.
Yvette participates in health fairs and visiting with physicians and other healthcare professionals to provide education on the effects of untreated hearing loss. Bethea has written articles for different publications on aging as well as how to select and care for hearing aids. “I talk about hearing loss and hearing aids everywhere I go,” she said. “I want to spread the word that things are different. When I started out there were trimpots and a screwdriver and only used computers for compiling documents. Now, hearing aids talk to each other to process sound and provide noise management. They’re wireless so they connect with the electronic devices we use in our lives. We’ve gotten to a point where people who’ve had a love/hate relationship with their hearing aids treat them like jewels in their jewelry box. They don’t want to be without them.”