Healthy Hearing Conversation: Advanced Hearing Solutions of Greenville
Those who don’t believe hearing health is closely tied to our body’s overall health may have a different perspective after an appointment with Tara Bailey, DPM, HIS. Dr. Bailey is the owner of Advanced Hearing Solutions of Greenville and mom to a blended family of six who started working as a hearing healthcare professional after her hectic schedule as a foot and ankle surgeon prompted her to find a more family-friendly profession.
“I never thought I’d go into it full-time,” she said of hearing health, “and I ended up loving it. It’s similar to foot and ankle in that it crosses so many different areas of the body. Hearing affects cognitive decline, risk of falling, all these different things. There are so many inter-connections that people aren’t aware of. It’s not just about selling hearing aids, it’s about affecting the entire life and lifestyle.”
Take diabetes, for example.
“I dealt with diabetes every day in private practice and the neuropathy and things that come along with that,” Dr. Bailey said. “Even when you’re talking through what type of hearing aid is best with a person, you really have to talk about their neuropathy. Do they have diabetic neuropathy and is it only affecting their feet -- or has it gotten in their hands? If you see that coming, you know that’s going to be an issue (with their hearing) within a couple of years and that’s something you really need to take into consideration.”
Making hearing health easier
Because other health concerns, like diabetes, are so important to making the right diagnosis and treatment plan, Dr. Bailey takes an extensive medical history from each patient. And just as her previous medical experience influences the thorough way she interacts with each patient, being a busy mom dictates why she intentionally makes hearing healthcare more accessible. Office hours at Advanced Hearing Solutions are flexible to accommodate those who work typical business hours and for those who have transportation issues. The hearing center works with several hearing aid manufacturers so they can fit everyone and find a price point comfortable for all budgets. Patients also have Dr. Bailey’s cell phone number so they can call anytime of the day if they have a problem.
“When patients come to your office, they’re a little nervous and apprehensive,” she said. “I need to connect with them and read them very quickly to see where they’re coming from, what they are wanting and what they are afraid of.”
An experience with one of her first patients is a good illustration. When an “extremely educated” man and musician was referred by his medical doctor, he came in alone and “dragging his feet.” “We spend an hour just talking about hearing -- how you don’t hear with your ears, you hear with your brain,” she said. “This man was so educated on so many topics he got it. I was able to show him hearing loss wasn’t just about getting old. The more we talked, the more he understood and asked a million questions. It was neat to see a paradigm shift even before we tested his hearing.”
Dr. Bailey fit this patient with an iPhone compatible hearing aid that same day. “He had his manual memorized by the time I called to check on him the next day,” she said. “His wife came in two days later. She was crying. “I got my husband back,” she told me. That was pretty cool. They’ve become friends and great advocates for the practice.”
"Hearing loss is not something to put off," says Dr. Bailey.
Other staff at Advanced Hearing Solutions include Linda Cummings, Au.D., who is experienced with pediatric patients and those suffering from tinnitus. Dr. Cummings also conducts home visits with those aren’t able to come to the office. Together, they work to eliminate every excuse someone may have for not treating their hearing loss.
“Hearing loss is not something to put off,” Dr. Bailey said. “So many times I hear people say 'I’m going to wait until it gets really bad.'” This is something even people in their 40s are having issues with. It’s not a sign of aging. The sooner you address it, the easier it’s going to be to deal with and the better off you’ll be long term. Come in. Let’s get a baseline and see where you are -- then we’ll take it from there.”
If you're in the Greenville, South Carolina area and suspect you or someone you love needs Dr. Bailey's help, call her office today. If you live in another part of the country, use our directory of consumer-reviewed clinics near you to find a professional who can get results for you.