Center for Audiology Services | Hearing Center Interview
Janet Westlund, Au.D., graduated with her audiology degree more than 30 years ago but she hasn’t stopped learning. In fact, she attributes the success of the Center for Audiology Services in Bethlehem to her love of science and the progression of hearing aid technology. “It’s been an ongoing learning experience as new technology is created and we discover more about how the ear works,” she said. “That’s why this profession has been satisfying and very rewarding.”
Dr. Westlund worked for a group of ENTs for a while after graduating with her degree in audiology but said she always knew she wanted to open her own practice.
“It’s something I’ve never regretted,” she said. “We like to think of our patients as patients for life. It’s not a ‘once-and-done’ thing,” she said. “When they are part of our practice, we treat them for the rest of their life in terms of hearing loss healthcare. I have patients who come in the door who remember how well we treated their parents and knew when it was time they would come here. That’s the best compliment.”
Deborah Muhleisen, M.S., who has more than 25 years of experience, is a part-time audiologist and hearing aid dispenser with a focus on pediatric hearing healthcare. Dr. Westlund said it’s the experience, consistency, knowledge and service that sets the Center for Audiology Services apart from its competition.
“Both Deborah and I have more than 25-30 years experience working with hearing aid technology and we’re always here,” she said. “We keep fitting until we find out how the patient will hear to the best of their ability. We go the extra mile – and as a result, most of our referrals are by word of mouth. There’s no flashy advertising or price cutting.”
The two audiologists use real ear measurement, which measures frequency response in an objective measurement. “This verifies output of the hearing aid so we know it’s reaching the correct target for each patient’s hearing loss,” Dr. Westlund explained.
One of Dr. Westlund’s favorite hearing device success stories involves a young man in his early 40s whose progressive hearing loss was affecting his position as head of maintenance. “He was losing self confidence and his boss was getting frustrated so we fit him with Bluetooth compatible hearing aids that connected to his cell phone,” she said. “He came in later and said ‘Janet, you saved my job.’ It almost made me cry.”
The audiologists create hearing health awareness in their community by speaking to “any group that will listen” to them. Dr. Westlund has created a 20-minute PowerPoint Presentation on hearing loss and shows it, along with a video on how the ear works, to community groups such as the Kiwanis, Rotary and area health fairs.
Dr. Westlund said her favorite aspect of the job is seeing patients whose quality of life has been enhanced by her care. “After they use their hearing aids for a few weeks and come back, it’s satisfying to hear them talk about how they were able to hear the sermon for the first time or had fun with family at Christmas. Knowing they can engage and are not withdrawing – it’s satisfying to know you helped contribute to that.”
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