Healthy Hearing conversation | Allied Hearing
Shannon Smith, Au.D., knows what a big difference hearing aids can make in someone’s quality of life -- especially when they’re carefully customized to meet each individual’s needs. That’s why, as co-owner of Allied Hearing in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, she insists on using a combination of best practices combined with an emphasis on patient-focused care. Together, the protocols provide the tools her patients need to hear their best.
“Hearing loss is tiring,” Dr. Smith explained. “By the end of the day, people with hearing loss are spending their energy focused on how to decode and understand. With hearing aids, it’s refreshing -- it’s an invigorating thing to be able to participate and understand, to really connect with others.”
Dr. Smith and her husband, a marketing professional, purchased Allied Hearing nine years ago after they moved to Mount Pleasant. As an audiologist with more than 22 years of hospital, clinical and private practice experience, she believes in taking a proactive approach with her patients and fostering strong relationships. Jennifer Cross, Au.D., an audiologist with 20 years of experience, is also on staff. The practice provides comprehensive hearing healthcare, including tinnitus evaluation and treatment.
“The relationship is a really, really important aspect,” Dr. Smith said. “ We focus on understanding each person, because if I don’t understand that person, then I don’t really understand what their needs or issues are. Once I understand, then I can better identify where we need to improve things.”
In order to find the best fit for each patient, the Allied Hearing audiologists work with six major hearing aid manufacturers. Each hearing device is custom fit using visible speech or real ear measures, tested every six months to make sure it is working properly and refit again at the 1 and 2-year mark.
Recently, Dr. Smith saw a patient with several different sets of basic hearing aids who was having difficulty communicating. “He was intelligent and articulate with a successful life,” she said, “but because of his hearing loss, he couldn’t converse with me.” When an evaluation showed he might not even be able to use hearing aids, Dr. Smith tried a hearing aid she felt was best for his hearing loss. “It was a dramatic improvement in his ability to converse with me,” she remembers. “He told me I gave him his life back. It was a very positive, uplifting experience to be able to make a difference with someone who wasn’t able to communicate with anyone in the community, in his house.”
Take a leap of faith
Dr. Smith knows it takes a leap of faith for someone to admit they have hearing loss and take the first step to better hearing -- but she also knows that waiting can compromise hearing comprehension as well as affect earning potential, energy level and the ability to feel like part of the group. “Don’t wait,” she advises. “It’s a painless process and provides you with a more enjoyable life. If you have the right person who works with you and guides you along the way, you’ll achieve great success.”
If you or someone close to you needs hearing help in the Mount Pleasant, Michigan area, make an appointment with Dr. Smith and experience her personalized approach for yourself. If Allied Hearing isn't close to you, use our directory of consumer-reviewed clinics to find another dedicated hearing healthcare professional who can help.