Dave Ward has been working in the hearing aid industry since 2005. He started as the regional manager of Miracle-Ear hearing centers in Eastern Washington and Eastern Oregon, but when the opportunity presented itself to purchase his own hearing center, he jumped at the chance. Dave has been involved in the healthcare industry most of his life; even prior to working with Miracle-Ear, his desire to help people initially landed him in the field of physical therapy.
“I just love helping people,” he says “It’s rewarding to be able to go home and know that you’ve made a difference in somebody’s life.”
At Dave’s hearing centers, in St. George, and Cedar City, he has all of the necessary equipment to perform hearing tests on patients, including video otoscopes, live speech mapping, audiometers and sound booths. When patients come in for their initial hearing test, he will first try to learn as much as he can about the patient and their hearing loss, i.e. where they are having trouble hearing and how they feel about what they are experiencing. It is also highly recommended that the patient brings a companion with them to the test, either their spouse or a close family member; typically, the companion should be the person who is the patient’s main communication partner on a daily basis. This is mostly for verification purposes, so Ward can learn from both sides what the level and extremity of the patient’s hearing loss consists of.
“A lot of times it’s the spouses that are bringing the patient in because they’re in denial and think the other person mumbles,” Dave says. That’s why it’s important to have both people present for the test, so they can see for themselves. Often, if people do not acknowledge and take care of their hearing loss, larger health problems can occur.
The testing process is fairly simple. First, Dave looks inside the patient’s ear with the video otoscope to make sure the ear canal is clean and healthy. The video otoscope is unique because the patient can see what’s going on inside their ear, as it is projected on the big screen TV. “Most people have never seen inside their ear canal,” he says.
Next, the patient will go into the sound booth for a series of tests which consist of tones and beeps. Dave also performs word and speech recognition to test the patient’s understanding. After the testing process is complete, he will go over the results with the patient, show them what their hearing loss consists of and discuss what the best possible option is for them. Usually it’s determined that the patient needs to be fitted for hearing aids, so they can begin to hear again and improve their quality of life.