HUNTLEY – Joli Robinson is confident her new store will impress any customer looking for aural assistance.
But she has to get them to come in first.
Robinson, the owner of Choice Hearing Solutions, which opened earlier this month, is fighting a stigma.
“Often times, patients will go to a hearing aid practice and be under-served,” she said. “They’ll have poor customer service, products, or they are dealing with people who don’t know the products.
“That’s probably the biggest obstacle.”
Choice Hearing Solutions, 10219 Vine St., Huntley, offers a list of services that includes hearing evaluations, hearing rehabilitation and custom ear protection for hunters, musicians, pilots and others.
The store carries a variety of hearing aid products from several manufacturers.
The store also does community outreach, speaking and providing screenings through agencies such as senior centers and park districts.
Robinson, who got her degree in communication disorders from Northern Illinois University, spent 11 years working for others in the industry before opening Choice Hearing. Huntley seemed under-served to the Rockford resident.
“I know a lot of different residents and other professionals who’ve been telling me that this would be a good area to bring a hearing practice,” she said.
The stigma against hearing aid solutions can cause some to seek other options – like purchasing hearing products on the internet, an option Robinson said is unsafe.
“There are possibilities that someone is not hearing because of an ear infection,” she said. “They could have a tumor. They could have impacted ear wax. And if they don’t come into the clinic, no one is checking that for them.”
Owning her own store allows Robinson the chance to offer products or services her past places of work didn’t carry. She’s put an emphasis on aural rehabilitation in particular.
Robinson sets up classes and exercises on her website that can retrain the brain to hear more normally again, she said.
“Whether it’s for a very mild hearing loss or a more severe hearing loss, anytime they’re helping their hearing with hearing aids those rehab programs are very useful and beneficial to them,” she said.
To keep up with the always evolving world of hearing assistance, Robinson puts an emphasis on continuing education. She recently attended the Wisconsin Alliance of Hearing Professionals annual convention.
The convention showcased, among other things, a new aspect of aural technology – the ability to drown out the ringing in a patient’s ear.
She already offers the product in her store.
“The trick is keeping up to date with all of the new technology changes,” she said.
“And testing them to see which ones really work best with my patients.”