Martina Audiology and Hearing | Hearing Center Interview
Just call Mark Martina, M.A., an old soul. By his own admission, Martina Audiology and Hearing Center is very much a “mom and pop” operation where the coffee pot is always on, the furniture is comfortable and patients are treated like family.
“My grandfather was an old-fashioned GP (general practitioner) with an office in his house. My office has the same homey feel,” Martina said. “My wife says to me, 'You don’t really go to work, you just talk to friends all day long.' And she’s right; I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Martina said his hearing center’s motto is: 'uncompromising care for all your hearing needs' with a focus on treating the whole person. “If you’re going to be taking care of hearing problems, it’s a lot more than just fitting hearing aids,” he said. “You have to look at everything involved with the patient.”
This year, Martina will celebrate 30 years in his profession. He said he most enjoys the ability to turn someone’s life around in such a short period of time – sometimes as quickly as a few weeks. “It’s a privilege to be able to help somebody to that extent,” he explained. “And it’s so simple for me. I’ve been doing this so many years I have a handle on quality of life issues and what people’s hot buttons are. Hearing aids allow people to be more confident – more of the person they genuinely are – rather than reclusive and afraid.”
As an example, Martina told the story of a “typical husband and wife” couple. “She was complaining that he wasn’t hearing properly so I fit him with new hearing aids. When he came in for his two week check up, before I could begin asking him any questions, he said, 'Don’t say a word, Mark. My wife now asks me to turn the volume UP on the television!'”
Martina said receiver-in-the-ear technology, along with digital technology, are the two most significant changes in hearing technology he’s seen since entering the field.
“Hearing aids and telephones had never been very compatible before, now they’re best friends,” he said. “Receiver-in-the-ear technology may even trump that in terms of patient satisfaction. They’re so much more comfortable to wear, patients don’t even feel like they’re wearing hearing aids.”
The Fort Myers-based hearing center, in business since 1985, participates in local health fairs; Martina is always available to encourage hearing loss treatment to local civic groups. Recently, Martina Audiology purchased infrared receivers for a small community theater in need of assistive listening devices.
The very personal touch community involvement keeps patients coming in the door but it’s the patient referrals which have been the key to Martina Audiology and Hearing’s success in the competitive, rapidly-changing marketplace.
“We’re a people-oriented practice,” Martina said. “We’re not in business of selling hearing aids, we’re in the business of solving problems. We love our patients and they love us. That’s how it should be.”