A new hearing clinic in Chilliwack, Carter Hearing, opened its doors last April and owner, Laura Carter, takes a lot of pride in the fact that they are not owned by a big company.
“One things that’s a bit different with us is we are 100 per cent Canadian and privately owned,” says Carter, a registered hearing instrument practitioner. “When its your own clinic, you have that extra level of care.”
She received her education from the College of Speech and Hearing in Vancouver as a licensed registered hearing practitioner.
“People are sometimes a bit apprehensive,” she says about hearing tests. “One of the joys is being able to put people at ease.”
A large portion of her appointments is spent getting to know the client. She tries to pinpoint any health concerns and find the areas people are struggling with. A full assessment takes about 45-60 minutes, and it’s free.
“The first part is doing a thorough set of health and lifestyle questions,” she says.
Then she examines the ears with an otoscope, and finally the client will go inside a sound booth to do a full range of examinations where hearing in the outer, middle, and inner ear is tested.
“When I test someone’s hearing, I can tell if it’s a hearing loss in the middle ear or the inner ear,” says Carter. That will determine what type of hearing loss the person has and what type of aid they will need.
“Hearing aids are like mini computers,” she says. “They are so advanced that they can, within milliseconds, determine what is speech and what is background noise and correct it.”
There is a wide variety of hearing aids. There are ‘invisible’ hearing aids, waterproof ones, and very tiny hearing aids. You can answer your cell phone with your hearing aid, listen to music from a wireless device, and have the audio from your TV adjusted to your specific needs without inconveniencing anyone else in the room.
Carter has worn a lot of hearing aids just to see how they fit and feel, even though she doesn’t require one herself.
“A lot of people don’t lose their hearing overnight — it takes years or decades,” Carter adds.
If left untreated, someone with hearing loss can suffer from auditory deprivation, a condition that occurs where their brain loses the ability to interpret words due to a lack of stimulation over an extended period of time.
“In a quiet room they might hear everything perfectly,” she explains, so the person might not think they have a hearing problem. But, “if they’re in a crowed room, and it’s full of people, then they’re missing the conversation.”
That’s why the Q&A session at the beginning of the hearing test is so essential.
Carter Hearing is a small business with four employees in Chilliwack: Laura Carter, Julie Tosin (industrial automatic technician), Tammy Stebbings (operations manager), and Shane Kelly (customer care).
Carter Hearing also has a fully mobile and authorized clinic that they use to go to First Nations health centres, seniors’ events, and community events.
One of the things Carter treasures most is reactions from her clients.
She once had a client say to her, “I haven’t heard the wind in the trees for years.” They start to cry when they can hear their family again or their grandchildren.
That’s one of the greatest things Carter loves about her job, it’s “the joy of being able to improve someone’s quality of live through hearing. Being able to experience that with them, I get laugher over tears.”
Carter Hearing serves people 19 and older, and they’re located at 9248B Main St. (entrance is located around the back). Hours are Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
People can call to make their own appointments, or Carter Hearing also takes referrals from doctors and other clients.
For more, call 604-392-9211.