Redding Hearing Institute | Hearing Center Interview
After Patty Weil, M.S., CCC-A moved her family to Northern California and founded Redding Hearing Institute in 1995, she knew exactly who to reach out to for help when the business started growing.
“When I realized I needed help, I called Leslie and she moved up here,” Weil said. “We have similar philosophies in audiology and hearing aids. We became partners so we would each have an equal interest in the outcome.”
“When one of us is off on vacation, we are confident the other person can handle whatever hearing aid issues come up,” Leslie Shoji, M.A., CCC-A, said. “We don’t have to worry about our patients because they are well taken care of. We back each other up well because we do things similarly.
Leslie and Patty met when they both worked at an ENT practice affiliated with Loma Linda University Medical Center.
"Working at a large regional hospital gave us the opportunity to see a variety of ear pathologies," Shoji said. "When we started our careers as audiologists in the 1980s, there were only analog hearing aids. With the advent of digital hearing aids and other exciting hearing technologies, our interests evolved from diagnostic audiology to both the diagnostic and rehabilitative aspects of audiology. The audiologists' ability to choose the right hearing instrument for each patient comes from our strong diagnostic background."
Both audiologists like to involve their patients in the selection of hearing aids. Redding Hearing Institute's motto is Try Them Before You Buy Them and patients are allowed to try hearing aids in their unique listening environments during a free one-week "test drive." If the selected hearing device doesn't work, the patient can try another device until the right hearing solution is determined.
“Hearing aid fitting is a matter of matching the right hearing aid with the right person and their lifestyle,” Weil said. “We are fitting the patient’s lifestyle as much as we are fitting their hearing loss.”
The hearing center promotes hearing health awareness by sponsoring local athletic teams and talking to elementary students about turning down the volume on their personal electronic devices. They also participate in community health fairs and host educational seminars – such as how the brain processes sound -- for their patients.
Both audiologists say they enjoy helping their patients stay connected to or reconnect with family and friends. “Patients with untreated hearing loss have a more rapid rate of mental decline,” Weil said. “We feel we’re helping them on a lot of different levels. We help keep them vibrant.”
Weil cited the addition of Bluetooth technology as the most significant change in hearing technology since the two audiologists joined the field more than 30 years ago; Shoji said receiver-in-the-ear technology was a major advancement, too. They both agree that helping people hear their best involves putting all of the puzzle pieces together correctly.
“Better hearing takes more than just a hearing aid,” Weil said. “It’s conducting follow up to make sure the hearing aid components are working and performing up to their potential. Our patients come back to us and tell us all the things they couldn't do before they had their hearing aids.”