Earzlink Hearing Care | Hearing Center Interview
It's no surprise that Tim Cross, HIS, wound up as a hearing healthcare professional. A two-year high school industrial arts program gave him an affinity for working on electronics and the Masters degree in Bible Exposition he completed helps him connect with people on a deeper level. He also has an undergraduate degree in communications and a desire to educate people.
“It all came together in hearing healthcare,” he said. “My favorite part of the job is taking somebody’s fear, dispelling it, and replacing it with piece of mind and the joy that they are receiving something back they didn’t know was gone – or thought was unattainable.”
Tim is a partner in Earzlink Hearing Care, an independent hearing center company with 13 locations in Ohio. Tim manages the Hillsboro, Peebles, Washington Court House, Kettering, Tipp City, Yorkville and Lebanon locations. His partner, Brian, manages the others.
“I look at each person coming in as someone I’m establishing a long-term relationship with,” Tim said. “As a result, everything I do is to put that patient in a better position so they’re looking forward to the next encounter. I have the largest group of friends you can imagine. I’m often invited to family gatherings, funerals and golf tournaments and included as part of the extended family in many occasions. That tells me I’m achieving my goal.”
Earzlink offers a variety of hearing instruments from major manufacturers to give their patients affordable options. Staff educates patients with a non-threatening, permission-based philosophy, moving from step to step only when the patient is comfortable and agreeable. They allow patients to trial the hearing instruments they ultimately choose risk-free.
“Our patients could’ve gone anywhere, but they chose Earzlink and I value that trust,” Tim said. “I realize that I have to do everything I can to help them make wise decisions. I’m not going to promote a solution for their hearing loss if they aren’t ready for that.”
One of Tim’s favorite hearing device success stories involves a lady who needed new earmolds and came to Earzlink, even though she hadn’t purchased her hearing instruments from them. When Tim took the impressions of her ears and ordered the molds, he noticed he could make a few minor modifications which would provide her with better comfort. After delivering the new molds and placing them on her hearing instruments, she could immediately hear much better. “What did you do?” she asked him. He explained that her vent was too small for her hearing loss, so he’d increased it slightly. “This is the best I’ve ever heard!” she told him.
“She moved closer to family a week after I fit her and never saw her again, but she was very appreciative,” he said. “Sometimes when you do something for someone you don’t expect anything from, you get the biggest reward.”
Earzlink participates in community hospital health fairs and senior centers and presents educational talks to civic groups. Currently, they are piloting a number of programs designed to address unmet needs, such as free hearing for hospice patients and a children’s program for those who need an interim hearing instrument while they’re seeking financial resources.
Tim, who has been a hearing healthcare professional since 1985, said the advent of digital technology is the most significant change in hearing technology he’s seen since he joined the field.
“The industry is now able to perform thousands of applications without creating a delay or echo or limiting effect,” he explained, “and processing speed is phenomenal. It’s been a joy and an exciting journey to watch solutions become more and more effective. We touch a significant number of people to their satisfaction with this level of technology. It’s a rare situation when we’re not able to satisfy a patient.”