Audiology Associates | Hearing Center Interview
She may have majored in psychology, but Kimberly Monica, HIS, finally realized the work she’d been doing for an audiologist to put herself through school was a better fit. Three years ago, after holding every position in the office, Audiology Associates owner Patrice Rifkind, Au.D. CCC-A, encouraged Monica to get her Hearing Instrument Specialist certification.
“A lot of the things I was dealing with in psychology also occur in folks with hearing loss – such as issues with depression and anxiety,” she said. “For me, having a psychology degree and working in audiology is like having the best of both worlds.”
While Monica admits she’s a bit biased when she says staff makes their hearing center unique, she is quick to point out readers of two local newspapers agree, having consistently voted Audiology Associates the top hearing center for the past five years.
“At the end of the day, the thing that really differentiates us is our staff,” she said. “We basically haven’t had any turn over for five years, which is very unusual for a medical office. When you walk in, you’ll see the same face at the desk. The only time you see a different provider is because your provider is on vacation or you have an emergency.”
The hearing healthcare professionals, which include Kevin Bolder, Au.D., CCC-A, have a patient care philosophy of treating people the way they would wish to be treated. That includes a liberal 45-day free trial period for hearing aids.
“If someone is unsure, I say, 'Let me pull these hearing aids off the shelf right now and have a conversation so you can see what that feels like,” she said. “We don’t require any money, just a signature that says you’re borrowing them for a test drive. Usually they come back in a week and say, 'We have to figure something out because you’re not getting these back!' That’s when I feel really grateful to be part of helping them hear.”
Audiology Associates participates in community expos and offer free hearing screenings for adults. They also routinely visit three senior living centers to reach patients who may not have transportation.
Monica said the most challenging aspect of her job is not being able to fit a person with hearing aids because they don’t have the money. The hearing center works with local civic groups and rehabilitation organizations to help provide service, and also accepts hearing aids donations from patients when they upgrade. “Even though we have a lot of resources here, there’s still not enough to go around,” she said. “I want everybody to wear the best without worrying about price.”
Monica described Audiology Associates as a family-oriented hearing center where patients are so satisfied with the service they receive they happily refer friends and family members. Treating people they way they want to be treated, Monica believes, is an essential part of hearing healthcare success.
“Whatever you do, be happy with the hearing healthcare professional you choose,” Monica, who is fondly known as the office joker, said. “This is not a Jiffy Lube. Hearing loss is forever. If you’re not happy, find someone you’re happy with. And always laugh at my jokes.”