Northern Jersey ENT Associates Midland Park | Hearing Center Interview
Not only does Valerie Kriney, Au.D. think every patient is unique, she’s also positive she can help each of them hear better. “I believe that every individual with a hearing challenge can find a helpful hearing solution,” she said. “You have to be very intuitive and think about the whole person – not just their ears. If you try different solutions, you’ll come up with one that works.”
Dr. Kriney has been a practicing audiologist since 1977 and currently sees patients at the Midland Park location of Northern Jersey ENT Associates. “I think our patients believe that we genuinely want to help them and sense a continuity of their care,” she said. “The physicians work very closely with us in the same location and if my patients need additional medical care, I just send them down the hall and the physicians are very good about seeing them right away.”
While the current healthcare environment and insurance hurdles are challenging aspects of her job, Dr. Kriney and her staff are committed to finding the right hearing solution for each patient.
“Hearing aid fitting and dispensing is an art more than a science — there may be more than one solution,” she said, noting that variables such as age, lifestyle, vision, dexterity, family support and level of independence affect what solution is right for that person. “And sometimes people aren’t honest with you and will tell you something is ok when it isn’t,” she added. “You have to really read into that.”
One of her favorite hearing device success stories involves a young adult progressive hearing loss. “She kept coming in and saying, 'my hearing aid isn’t working,'” Dr. Kriney said. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t her hearing aid, it was her ears. This slow, steady decline was devastating and she became so upset. We had to find something to help her so I referred her for a cochlear implant. I saw her recently and she was so much happier. I’m glad she was able to get help.”
Another aspect of the job she enjoys is helping her tinnitus patients. “I feel very successful when I can help them manage that condition and they aren’t controlled by their tinnitus anymore,” she said.
Dr. Kriney said in addition to wireless device technology, comfort and high fidelity are the most significant changes in hearing technology she’s seen since she became an audiologist.
“Patients are really pleased with their hearing aids for the most part,” she said, “The most important thing I want to stress is that hearing instruments are really helpful and people shouldn’t be afraid of them. They are not the hearing aids of 30 years ago and can really change lives for the better. I tell my patients, 'You remember how the first cell phone was so big and now you can walk around with a little computer in your hand? That same technology applies to things that can help you, like your hearing aids.'
"For some patients, Bluetooth technology is an absolute necessity because they can’t hear the television or phone without it. For patients who are housebound, it’s really connected them to their families. All of that has been really exciting.”