REM Audiology Associates | Hearing Center Interview
In the more than 40 years that Elizabeth Protti-Patterson Au.D. has been a hearing healthcare professional, she’s seen a lot of changes in the field. Although audiologists now use computers to adjust hearing aids instead of the screwdrivers they used when she first started in the field, one thing remains the same: She loves her job and the people she works with almost as much as she loves her own family.
“I founded REM Audiology in the early 80s because I wanted to keep my profession but I also wanted to start a family,” she said. The initials stand for Robert, Elizabeth and Mark – her husband, self and son. The practice evolved from one room in a pediatrician’s office where she performed diagnostic and processing testing on children and into three offices and a staff of twenty people.
Other REM Audiology staff include Maegan Mapes, Au.D., Ayda Shimelis, Au.D., Kathleen Prout Young, M.S., CCC-A, Jessica Maher, Au.D., CCC-A, Jillian MacMillan, M.S., CCC-A, Sharon Williams, Au.D., Cory McNabb, Au.D., Lisa Mancini, HIS and Kalli Byrne, HIS.
Dr. Protti-Patterson said her favorite part of being a hearing healthcare practitioner is giving people a quality of life they’ve been lacking. “They know they have a new lease on life,” she said. “I love it when they say our offices are like coming to visit a friend.”
“We listen to our patients,” Dr. Protti-Patterson added. “We feel there is a solution to everyone’s problems. We follow through with them – don’t just put a gadget on them and say goodbye.”
One of Dr. Protti-Patterson's favorite hearing device success stories involves a young woman who came to her with old technology she bought in Europe. “She couldn’t hear,” she said. “The hearing instruments weren’t really appropriate for her degree of hearing loss but she couldn’t afford a new one. Even though she had a bachelor’s degree, she couldn’t get a job in her profession so was working as a nanny. We referred her to vocational rehabilitation and they provided her with new hearing aids. Now she can hear better than her husband and is developing the confidence she needs to interview for another job.”
REM Audiology participates in health fairs and visits schools and assisted living facilities to conduct hearing screenings. They have a physician development program and publish monthly newsletters for their patients.
Dr. Protti-Patterson said digital hearing technology, better processing in noise and wireless assistive listening devices allow her to help people she wasn’t able to assist before. “Hearing aids aren’t just amplifiers anymore,” she said, “They’re digitized audio processors.”
REM Audiology is a community-based, private practice where staff gives highly individualized planning for patients and are committed to helping low-income patients find funding to afford their hearing aids. They work with vocational rehabilitation and Medicaid. And, while working with insurance companies can be frustrating, Dr. Protti-Patterson said she believes it’s her “obligation to wake up with an attitude each morning to do the best for each patient.”
“We help people who otherwise wouldn’t have any other resources,” Dr. Protti-Patterson said. “Our goal is to not turn anyone away. Everybody working with me shares my passion.”