Hearing Services of Delaware | Hearing Center Interview
Growing up with a father who had hearing loss gave Stacy Sanders, Au.D. a first-hand appreciation for hearing health. “When I got to college and realized I could major in it, I moved forward,” she said. “I’ve loved it ever since.”
In 2006, Dr. Sanders and two other partners founded Hearing Services of Delaware, a practice which now has offices in Newark, Middletown and Dover. Kiijuana Cann, Au.D. and Cali Rodichok, administrator, both share ownership. Other hearing healthcare professionals include Lisa Marencin, M.S., Rebecca Holowka, M.S. and Alicia Latham, a doctoral student who will join the practice June 2015.
The hearing healthcare professionals operate from a philosophy that hearing is healthcare. “We take every opportunity to educate the community,” Dr. Sanders said. “We encourage everyone to get their hearing tested and to let us help them if they have hearing loss. Our product is not hearing aids – it’s better hearing.”
Those educational opportunities Dr. Sanders refers to includes participation in community health fairs as well as conducting presentations on how hearing loss affects so many aspects of life, especially depression and social isolation. Hearing Services of Delaware is also one of the few hearing centers in the area which work specifically with tinnitus patients.
“We’re very involved in tinnitus masking,” Dr. Sanders said. “Recently, we put a masking device on a patient with severe tinnitus in one ear. He is a veteran who fought in Vietnam. The device was immediately effective and it brought tears to his eyes. He told me it was the first time in 50 years he’d been without that noise in his ear. It was very special to him.”
Dr. Sanders said her favorite part of being a hearing healthcare professional is getting to know her patients and improving their communication problems.
“The way we go about dispensing hearing aids is very special,” she said. “We’ve used our years of experience to put together a protocol that works beautifully. When hearing aids are appropriate, we put them on right in the office. If the patient chooses to move forward, we discuss their hearing loss, lifestyle and budget to choose the right style and manufacturer. We follow up with them several times during evaluation period and then every six months once they are content with their hearing.”
Dr. Sanders said the most challenging aspect of her job is when she has to tell a patient their hearing loss falls into the gap between wearing hearing aids and needing a cochlear implant. Fortunately, she said, that happens very rarely because of today’s technology.
“I started fitting hearing aids 20 years ago, when we used screwdrivers to make the adjustments,” she said. “Now we’re wearing computers in our ears. Thanks to the addition of accessories, such as Bluetooth, you can hear telephone calls and the television right in your hearing aid. You don’t have to work so hard to hear.”