New England Hearing Instruments | Hearing Center Interview
Like many college freshmen, Leslie Soiles, Au.D., wasn’t sure what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. Then she was fit with her first set of hearing aids. “The experience was life changing for me,” Dr. Soiles, who was born with hearing loss and spent a lot of time in the audiology booth as a child, said. “I researched how to become an audiologist and transferred into a Communications Disorders program.”
Dr. Soiles worked with ENTs for the first 20 years of her career before founding New England Hearing Instruments in 1996. Other hearing healthcare professionals in the office include Tara Noyes, Au.D., Cathy Andrikowich, HIS and Kristin Kemos, HIS-A. Krystal MacKay is the front office coordinator.
The staff treat every patient as an individual with unique hearing challenges and goals for improving their hearing. The fact that the owner knows what it feels like to wear hearing aids makes the patient experience even better.
“Because I was born with hearing loss and utilize hearing aids, I offer my patients a first hand perspective on the issues and concerns they experience with hearing loss,” Dr. Soiles said. “My patients have told me that they appreciate seeing someone with hearing loss who has been able to overcome the challenges of this situation.”
Although keeping up with changing insurance coverage for hearing services has its challenges, Dr. Soiles’ said her favorite part of being a hearing healthcare professional – the ability to positively impact patient lives – far outweighs any negative aspects.
“Hearing loss affects a person’s self-confidence, relationships, sense of well-being, physical and mental health – and can even affect salary,” she said. “Being able to provide a solution that immediately improves a person’s quality of life is so satisfying.”
In fact, you might call providing individualized hearing solutions her mission, as one of her favorite hearing device success stories illustrates.
“I had a patient who needed hearing aids for years and kept putting it off,” she explained. “At his last hearing test, I did aided speech testing on him and his word recognition ability improved dramatically with hearing aid use. Despite this, he asked me if he could put it off one more year! I told him “no.” He had already procrastinated on pursuing amplification and now it was time to do something to improve his communication ability. He agreed and his wife cried happy tears. When he came in for his two week follow up, he hugged me and thanked me for challenging him on this. He said he loved how he was hearing and wished he done it sooner!”
Dr. Soiles believes the digital hearing aid has been the most significant change in hearing technology since she joined the field.
“The capability of hearing aids to respond to changes in a listening environment is so advanced,” she said. “This has led to better speech understanding in background noise and better patient satisfaction.”
In order to help create hearing healthcare awareness in the community, New England Hearing Instruments hold seminars at senior centers and host lunch and learns for the Shrewsbury community. Dr. Soiles describes these as “dynamic interactive programs about hearing loss and solutions to hearing loss.”
“Our motto is “We listen, so you can hear better,” she said. “Our goal is to provide our patients with the best possible hearing care based upon their individual needs.”