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Sound Solutions

by Leigh Stuart; Photography by Jody Robinson

Sally Richards, who has severe hearing loss in both ears, moved to the Greater Philadelphia Area in 1999. She thought she saw a great doctor in New York City until she met Dr. Kathy Landau Goodman, Au.D., of Main Line Audiology Consultants, who she considers a world expert in her field. A friend who is a cardiologist referred her to Dr. Goodman in Philadelphia.

It’s been 18 years since their initial consultation and, as one might expect, Richards couldn’t be happier with the care she has received. Dr. Goodman has far exceeded her expectations.

Richards recalls the time when she first sought treatment for her hearing loss. “I was working with clients from very high levels corporations,” she says. “I needed a lot of partnerships, and I needed my hearing loss to not get in the way of conducting business. I worked in a lot of different physical environments with people of different nationalities, some of whom had accents. Every day was something else, so maximizing my ability to hear was a challenge for my audiologist. A lot of audiologists are very good, but I don’t think too many [audiologists] work on the artful side of hearing the way Kathy did.”

Richards, a high-level executive, needs the best possible hearing because, as a businesswoman, communication is an integral part of her day-to-day.

“I know a lot of audiologists are good at the scientific piece of things but I think what really sets [Dr. Goodman] apart is her ability to translate to the other audiologists in her practice, so even if I go to another one, I feel that I am really cared for and there is a high level of artfulness,” Richards continues. “I’ll be really disappointed if she retires before I do!”

This artfulness comes in large part from her deep-rooted dedication for helping those with hearing loss. Dr. Goodman’s father was born with profound sensorineural hearing loss; this inspired her from a young age to want to help those with hearing loss and protect the hearing of those still unaffected by hearing loss.

“My father was my inspiration,” Dr. Goodman says. “He had a ‘can-do’ attitude that was remarkable. He was a great role model for others. He could understand about 99 percent of what our family said, and about 90 percent of what strangers said by reading lips and reading facial expressions, speech reading and body lan- guage. I feel I have a special understanding and empathy for those with hearing loss and their families. I learned communication strategies firsthand.”

Dr. Goodman’s passion for her work translates into her institutional involvement. She has spearheaded the efforts of the Audiology Awareness Campaign (AudiologyAwareness.com) since 1994, leading campaigns such as those designed to pro- mote hearing wellness awareness and hearing protection.

Hearing protection, Dr. Goodman notes, is vital in many careers; yet, can be over- looked. Musicians, for example, who are consistently exposed to loud sound can benefit from custom hearing protection devices, which Main Line Audiology can fashion. In fact, Dr. Goodman did her doctoral research with the Philadelphia Orchestra, custom-fitting 50 musicians with musicians’ earplugs and looking at their perception of music while wearing the protection.

Truly a pioneer in the audiology field, Dr. Goodman also co-founded the Pennsylvania Academy of Audiology. She also served two terms on the Academy of Doctors of Audiology board of directors.

This pioneering spirit extends to the technology offered by Main Line Audiology which, Dr. Goodman explains, covers a spectrum of the best devices on the market. Dr. Goodman and her team of doctors of audiology are the area experts in the programming of such devices.

One such device is the Lyric, completely invisible hearing device which is made of a soft comfortable material. More remark- able is this technology’s ability to provide clear sound quality and maintenance-free, 24-hour hearing to patients. Many professionals—physicians, surgeons, professors, business professionals—find this technology “very freeing,” Dr. Goodman says, noting the concept is similar to having extended-wear contact lenses.

“I’m passionate about what we do,” Dr. Goodman states. “We spend the time needed for every patient to evaluate an individual’s needs and customize a hearing solution.” Recent research has shown that even mild hearing loss can lead to increased listening effort which leads to cognitive decline.

To exemplify, new patients are scheduled for 60- to 90-minute appointments for their initial consultation, so that Dr. Goodman and her team can have the time to truly get to know each patient, their lifestyle, and their needs, so they may address each individual’s hearing concerns in the most thorough and accurate manner possible. She states, “The side effect of being treated for hearing loss is hearing.”

“You’re not just shopping for a piece of plastic at a store,” Dr. Goodman says. “I think so many people don’t understand that. Obtaining better hearing is a process. That’s what we’re about, because we care. This is our education, our training, our expertise. We like to think of ourselves as a concierge service. Our Doctors of Audiology follow audiology best practices. We are six doctors of audiology and we are going to celebrate our 33rd anniversary on June 1. We were the first in the Philadelphia suburbs to start a practice.”

Patients such as Sally Richards appreciate this deeply.

“I just couldn’t dream of going anybody else because I’ve had such an extraordinary experience, all these years,” Richards says, noting she has now referred countless friends and family members to Main Line Audiology. “I’m at an age when my contemporaries are starting to have elder years issues and every one of them has raved about [Dr. Goodman]—my husband, my brother, many colleagues at work, everyone.”

For more information on Main Line Audiology Consultants’ office locations in Narberth, Jenkintown, Center City, Ridley Park and Audubon, visit www.mainlineaudiology.com or call (610) 667-EARS (3277).

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life Magazine, February, 2017.
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