Audiologist Courtney Collins shows a few samples of the latest in hearing aid technology and styles that are available at Wyandot Memorial Hospital. Collins joined the staff at WMH this spring and installed the sound-proof booth in the background within the audiology office adjacent to the therapy gym.
Audiologist Courtney Collins has joined the staff of Wyandot Memorial Hospital to evaluate, diagnose, treat and manage hearing loss and balance disorders in newborns, children and adults.
She offers comprehensive hearing evaluations and testing specific to the middle ear, cochlea and the auditory nerve and pathway.
The addition of Collins marks the first time that audiology – the branch of science and medicine concerned with the sense of hearing – has been available at the hospital.
“Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the country,” Collins noted, “and it can negatively impact your quality of life. The good news is that almost all types of hearing loss are treatable by an audiologist.”
Collins pointed out that problems with hearing are not limited to the senior population: more than half of the people with hearing loss are younger than age 65.
“Of the 36 million Americans with hearing loss, 1 in 3 developed it as a result of exposure to noise,” the audiologist reported.
Other causes of hearing loss include ear infections, trauma or ear disease; illness or certain medications or damage to the inner ear and ear drum from contact with a foreign object.
Collins explained that hearing aids are currently the primary treatment for permanent hearing loss. She works with the latest in digital hearing aid technology from manufacturers such as GN ReSound, Phonak, Starkey, Oticon and Unitron.
“If you are diagnosed with hearing loss and would like to pursue amplification, I can work with you to ‘demo’ hearing aids right in the office,” she stated. “We will evaluate your hearing and lifestyle needs to determine which style and technology is appropriate for you.”
Collins emphasized these are not the hearing aids of yore.
“Hearing aid technology has advanced immensely,” she stressed. “The devices work to reduce background noise, and you are now able to connect with your smart phone or other streaming devices via Bluetooth.”
Collins said a couple of hearing aid manufacturers even have a rechargeable option to eliminate the worry of changing batteries. The hearing aids plug into a small charging station and provide a whole day’s worth of hearing.
“If your hearing aid does require batteries, we will be selling the Rayovac brand,” she added. “Even if you didn’t buy your hearing aids here, you can still purchase the batteries from me for convenience.”
Additionally, Collins performs ear wax removal and creates custom-made earmolds, hearing protection, musician’s plugs and swim plugs. She tests babies who require follow-up after their Universal Newborn Hearing Screening; and works closely with Jordan Coakley, WMH’s speech therapist, and Otolaryngologist Edgar Frank, who is an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor at the hospital’s Specialty Healthcare Center.
Collins earned a doctor of audiology (AuD) degree from the Northeast Ohio Au.D. Consortium through Kent State University. Her Bachelor of Science degree in speech pathology and audiology was also received from Kent State. She completed a yearlong externship at the South Bend Clinic in South Bend, Indiana, and gained hands-on experience from her clinical rotations at an ENT office, Cleveland VA Medical Center and Cleveland Clinic Family Health Center.
Establishing her audiology practice at WMH fulfills a personal goal for Collins, an Upper Sandusky High School graduate engaged to marry another USHS alum – Alex Thiel – this fall.
“I’ve always wanted to return to Wyandot County and start a career,” she shared. “My hometown community has meant so much to me and is a big part of why I’ve been able to reach my earlier goals. I want to be able to give back.”
For more information about Audiology Services at WMH, contact Collins at 419-294-4991, extension 2297.