Erichson Hearing Aid | Hearing Center Interview
There’s a certain kind of familiarity and comfort in being an Erichson Hearing Aid patient. Linda Kerner, HIS, is always there to fit your hearing aids. Office manager Mike Kerner, a hearing aid user himself, is always there to answer any questions you might have about the hearing aid experience.
“You’ve now been adopted into the Erichson family,” Linda said she tells each patient. “When you’re one of ours, you’re not just a number, you’re part of the family.”
Linda was licensed as a hearing instrument specialist in 1994 after wanting to help her mentally-challenged brother with his severe hearing loss. “At the time, there was nothing out there to help him because he was on a fixed outcome,” she said. “Once I fit my brother, it snow balled and other family members started asking me for help.”
In 2005, Linda and Mike purchased Erichson Hearing Aid, a family practice established in 1952 by George and Helen Erichson. In keeping with her philosophy, Linda walks each patient through their individual hearing loss journey. “Every patient is unique,” she said, “and my philosophy is to treat them as individuals. We do a lot of hand holding and walk them through everything they’re going to experience. We also help their families understand how they need to work together in order to help the patient get used to wearing hearing instruments. Not a lot of other practices do that.”
Linda said the favorite aspect of her job is helping someone hear again. “I get no greater satisfaction than when someone comes in and tells me how glad they are to have their hearing aids,” she said. “It’s amazing because hearing instruments open up their world and help them live again.”
One of her biggest challenges is helping patients decide they are ready to invest in treating their hearing loss. “The first thing I ask is “are you ready to do something if we find hearing loss? I know they have to be ready and that’s a huge challenge. Hearing instruments are not cheap but if they take the plunge, they’ll be able to better enjoy their life. It’s a big counseling issue.”
Her favorite hearing device success story involves a young girl who made an appointment for her dad. “He had such a bad hearing loss and refused to do anything about it for years,” Linda recalled. “When he came in, he was furious. I put a set of hearing aids on him to explain the testing and his daughter said “Don’t worry, daddy, I’m going to take care (of purchasing) these for you.” He said “I can hear you!” She started crying because he could finally hear everything she was saying without yelling at him.”
In addition to health fairs, Linda and Mike are active in the Eerie community giving presentations about hearing loss, the benefits to being aided, and the long-term effects of untreated hearing loss.
“When someone thinks they might have a hearing loss, I always tell them hearing and vision go together,” Linda said. “When you get your eyes tested, you should get your hearing tested too. Get a baseline test so when we do find hearing loss, you can do something about it.”