When Patty Van Hoof graduated as an audiologist in 2003, she was determined to use her knowledge and skills to improve the lives of hearing impaired individuals by making it easier to connect with the world around them.
Her first job was working for an independently owned clinic that was later taken over by a corporation. But that corporate experience frustrated her a great deal. She was being pressured to conform to a culture that clearly put profits over people. She said, “The focus became less on clients and more on money. I wanted to provide the care that I signed up for.”
Patty is compassionate and truly cares for her clients. Ending an appointment because time is up or selling a costly high-end hearing aid to someone who doesn’t need it, is not the way she wanted to do business.
In 2011 she opened up her first Algoma Hearing Centre in Blind River. A year later; a second office in Sault Ste. Marie. When homebound clients called to ask for help, Patty began doing home visits in Elliot Lake.
Can you imagine a medical professional who makes house calls? That’s a rarity. She eventually opened up a clinic in Elliot Lake and continues to do home visits from all three of her business sites.
Patty never let the COVID-19 pandemic get in her way either. During the first shutdown last year she offered curbside service by using her car as a mobile office.
Patty Van Hoof and her staff epitomize the company motto; Putting the ‘Care’ Back in Hearing Health Care.
For the past 14 years, Patty has been donating her time to educate people on hearing loss and hearing aids. She offers the hearing health classes free of charge through the Canadian Hearing Society’s Hearing Help Classes. If there’s one condition that she wants people to recognize, it’s the signs of Sudden Hearing Loss.
What is Sudden Hearing Loss, or Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss?
It’s an unexplained, rapid loss of hearing, usually in one ear that happens at once or over several days. It should be considered a medical emergency. Sometimes people ignore it because they suspect it may be allergies or a sinus infection.
Nine out of ten people with SSHL lose hearing in only one ear. SSHL is diagnosed by conducting a hearing test. As an example, a hearing loss of 30 decibels would make conversational speech sound more like a whisper. Many people notice the sudden hearing loss when they wake up in the morning; others notice it when they use the deafened ear on a phone. Often people with SSHL become dizzy or having ringing in their ears.
SSHL typically strikes adults in their 40’s and 50’s. The treatment is usually corticosteroids. But intervention must happen early.
Not too long ago, Patty identified the signs of SSHL in one of her clients. She insisted they go to the emergency department. Because of her intervention, that client’s hearing was partially restored when it could have been lost permanently. She’s urging people who suffer rapid hearing loss to contact an audiologist right away.
Patty offers a wide range of services from ear cleaning to hearing testing. She specializes in communication techniques; advising people on ways to articulate more effectively.
Personal care is paramount at Algoma Hearing Centre. Hearing aid trials are available at no cost. Consultation and counselling sessions are offered as often as needed. Clients come to audiologists like Patty Van Hoof and the staff at Algoma Hearing Centre because they’re trusted medical professionals.
With vaccines rolling out and the economy slowly recovering, communities are starting to come back to life.
As more people feel comfortable moving about, Patty Van Hoof is urging anyone who notices hearing loss to get tested.