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.
Before I knew for certain that I wanted to become an audiologist, I knew for sure that I wanted to go into a “helping” field. After going through some tough times during my early college years, I found it rewarding any time I could help another person. One summer I volunteered in the pediatric inpatient unit of Western Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. Every week I would visit with children who suffered from a variety of severe mental issues. Often, it was not easy but it was around that time that I started to make a connection that in serving others, I was somehow comforted and felt better about myself and the issues I was dealing with personally. I learned that being able to make a difference in another person's life is a gift.
About a month ago I was invited to attend a meeting at the Littleton MA Rotary Club where I noticed the motto “Service Above Self” and this really hit home. Over the last few weeks I made the decision to join the Littleton MA Rotary Club and today I was honored to be inducted and welcomed by the many members in attendance. I look forward to continuing to serve in this capacity, internationally and locally alongside my fellow Rotarians.
October is National Audiology Awareness Month and National Protect Your Hearing Month. At HearSmart Audiology, we care about protecting hearing. We also care about helping those with hearing loss to gain access to soft sounds in order to improve communication. You will see from some of the pictures below the making of "goody bag" give-aways which we made for the Littleton 300th Closing Event last weekend at Kimball Farm. The bags included information about protecting our hearing from loud noise, a pair of free ear plugs, pens, sticky pads and HearSmart Audiology M&Ms! If you missed this event, consider coming to the Littleton Wellness Fair on October 25, 2014 from 10AM - 2PM! There will be more goody-bags! Fall is a great time to get your hearing checked. You want to be ready for the busy holiday season which will arrive before we know it. Hearing loss can lead to social isolation. Life is short- don't miss out. We are HEAR to help!
HearSmart Audiology is proud to be a part of the Littleton Tercentennial Town Parade celebrations on Saturday September 6, 2014! After the parade we will be at Nashoba Valley Ski area near the performance and concert venue to hand out free goody bags to the first 200 folks who stop by and Free Hearing Protection for over 5,000 people. Stop by to get your free ear plugs before the fireworks start at 8:15PM! Word has it that there will be 5,000- 15,000 people attending, so make sure you visit us early! The concert will be amplified and fireworks can be dangerously loud. Protect your hearing, compliments of us!
I am getting excited to share in the celebration of Littleton being 300 years old! This weekend from 12PM - 3PM Littleton is having an Old Fashioned Town Picnic at the Middle School Grounds on Russell Street. You pack your own picnic but there will be fun games and a pie eating contest. You can get all the information at the Littleton 300th Website.
Then next week, I am holding a Tercentennial Special Event at HearSmart Audiology with a special offer from July 14-18. If you know anyone who is having trouble hearing at the dinner table or no longer seems to be social because they're just not hearing as well as they used to, this would be a great time to call and try to get in. The appointments are going fast, though!
HearSmart Audiology is pleased to introduce it's first employee, audiologist Ellen Zagajeski, MS, CCC-A. Ms. Zagajeski brings over 30 years of experience as an audiologist to our practice and will be working per diem mostly during Walk-in Wednesdays now that the practice has over 400 patients to care for! Ms. Zagajeski received a Master of Science in Audiology from West Virginia University in 1983 and subsequently worked in the Waltham Public Education system then later Metrowest ENT in Framingham and she most recently retired from Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston where she spent the last 16 and 1/2 years of her career. We are so pleased to have her expertise at HearSmart Audiology so that we can continue to provide excellent care for our many beloved patients.
Please join me in welcoming her as our first employee!
HearSmart Audiology will be tending to Row 1 at the Garden at Church Meadows (GACM) on Great Road in Littleton this summer. The garden, located right next to The Learning Experience daycare center consists of a 50x100 foot plot of land that I helped establish in 2008 with a small group of others from the Congregational Church of Littleton. Since 2008, we have donated 100% of vegetables, herbs and even flowers (around 2000 lbs+ of fresh produce each year) to Loaves and Fishes, a local food bank. I've enjoyed volunteering my time doing something I love in order to help the many local families who stand in long lines at the food bank to get mostly non-perishable items and canned foods. Last year I had to take a break for the first time and was not able to help out as I focused on the start-up of HearSmart Audiology. But this year I'll be there most Saturday mornings to weed and maintain Row 1, which is mostly cucumber plants. I'd like to invite you to consider helping out for an hour this summer. Bring your own garden gloves and a hoe and don't forget to shut the fence gate when you leave. Any amount of time is appreciated and please stop in at HearSmart Audiology this week to pick up a pot of "volunteer" tomatoes which re-seeded on their own at my home garden this year. I find the volunteer plants to be more hearty and less resistant to disease, however I have no idea what variety you'll be getting!
Back in 1714, the profession of Audiology didn't exist. Neither did the Town of Littleton as we now know it. Three hundred years ago Littleton was established and today it remains a beautiful town 20 miles northwest of Boston. We are at the crossroads of Route 2 and Interstate 495, which makes our small town easily accessible to all.
Two years ago on May 22, 2012, I established the Limited Liability Company, HearSmart Audiology and just over a year ago in March 2013 we celebrated our grand opening. In just one year, we have served over 400 patients, many from Littleton but also those traveling from our neighboring towns and as far away as Cape Cod and even Atlanta, Georgia!
The HearSmart Audiology flag went up yesterday to honor and celebrate Littleton's 300th Birthday! Let me know when you find it!
Last Monday marks the beginning of monthly free hearing screenings at the Town of Westford which take place every 2nd Monday morning at the Cameron Senior Center. I was honored that the Town of Westford asked me to provide the screenings for their seniors on a monthly basis and it was a pleasure to see their wonderful, newly renovated space and to be a part of it!
Last Tuesday I provided semi-annual free hearing screenings at the Littleton Council on Aging and today I am off to the Town of Acton's Senior Center to do a presentation on the latest in hearing aid technology! I will be talking about things like Oticon's Connectline which uses Bluetooth technology and Resound's LiNX hearing aid which uses 2.4 GHz technology. Both have joined with Apple to provide iPhone connectivity. You can read more about that technology here:
CNN Article 2014
NY Times Article 2014
It is important to me that my patients feel comfortable and welcome when they visit HearSmart Audiology. I fell in love with this oil painting of a Zinnia called "Orange Zest" by Westford artist, Arlene Hammel when I first laid eyes on it two weeks ago at the Westford Regional Art Event held annually at the Parish Center for the Arts in Westford, Massachusetts. Now I'm happy to share it's brightness and beauty with everyone who enters the office!