Healthy Hearing Conversation | Conejo Hearing Center
Audiology was the answer for Christine Wilson, M.S., CCC-A, after a desire to work with people on a one-to-one basis left her wondering if her successful career in business was her true calling.
“I realized audiology was my place to be,” she said, after interaction with her father’s speech therapist prompted her to enroll in the communications degree program at the local community college. “I finished my master's degree about 17 years ago and haven’t looked back.” Today she uses her former business experience as owner of Conejo Hearing Center in Westlake Village, CA, while positively affecting quality of life as a hearing healthcare professional.
“So much of the day is working with people and getting them through the process of accepting their impairment and doing something that will change their lives. I feel like they’re my family,” she says of her patients. “It makes me want to come to work every day.”
Hearing is believing
Conejo Hearing Center works with a variety of hearing device manufacturers and offers their patients a free trial period. “We’re not a sales driven, product moving office,” Wilson explained. “We’re really here to focus on needs of patients. You can explain how much different it’s going to be, but until somebody actually puts something on their ears and goes out in their environment with their family and actually hears, that’s the real motivating factor. That’s why we do it. It makes sense.”
“Every new consumer who comes through the door is at a different point with what they know,” she said, sharing that big box retailers and internet advertisers often sell hearing aids without the necessary expertise and follow-up. “We explain this is a medical device and it is custom fit and maintained over the life of the hearing aid. It’s not just one time, in and out the door, like eye glasses.”
She said it’s satisfying to hear people who were initially afraid to wear hearing aids tell her how positively they’ve impacted their quality of life. “When I fit them with great technology that nobody even notices, they often come back and say 'Wow, I can’t believe I waited so long'.”
Wilson said one of the hardest parts of her job is helping consumers understand why they “shouldn’t buy their hearing aids at the same place they buy their peanut butter.”
Waiting to have your hearing evaluated may also affect your overall health, as one of Conejo’s patient stories illustrates. “One particular patient of mine had asymmetrical hearing loss and only wore one hearing aid,” Wilson recalls. “One day he came in and said, “I feel like I’m not hearing out of my ear anymore and we need to turn it up.” I tested him and found he had a significant drop in speech discrimination. I referred him to an ENT where they did an MRI and found a small acoustic neuroma (tumor). He was very grateful and sent me a nice letter. “If you hadn’t pursued this, I never would have,” he said. “It made me feel really good that I was able to help him on a medical level as well as a social level.”
The story is an example of why Wilson encourages everyone to obtain a baseline hearing test between the ages of 40 and 50 with follow-up evaluations every 3-5 years. She advocates for the practice with the local medical community and nonprofit groups which promote health services to seniors.
Better hearing can be easy
What’s the one thing she wishes everyone knew about hearing loss? “I wish they knew it’s not that complicated,” she said. “We take as much time as somebody needs to make their decision,” she said. “It may be a week or a couple of weeks, but we walk people very closely through the process and people like that. I know how to do it for you so let me help you through it.”
Conejo Hearing Center is one of the many patient-centered independent practices owned by compassionate and knowledgeable hearing healthcare professionals. If you need hearing help and Christine Wilson's office isn't close to you, visit our extensive directory to find a caring provider near you.
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