by Kate Shunney
People with hearing difficulties have a new local resource to diagnose issues and restore hearing functions with the help of hearing aids or other tools.
HearingLife opened officially in Berkmore Place in Berkeley Springs last week under the direction of certified audiologist Tara Crane.
Crane, who has 25 years of audiology experience, runs her own business in Romney and works in hearing services with professionals in the tri-state area. Opening the Berkeley Springs location of HearingLife is a part of Crane’s professional vision.
“Basically, that mission is to make services available to places that don’t get a lot of attention,” she said.
Working with what she calls a “low pressure” approach, Crane said she has a simple guideline. “I treat them how I want to be treated.”
Area residents who want options to treat hearing-related issues will start by calling to make an appointment with Patient Care Coordinator Morgan Buzzerd-Wills.
Initial appointments last roughly an hour, Crane said. During that time, she will take a detailed case history, focusing on the person’s main complaint or concern. Crane will do a physical exam of the ears, perform a hearing test, review the results and make recommendations.
In some cases, a new patient could leave the appointment with hearing aids in place, if Crane has the appropriate kind in stock. If not, hearings aids will be ordered and fitted, then adjusted over a few visits.
Crane said she does make referrals to Ear, Nose & Throat specialists if that seems warranted, or to pediatric audiologists for young children.
Before or during an initial visit, Buzzerd can determine what audiology services, hearings aids and appointments will be covered by a patient’s insurance. Crane said HearingLife deals with a wide variety of insurance providers, and “a lot of them cover hearing aids.”
Payment plans are also an option, if insurance doesn’t cover the entire cost of assessment or hearing aids.
Crane said there are some barriers to people getting treatment for hearing issues. Cost can be one.
“There’s also this negative concept that hearing aids make you old,” she said.
In many cases, however, the hearing aids are so small that no one can even see them in place.
Crane tells patients that helping hearing troubles is no different than getting glasses to help with vision problems.
“Why do you want to go to the doctor’s office and no be able to hear what they’re saying?” she said.
“Don’t be afraid to take that next step. You may be happy you did,” said Crane.
HearingLife is locate at 261 Berkmore Place, Suite 2B in Berkeley Springs. They can be reached at 304-433-8430 or found online at www.hearinglife.com.
The Berkeley Springs office is open Monday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on Fridays. Only scheduled appointments can be honored. No walk-in appointments are available.