New Generation Hearing | Hearing Center Interview
As a boy, Joseph K. Durán, Au.D. filled battery racks, cleaned hearing aids and changed earmold tubes in his parents’ hearing center. When it came time to choose what he wanted to study in college, audiology was not only a familiar profession, he also really liked its balance between science and medicine.
“Mom picked us up from school, we did homework in the office, then we helped with whatever needed to be done,” he said. “You could say I was born into the profession."
Although his parents eventually sold the practice in 2006, Dr. Durán and sister, Yvette Durán Someillán, HIS, decided to go into practice together. They founded New Generation Hearing in 2009, focusing on providing fair pricing and excellent service in a family-oriented manner to the residents of Miami.
“You can see the same hearing loss over and over again, but if you don’t take the patient’s environment and social life into consideration you’re not going to accomplish anything,” Dr. Durán said. “We have to start by making sure we accomplish what the patient wants by giving them the solutions they’ve been looking for in their real world.”
Both Dr. Durán and his sister grew up in Miami and are fluent in both English and Spanish, which helps make their practice unique. “It’s a different culture here,” he said. “Our secretary worked with our family for the past 20 years, adding to the family feel of our practice. Many of our patients are second generation; their parents were patients of my parents. There's no pressure to make a decision on hearing aids and we're always here for our patients."
One of Dr. Durán’s favorite hearing device success stories involves a 24 year-old man with Down Syndrome — also a huge University of Miami fan — who was apprehensive about wearing his hearing aids. “He didn’t want people to make fun of him,” he said. “Every time he came in the office he was wearing University of Miami apparel so I customized his hearing aids with UM colors. He was so excited he never took them off. I can remember just seeing him out in the public – he would run and give me a great big hug. It was great I was able to treat him in a way he could be proud to wear his hearing devices.”
Dr. Durán said his favorite part of being an audiologist is hearing about the experiences his patients have the first week of wearing their hearing aids. “They talk about hearing their dog bark or the indicator on the car. They didn’t realize how many sounds they were missing.”
He said the most challenging aspect of the profession are patients with unrealistic expectations. “It’s challenging to make sure people understand hearing devices are going to help them, but there’s no magic wand or pill to take,” he said. “It involves a lot of counseling and a lot of listening.”
New Generation Hearing staff conduct seminars in retirement communities and talk about what it’s like to have hearing loss. Dr. Durán said the hearing center’s patient philosophy is to fit the patient’s needs – not just their hearing loss.
“The mechanics of caring for patient's hearing aids are automatic. It's our interaction with the patient that makes the difference,” he said. “Only then can we understand what drives their problems and present solutions that meet their needs."