Hearing clinic: Perception vs reality (Part One)

Dear Reader, this blog is part one of a two part series featuring an in-depth look at one’s first impressions of what goes on in a hearing clinic. It sheds light on what others perceive hearing loss or treatment to be about based on a couple of questions. Due to the length, variety, and nature of responses I’ve covered, I have decided to write on this topic in two parts. This blog post looks at the first two questions that I have gathered responses from within the Hearing Excellence Team.

First Impressions of the Hearing Clinic (Part One)

When explaining the field of Audiology and what it is applied to, I’m often asked “So what’s it like when someone has to go to a hearing clinic? How is it different from other clinics? What services do they offer? Are there really that many people that walk in with a hearing problem?!” My standard reply is that there is actually a lot more to a hearing clinic than what others realize!

However, these questions also got me thinking; what do people think of when mentioning a hearing clinic? What do they know about it and what are they expecting?

As a clinician I was really curious to hear what others thought about the subject. So I asked various members of our Hearing Excellence Team what were their first impressions of the hearing clinic were previously. I chose a couple of probing questions and collected responses:

  1. What did you imagine a hearing clinic to be before you stepped inside one?
  2. Were you surprised about how prevalent hearing loss is and what populations needed treatment for hearing loss?

When I asked my first question, most members interviewed stated that hearing clinics were different from what they imagined. For example, one member of our team, Nioka, stated:

“I had no idea what a hearing clinic would actually look like… I thought it was something similar

to a dentist clinic or any other clinic. I was so surprised that so many people had hearing issues, I really had no idea…I saw young people walking in and that was the biggest surprise of all. I didn’t know that it was such a big issue! I just thought that hearing loss was a part of getting old and that it’s a part of life that you just have to live with. Now I’m thinking about getting my mom

  1. I had no idea there was a solution to her problems before!”

Another member of our Hearing Excellence team, Sharad, stated the following:

“ I thought hearing clinics were supposed to be very medical. I expected clinicians to wear lab coats with big and scary machines or gloves.”

I find that Nioka’s and Sharad’s  responses are very common for anyone entering the clinic for the first time. Often, they are surprised at how the hearing clinic seems to take care of so many different people for some many different ear related issues.

When I asked my second question as to whether they were surprised about how common hearing loss actually is, most responded that it was very unexpected. One of our members, Martha, had the following to say about the matter:

“Before, I had no idea about how many people were actually in need of hearing treatment. I was indifferent about the whole thing because I had never gone through anything like that myself. I really wasn’t aware about how common hearing issues were!”

Another member of our Hearing Excellence team, Michelle, stated the following:

“I was surprised about how much technology has changed, and how much is available for treatment today as opposed to twenty years ago.”

When clients first come through the door, many share what they have heard about hearing treatment from others they know who have had hearing issues. It’s a mixed bag of positive as well as not so positive past experiences from years or even decades ago. But one commonality I’ve observed when comparing what they have heard before with the information I give them is that they are pleasantly surprised. They are in awe of how far treatment has changed in recent years.

I hope you, the reader, have enjoyed part one of our first impressions series and look forward to our part two conclusion.

Mitra Mehra

Audiologist Reg. CASLPO. M.Cl.Sc. Aud (c)

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