Healthy Hearing Conversation | Associates in Hearing
When a beloved aunt struggled to communicate after a debilitating stroke, Dr. Patricia Reiff found herself gravitating toward a career in speech communications and audiology. “I remember sitting there and trying to piece together what she was trying to communicate,” she said, “and how frustrated and upset she would become. Hearing loss causes so much difficulty in communicating with other people. It really affects their whole life. That’s what drew me to the field.”
Hearing science with a personal touch
Thirty years later as owner of Associates in Hearing in Lansdale, PA, Dr. Reiff is still passionate about her career choice. “Audiology is a great combination of something that is really concrete as well as something that has a lot of psychology in it,” she said. “Having the hearing aid component is exciting because you can really get your hands on something, measure it, validate it and know that it’s improving someone’s hearing from a scientific standpoint. There’s the aspect, too, of being able to counsel people and find out what is important to them and to their family.”
“One woman told me how she was able to go to lunch with her family in a noisy restaurant and understand everything that was being said,” Dr. Reiff related. “Then she went to a soccer game with her grandson. 'I never understood what he said because he has braces and he talks fast, but I understood everything. I feel like a normal person again. I haven’t felt like this in 20 years,' she told me.”
When hearing aids are fit successfully, it usually means enhanced quality of life for the patient and their family.
Another story came from the family of a patient who only had a month left to live. His daughter said, "We will never forget the conversations we were able to have in those last few weeks. I am so grateful you were able to help us. We shared so many beautiful memories and told him how much we loved him." "Stories like that are what make what we do so rewarding,” Dr. Reiff said.
Dr. Reiff is a hearing conservation advocate and performs OSHA-required industrial hearing tests in the community. The Associates in Hearing staff also maintain regular hours each month at various retirement communities in the area, as well as conduct hearing screenings at local health fairs, pharmacies and other community events. “You name it, we’ve been involved in all types of programs to spread the word about what kind of help is available.”
And, while programmable Receiver-in-the-Ear (RITE) amplification is the most impactful change in hearing aid technology Dr. Reiff has seen since she began practicing, she knows the key to better hearing goes way beyond the product. That’s why her staff see patients quickly, address problems onsite and take time to review manufacturer information thoroughly with each patient.
“A lot of times we have to be reminded that hearing aids are an important part of life to keep people connected,” she said, “but it’s like anything else. If you have a powerful tool and you don’t know how to use it or can’t get service promptly, you’re not going to be successful with it.”
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