Arizona Hearing Center May 2019

2627 North 3rd Street Ste. 201, Phoenix, AZ 85004 | 14418 West Meeker Blvd. Bldg B, Ste 102, Sun City West, AZ 85375

MAY 2019

602-277-4327 |

Comprehensive, Collaborative, Compassionate Care A Better Way to Treat Hearing Loss

As strange as it may sound, I knew I wanted to become a neurotologist/ otologist during my childhood. I didn’t know the terms for the profession, but I knew I wanted to be an “ear doctor.” When I was growing up, one of my brothers was diagnosed with a brain tumor in his teenage years. He began to suffer hearing loss as one of the side effects of his treatment. That affected his quality of life more dramatically than any other symptom. At the time, I already knew I wanted to pursue a career in medicine. Seeing my brother’s struggle narrowed the path I would take. The simplest things, like playing team sports, taking notes in class, listening to music, or just having a laugh with his friends, would often be stalled or interrupted due to his hearing limitations. my medical degree from Jefferson Medical College, I spent my ENT residency at Tripler Regional Medical Center and did ear-specific fellowship training at the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles. After leaving school, I knew I had found my calling because I could see the joy and life-changing impact of hearing care. People's lives were being transformed for the better. Over time, I came to realize that how we treat hearing loss is far from ideal. Once a surgery was complete, some patients needed hearing technology. I would tell these patients to get well-fitting After completing my undergraduate studies at Boston College and receiving

hearing aids. All too often, I’d follow up with the patient and learn they never ended up with hearing aids. It wasn’t because the patient lacked diligence; instead, it was due to the disparate care system patients with hearing issues have to navigate to get their needs met. suffering from hearing loss were handled in two different universes. Patients would receive surgical care from me and then seek hearing aids from an audiologist or hearing aid dispenser. Often, they would feel like they were being “sold to” and didn’t have the same confidence in their hearing aids. A Consumer Report article indicated that two-thirds of hearing aids do not meet the prescriptive need of the patient. Even when patients obtain hearing aids, most are not fitted well! It can be difficult for patients to know if their rehabilitation worked when their hearing aid is not working properly. Patients simply do not have confidence that their hearing loss was well treated. Plus, they'd have a logistical minefield to navigate. All of these factors can result in people denying themselves valuable, life-altering care. There’s no better proof that the system is broken than the numbers surrounding the treatment of hearing problems. In the 70s, roughly 20 percent of people with hearing loss received treatment. Today, that number is no greater that it was four decades ago. It's hard to believe. In my eyes, we have to look In the traditional system, the medical and technological needs of people

at our profession and how it works in order to start raising that number.

That’s why I hit upon a comprehensive hearing care model that bridges the gap between surgical and technological solutions. If we see a patient who needs hearing aids, we can refer them to an in-house audiologist that we know, and we can trust them to deliver exceptional hearing care. The same goes for patients in need of surgical options. Creating this consistent, collaborative, and compassionate approach is essential to ensuring patients’ needs are met. If someone knows they need hearing aids, there should be nothing deterring them from feeling confident about the person providing the hearing technology for them. It’s our responsibility as care providers to question conventional treatment routes when they fail our patients. There's definitely a failure in the system when we live in a world where 80 percent of people aren't getting something that would greatly benefit their lives. It’s my mission to bring all the treatment options for hearing loss under one roof. I

hope you’ll join me in offering patients a better alternative.

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