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My Vision And Work At Hearing Services Of Antioch

31 October 2015 Written by  By Mary Jane Garnett, AU.D
Published in November 2015 Articles

I´ve been an audiologist for more than 40 years and have owned my Hearing Services of Antioch company since 1994.

 I hold a Doctorate in Audiology and have spent my professional life assisting people in dealing with whatever issues of hearing loss they may be struggling with. We provide follow up service including maintaining your hearing device so that it continues to function as perfectly as possible for as long as possible. We also check periodically for such things as earwax buildup and any changes in hearing.

We give back to the community in various ways, such as providing free clean-and-check services on hearing aids at senior assisted living centers. We also provide hearing tests at senior centers in coordination with the California Telephone Access Program that provides free phones to qualified hearing impaired seniors. We also hold free informative meetings where people can learn about hearing loss in a neutral environment, with no pressure to buy products or services.

Physicians sometimes refer their patients to me for diagnostic evaluations to determine if a hearing problem exists and, if so, what is the exact condition? Is it medically treatable? Is the patient a candidate for a hearing aid? We also conduct backup industrial testing for some local companies with noisy shop floor environments or heavy machinery. Our patients include young babies to a couple centenarians, both of whom still walk into my office under their own power for their hearing exams.

My son, Kevin, joined the practice a year ago. He is a licensed hearing aid dispenser. Kevin is a great addition to the team, and I’m proud of the good job he is doing!

The audiology field has changed during the past four decades. Boomers are leaving middle age behind. The attitude regarding hearing devices as signs of decrepitude and old age is vanishing and younger people are more concerned about their hearing than their parents and grandparents typically were. Young people and mid-lifers are more willing to confront hearing loss and to do something about it.

One reason why hearing devices are losing their negative associations is that the technology is moving forward in remarkable ways. Hearing instruments are becoming smaller, nearly to the point of vanishing. They are also much more effective at doing their job. The days are long past when we would adjust hearing aids with screwdrivers. Digital tools managed by a computer now give us flexible control over volume levels and other functions, permitting us to fine-tune a hearing device to an individual’s needs. New hearing aids use telemetry so we can look at battery charge levels and even track how often the hearing device was used without touching the unit.

Basic research into Hearing Science formerly centered on the structure of the physical ear, but scientists are now focusing on the brain, learning how sounds are interpreted. The emerging understanding has permitted refinement of hearing devices so they effectively separate speech from background noise. The inability of the old devices to make the separation caused users’ attempts to follow a conversation difficult and tiring. New insights into the pathology of sound are also providing relief for people with ringing in their ears, called tinnitus. No cure exists for the condition itself, unfortunately, but tiny devices are now available that generate a soft “white noise” that may alleviate the ringing sounds.

I began to turn to the science of Audiology while doing my undergraduate work. I became involved with hearing impaired children. I helped them become mainstreamed, assisted them in cleaning and servicing their hearing aids, and conducted lessons in Aural Rehabilita­tion and Speech Therapy. I also worked with their parents, instructing them on ways of carrying out in their homes the services we were providing for their children in the classroom. During that time I experienced on several occasions a phenomenon that I still find to be moving — the joy of watching someone’s face brighten when they put on their amplification device for the first time and step into the world of sound. Suddenly they hear the voices of people speaking, listen to music on the radio, and birds singing in the trees.

When I was a child, my grandmother wore hearing aids and still couldn’t hear much of what was going on around her or what was being said. It was a sad condition for Grandma. Vision is about things; hearing is about people because it has to do with communication. If you can’t hear well, you lose the connections with the world. Impaired hearing effectively isolates people. With a modern hearing aid, communication begins taking place in an effortless fashion, barriers suddenly fall away, and the user no longer feels closed in. Their quality of life is improved because they can communicate with members of their family, their friends, their doctors, and with other important people in their lives.

I help them avoid the diminished life my grandmother lived. I still love that first smile every time I see it.
Mary Jane Garnett, Au.D.
4045 Lone Tree Way, Suite D.
Antioch, CA 94531

Read 2583 times Last modified on Saturday, 31 October 2015 14:55
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