Susan E Terry, Au.D., F-AAA spent just enough time working in healthcare environments to know she wanted to go into private practice. In 1988, she established Broadwater Hearing Care for the residents of St. Petersburg.
“Part of what I saw when I was working with other people is that I couldn’t take the amount of time I thought was necessary to work with each patient,” she said. “I knew I either had to go into private practice or find another career.”
That element of personal care is what sets Broadwater Hearing Care apart from other hearing centers in the area. “I structure my practice so I can meet the needs of just about anybody,” she said. “If you’re blind, I can help you. If you bring in your mother who has advanced dementia, I can help you. We have a friendly, open practice. I consider my patients my friends.”
Other staff members of Broadwater Hearing Care include office manager Karen Olson and a part time marketing person who provides education to local physicians. Additionally, Dr. Terry visits retirement centers where she provides hearing screenings and hearing aid diagnostics.
Dr. Terry’s philosophy on patient care also includes staying as knowledgeable as possible about hearing devices, techniques and patient care. She spends at least 50 hours a year in continuing education. “That’s where a lot of other professionals fall down,” she said. “If they just do the bare minimum, they can’t possibly keep up. It’s important to stay on top of things so you can confidently provide the best care possible.”
One of the most challenging aspects of her job is competing with big box stores and online hearing aid sales. “I don’t think people realize how important it is to get professional help,” she said. “The key to hearing aid success is to work with someone who knows what they’re doing. There is no follow up service when you purchase online hearing aids so you’re not going to be as successful – which colors the way you feel about hearing aids in general.”
Her favorite part of being a healthcare professional is when patients return to the office after they’ve been wearing new hearing aids to tell her how much better they can hear. “As audiologists, I think we can make huge differences in our patient’s lives.”
That difference is evident in one of her favorite hearing device success stories, which involves a young woman with severe to profound hearing loss who was unhappy with the hearing aids she had purchased somewhere else. On advice from a friend, the small business owner decided to make an appointment to see Dr. Terry. “I don’t think she believed me when she came in,” she said. “I put her in a different pair of hearing aids, changed her ear molds and let her wear a pair of demos for a week. It was like watching a light go on. “Oh, my gosh, I can hear,” she said. It was so nice to see someone who had such difficulty and had struggled so much, do so well.”
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