It's been a while since I've posted a HearSmart Audiology blog but that's because we've been so busy caring for our wonderful patients and doing our best to serve and help people with communication difficulties. Keep your ears in good shape and be on the lookout for some exciting announcements and reasons to celebrate HearSmart Audiology in the near future. Currently, we have welcomed Ms. Sarah Hill to our team as our Audiology Resident from Northeastern University for the following 12 months. Check out more about Ms. Hill here. We have said our farewells and sent best wishes to Dr. Patricia Lavelle, who many of you grew to know and love over the past year while she completed her residency with us at HearSmart Audiology. Dr. Lavelle has launched successfully into the profession of audiology and being the "city girl" that she is, she's now working in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts. Over the past 5 and a half years, the team at HearSmart Audiology has grown as has the number of people we have been blessed to help. People come to us for hearing health care from not just Littleton, but all over the state of Massachusetts including: Acton, Westford, Chelmsford, Boxborough, Maynard, Harvard, Groton, Stow, Ayer, Concord and even farther away. We have had patients travel from Cape Cod, fly back from Atlanta, Georgia, Michigan and we've even had people visit us for hearing aid help from Reno, Nevada and Albuquerque, New Mexico! If you know anyone local, or even from far away who could use our service, please send them our way! Remember, we have free parking, a comfortable and pleasant waiting room and on certain days, you might even be lucky enough to meet our office pal, Mr. Charlie!
One of the most important things to me as a practice owner is customer satisfaction and providing high quality service to our patients. There are many measures of patient satisfaction but an important one in the audiology world is called RFC (return for credit), which measures how many people have returned their hearing aids within the 45-60 day period following the fitting. According to the Hearing Industries Association, the national return rate was 19.4% in 2014. We are happy to report that HearSmart Audiology has a 2.5% RFC rate, which is way below the national average. Therefore, we can objectively say that we have 97.5% patient satisfaction in regards to our hearing aid fittings. When deciding which audiologist to work with for your hearing healthcare needs, it is important to know ahead of time about their return rate.
I can not let this day go by without saying something...and this is late in the day because by 3:15PM we were on our 16th patient at HearSmart Audiology...but today is March 2 and THREE years ago this day was the grand opening event for my private practice. It's been stressful and at times a roller coaster ride but I have absolutely NO REGRETS and it was the best decision ever. Also, in those 3 years we've registered 944 patients to date! I love you, HearSmart Audiology!
As I look back at 2015 and look forward to 2016 I am happy to report continued growth as HearSmart Audiology enters it's 3rd year in business. Starting the audiology private practice from the ground up was a dream come true for me and a risk that I will never regret taking. Speaking of dreams, I woke with a fulfilled feeling after facilitating a wonderful support group meeting last night for the Hear My Dreams parent support group that I founded nearly 9 years ago. Just as I was feeling grateful for the opportunity to meet so many great families through this means, a Google Alert came through on my phone letting me know that I had been nominated for the Lowell Sun's Woman of the Year! My first thought was: Wow! I was surprised and graciously honored. I'd like to thank each and every one of the families and past guest speakers that have helped make Hear My Dreams what it is today- a wonderful support system for parents of children with hearing loss. Every meeting I witness amazing moments that give me such joy. Here is a link so you can cast your vote: http://www.lowellsun.com/peopleoftheyear
A lot of growth occurred at HSA in 2015. I created a full time job and hired Ms. Amy Norman as HearSmart Audiology's administrative assistant. Ms. Norman has a Bachelor's degree in business administration and she is extremely organized and kind. The thing I like best about Amy is her compassion for each and every one of our patients. She's always looking out to help in whatever way she can and will assist in getting everything we need for your appointment so that we can provide the best possible service for your hearing and audiology needs. She has even made chocolate ears for patients to enjoy on our busy days. And she just registered our 900th patient!
Nobody likes to be pressured. I pride myself on running a successful practice where service comes first and nobody has to leave here feeling pressured in any way. When you come to HearSmart Audiology, you will be in a comfortable and relaxing environment where you are the most important person here!
HearSmart Audiology is a proud sponsor this year of the 2015 Littleton Country Gardeners' Holiday House Tour. Last year we made a small donation and I had an opportunity to tour the houses and loved each one so much. Some were old and some were new and they were all decorated in their own unique style. This will be the 2nd year the Littleton Country Gardeners are holding this event and I'm so happy it will continue as a new Littleton tradition. Supporting our community is important to me as a small business owner so this year I decided to make a larger donation this year to sponsor one of the houses. I'm really looking forward to the tour next Sunday and hopefully you can come to see the beautiful houses delightfully decorated for the season as well!
