Issue 4 » All in the Family: Nola Aronson, Advanced Audiology Help the Peeples Hear Better
Two Peeples’ Experiences with Advanced Audiology’s Free Hearing Checkup and 45-Day Hearing Device Test-Drive
Nola Aronson, the award-winning Santa Clarita Valley audiologist, entrepreneur, teacher, philanthropist and author, recently invited this writer to her Advanced Audiology office in Valencia for a free, no-obligation hearing checkup.
It was part of my research for a showcase interview about her and her business, the largest hearing diagnostics center in the SCV, published in the previous issue of Wealth | Wisdom | Wellness. In this issue, I get to write about my experience – and my wife’s – from a first-person perspective.
– Stephen K. Peeples
As Nola Aronson escorted me from Advanced Audiology’s plush waiting room to the hearing test room, she off-handedly mentioned she was writing a book about hearing.
At least that’s what I thought I heard her say, but I wasn’t positive.
Aronson paused a beat, waiting for my response.
“What?” I asked, basically asking her to repeat herself.
“Exactly!” she said. “My book’s title is just that – ‘What?’”
We had a great laugh, and I’m certain it wasn’t the first time Nola had rolled out that gag for her rookie patients.
But our “Who’s on First?”-esque exchange quickly illustrated a couple significant points.
First, as we approach a certain age – as have many Baby Boomers including both Aronson and yours truly – we seem to use the word “what” more frequently in our daily conversations than when we were younger.
“It’s our generation that’s going to need to hear better because we’ve had a lot of noise exposure in our days,” she said.
Second, Aronson has a playful sense of humor and knows how to use it to put first-time audiology patients completely at ease.
After nearly four decades in audiology, and now with Advanced Audiology offices also in Mission Hills and Northridge, Nola has certainly fine-tuned the client experience so it’s as much fun for her patients as it is for her and her dedicated staff.
Inside the Inner Sanctum
Her light-hearted approach continued as she escorted me into the exam room, which, like the plush waiting room and hallways and other exam rooms, looks more like a warm, well-appointed family room, with lots of beautiful antique furniture and creative design touches.
Even the sound isolation booth in the exam room has a cushy armchair inside, where the patient gets comfy.
As she seated me for my free checkup, Aronson used a doctor’s flashlight to check my left ear, presumably for wax buildup, which can affect hearing for some.
“Looks pretty clean,” she said, deadpanning. “Didn’t see any light come out the other side, either, so I think we’re okay.”
We laughed again. Another vintage audiologist joke, no doubt.
“Yes, and there are actually some people who get concerned for a moment before they get it,” Aronson said.
She left me alone in the isolation booth, closed the door, sat just outside at her double-monitor computer workstation, and directed the checkup.
Highly customized software played a series of high and low tones through surrounding speakers in the booth, and when I heard one, I clicked a button on a cable connected to Aronson’s computer.
The software recorded all my reactions and provided a visual assessment on her monitors. My test took less than 10 minutes, and she spent another 10 showing me the results on the screen and explaining them in detail.
My checkup showed about a 20 percent hearing loss in the upper high-frequency range, Aronson said, not unusual for someone now in his mid-60s.
Then I told her about the five decades of playing drums in jazz, blues and rock bands and four decades of reviewing rock concerts, without ear protection the first 15 years. (Since my ears almost bled at The Ramones’ 350-db L.A. debut at The Roxy on the Sunset Strip in 1976, I’ve religiously worn earplugs at loud music shows or while playing drums.)
“You’re lucky it’s not worse,” Aronson said. “You don’t need hearing aids now, but we’ll check again in a year.”
Now that she has a baseline, she can gauge any change in hearing loss in the next checkup and suggest the best solution.
Our Family Affair
My wife Nadine, now in her early 60s, was paying close attention as I researched and wrote the previous spotlight feature about Nola Aronson and Advanced Audiology.
For the past few years, Nadine has suspected she’s suffered some loss of hearing. After she read (and approved) my final draft, she was motivated to find out for certain.
“My first clues were not hearing what people said to me unless they were facing me,” Nadine said. “If the people were talking behind me, I didn’t hear them well. Another clue was, at work, I found myself saying ‘What?’ and asking people to repeat themselves. I could just hear the irritation in my mostly younger co-workers’ voices when they had to do that.
“Even more embarrassing, I would sometimes hear a completely different word and not understand the conversation,” she said. “Not good, professionally or socially. So, I had to do something.”
Nadine scheduled a free audio checkup at Advanced Audiology and the Hearing Instrument Specialist, a bright young woman named Strawberry, conducted the same evaluation in the sound booth with Nadine that Nola had done with me.
The test confirmed what Nadine had suspected. Since her hearing loss was most pronounced in her left ear, she decided to try a hearing device in just that ear and gauge the difference.
Then Strawberry showed Nadine the options – three different hearing aid brands, all top-of-the-line technology, and available only at Advanced Audiology.
Nadine chose a Bluetooth-equipped device for a 45-day no-obligation test drive. It took her just a couple days to get used to the device, which slips into her ear canal and is virtually unseen, and to learn to use it with her smartphone.
Almost immediately, Nadine and I noticed she was saying “What?!” far less frequently in our conversations – and that’s not only helped make our family life a little more pleasant, but also improved things for her at work.
“Simply put, I can hear better,” she said. “I don’t have to be facing people anymore. I can hear people talking to me from across the room. When my phone rings, I just tap to answer the call, and I can hear the caller through my hearing device.
“When I’m not taking or making calls I can also get a channel of music on my phone and with the Bluetooth connection hear it just in my ear,” she said. “No one else around me at work hears it. It’s just a huge improvement.”
As Nadine evaluated the device, she also shopped around to see if any other local audiologists or box stores had the same thing, or an equivalent, at a better price.
She also wanted to see if others had anything like Advanced Audiology’s Exact Match Hearing Process, which guarantees Aronson and her team will personalize the hearing improvement experience just for the individual.
At the end of her search, Nadine found that Advanced Audiology’s hearing device was the best and latest available. Competitors didn’t even carry it. Their brands and models were generally less expensive but used older technology.
No one else had anything like the Exact Match Hearing Process, either, Nadine said. Not surprising, since it’s a trademarked system also available exclusively from Advanced Audiology. Nor could others compete with the personalized package of care Aronson and her staff provide.
“I was very pleased with all three devices Strawberry showed me, and the 45-day trial of the one I chose was awesome, so
I bought it,” Nadine said. “They gave me enough batteries to last a couple years, and I can get my aid cleaned at their office any day of the week between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. The quality of the product and the personalized care were definitely worth more to me than any difference in price.
“All things considered, Advanced Audiology really had no competition,” she said.
As Aronson told me in 2017 when she was celebrating her 30th anniversary in audiology, she’s not out to just sell people a hearing aid.
Nor are her three Doctors of Audiology – Ginny Veloz, David Hsu and Mary Porath – who also treat their clients like family.
The Peeples family’s experiences provide just two more examples of how Nola Aronson and Advanced Audiology help people enjoy better lives through better hearing.
Nola Aronson, M.A. FAAA
23822 Valencia Boulevard, Ste. 103
Valencia, CA 91355