At HearSmart Audiology we not only specialize in hearing aids, but we also provide hearing protection services. Popular with hunters, recreational or professional shooters, and the police force, Westone’s DefendEar Digital line provides fast acting noise suppression on trigger pull with amplification of soft sounds necessary to hear the environment. There are 4 different levels of digital hearing protection available:
· DefendEar Digital 1: A custom product that amplifies situational awareness but provides fast acting noise attenuation when the trigger is pulled. A slow release time allows for protection during continuous shooting.
· DefendEar Digital 2: Best for competition or recreational shooting, this custom product has two modes available with the push of a button. Game mode provides protection for intermittent shooting yet provides amplification of environmental sounds and allows for easy communication. Clay mode provides protection for continuous shooting while still amplifying ambient sounds.
· DefendEar Hunter: Perfect for hearing protection with large caliber firearms in wooded areas or in big fields. With the push of a button, this custom product amplifies soft sounds like the crackling of branches or reduces wind noise typical in an open range or up in a tree stand while providing quick gunshot noise attenuation.
· DefendEar Shooter: With a low profile universal fit, these hearing protectors have three levels of amplification with gunshot noise attenuation. Communication is easy and there is no gun mount interference.
All custom products come in countless colors and combinations as well as camouflage. DefendEar Digital hearing protection comes with a clean and care kit equipped with a high- impact carrying case.
For more information about custom digital hearing protection, please contact us at (978) 952-2500
The most competent professional to evaluate your hearing is an audiologist. Audiologists have advanced degrees from many of the finest universities in the nation, studying all aspects of hearing and balance disorders. Stores offering “free hearing tests” are not trained to administer and interpret complete diagnostic testing, and important medical problems may be overlooked. If you feel your hearing is causing you difficulty, speak with your physician, and ask to be evaluated by an audiologist.
An audiologist is a person who, by virtue of academic degree, clinical training, and license to practice, is uniquely qualified to provide a comprehensive array of professional services related to the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss. Audiologists are specifically trained to identify medical conditions related to the ear and hearing and you will be referred to a qualified ear, nose and throat physician when necessary. Physicians and other allied health professionals rely on audiologists for the diagnosis of hearing loss and refer their patients to us for the most trusted treatment of their hearing and communication problems.
Yesterday was March 2! That means we have a milestone to celebrate because on March 2, 2013, HearSmart Audiology celebrated it's grand opening with a Ribbon Cutting open house. I will always remember that wonderful day clearly in my mind because it was like having a big party right here at my new business. We had a blessing from Rev. Dr. Vern Swett, I received an Official Citation from Senator Jamie Eldridge, and the practice was truly christened with love from so many friends and family members. That day was much warmer than today and we had no snow that I can recall. It was really a great time and makes me want to plan another "open house" event so we can fill each room with a whole bunch of great people all at once all over again!
I will never discount the quality service that you receive at HearSmart Audiology- that is what I pride myself on. However, I’ve decided that for the month of March, I’m going to offer a $1000 discount on the price of a pair of Oticon Alta Pro hearing aids to try and make it easier for people to access this premium hearing technology. It is the same hearing aid model that I’ve fit on my own family members. Top of the line hearing aids can be really pricy, but for the first time in over 17 years of treating patients with hearing loss, I have had multiple people return to tell me “I love my new hearing aids.” I’m hoping with this discount, more people will be able to benefit from this wonderful technology. I have not had time to create an official advertisement yet so please share this with as many people that you can. This would be for anyone who calls for an appointment (978-952-2500) during the month of March only. Please pass along the info, especially if you know someone who is struggling to hear and communicate- there is no better investment!
Keep in mind this sale is only applicable when no other discounts apply. US Vets always receive a 20% discount at HearSmart Audiology and Tufts Medicare Preferred members receive discounts of up to 50% on hearing aids.
People often ask me "How's business?" Most people know that I started a small business, my private practice HearSmart Audiology, from the ground up with no business background at all other than one doctoral level course called "Basic Business Skills." I essentially learned what I needed to do by studying the Small Business Association (SBA) website, interviewing many very smart people and relying on friends and family for all kinds of support. Having established the Limited Liability Company (LLC) in the spring of 2012, I had a soft opening that fall with a grand opening in early 2013. The market study I did prior to taking the plunge showed a positive forecast which proved to be quite reliable. Today I can compare my first year of business in 2013 to how we did in 2014 and I'm so pleased that HearSmart Audiology showed 126% growth from year 1 to year 2. Much has happened since day 1 of opening the doors. One year ago I welcomed my first graduate student and have been supervising various doctoral students from Northeastern University at HearSmart Audiology two days per week since then. In 2014, I hired my first part time employee, retired audiologist and former colleague from Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Ellen Zagajeski. And most importantly, we are so pleased to be treating over 600 wonderful patients right here in Littleton, Massachusetts. So to answer that question- business is beyond good- it is great! I love what I do already and although the responsibility of being a small business owner can be stressful at times, being in charge of important decisions that impact the quality of patient's audiology health care allows me to deliver the best possible service for all who come to HearSmart Audiology and I wouldn't have it any other way.