An Unsolicited Patient Review

Recently I received a letter from a patient, handwritten on seven pages of legal paper. I’m humbled that anyone would take that much time to share their story. I share this story as it is meant to be shared because it is so wonderfully written. Please read the following unsolicited patient review from Dr. William Kane.

Taylor Hearing Center Review

Taylor.patient reviewA word of caution: the following review is so uniformly positive, so excessively flattering, so unapologeticaly complimentary, and so devoid of any negativity, that the reeader might well conclude that Greg Hall and I are actually twin brothers, separated at birth years ago n who have just tearfully reunited at D.I.A. only days ago. The reader would be wrong, however.

This is the true story. I am a 74 year old research physician with age related progressive hearing loss, who seven years ago, purchased a pair of $6000.00, top of the line hearing aids, Oticon brand, from a doctor of audiology; with an excellent reputation and 25 years experience. My hearing improved immediately and I was completely satisfied…for a while.

Seven years, 3 more doctors of audiology, seemingly endless visits, adjustments, tuning, and re-tunings later, I’m sitting in a chair while a pleasnt, but total stranger named Greg Hall is inserting an otoscopic earpiece into my right canal and murmuring, “Hmmmm.”

Three weeks earlier, tired of listening to the “tick-tock” sound of my antique clocks completely disappear, I had heard Greg spaeak at a “Free Lunch Lecture” at Elway’s Cherry Creek sponsored jointly by ReSound Hearing Aid Company and Taylor Hearing Center: AKA Greg Hall. Not surprisingly, the company rep spoke so glowingly about the “New and Improved” ReSound system, that anyone listening in the captive audience could only conclude that all other products on the market were the technology dinosaur equivalents to the 16th century ear trumpets famailiar to those who frequent the Turner Classic Movie Channel. Not surprisingly because, after all, it was ReSound who was paying for the wilted lettuce in the salad I was eating as I listened. However, I was determined to forge ahead once again and in three weeks climbed into the chair that I mentioned earlier.

What follows is the summary of my Taylor/Hall experience:

  1. I have seen Greg on three separate visits, each consultation and examination lasting approximately one hour, over the course of four weeks.
  2. I am now wearing my new hearing aids and could not be happier with the quality of hearing improvement. It is difficult to describe the pleasure of hearing the steady , comforting tick-tock of my formerly “silent” antique clocks once again, not to mention the relief of finally hearing my wife’s voice calling me from another room!
  3. I have spent , to date, approximately $8.25. This represents the total cost of 3 Doppio Espresso’s @ $2.75 a cup, that I bought at a nearby Starbucks, after each visit. The cost is only approximate because sometimes I thhrow some loose change in the jar, and other times, feeling righteously resentful, I deliberately leave nothing! Nothing is also what Greg has charged me and therefore, nothing is what I have paid!

Sessions #1 and #3 are always complimentary and free. #1 is the pre-hearing aid evaluation consisting of the physical exam, patient history, and various hearing tests. Session #3, the final one, is always about making final personalized adjustments and fine-tuning of the “new and improved” product.

It was the experience of Session #2, the “checkbook session” as I had come to label it, that would now cause me to derive to Taylor Hearing Center even if I lived in Bozeman, Montana! (Living in Seattle might give me pause for hesitation however.) As I was removing my “old” hearing aids so that Greg could begin to adjust the new ones, he looked at them and remarked, “Hey, these are top-of-the-line Oticon! Didn’t you say that your audiologist had just received them back from the manufacturer, where they had been sent for repair, but were still no better than beforehand? Well I have news for you. Manufacturers never repair technology this sophisticated. It’s too expensive! They usually send you a new set, simply because it is cheaper. Hand them to me and let me run a few tests on ’em.” I had not said a word, nor would I have known any of this valuable information, unless Greg had decided to volunteer it himself, without prompting.

After twenty minutes of computer tests and magnifying glass inspection, during which time my only contribution was to sit silently staring, and understand nothing of what he was doing, he announced, “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with these. I just think they need to be adjusted properly.”

I was so taken aback, that it took me a few moments to process what I had just heard…even without my hearing aids! Because of the technology and information gap between us (think doctor/patient consultation) he could have said, “Your previous audiologist was right, these are defective and need to be replaced.” I would have believed him completely. Or, he could have said, “Well, these are in excellent working order, but you must remember that the technology is eight years old. Think of an eight year old iPhone!” Again, I would have believed him, without question.

He said neither. His next words were, “Here, put these in your ears and come sit in this chair. Now stare at this screen while I put these probes in your ears.” The probes were attached to a device with a screen that permits both the audiologist and client to simulataneously view on the screen exactly what the hearing aids are hearing!

It is called Real Ear Measurement and it is the most scientifically advances, absolutely indispensible peiece of technology in the entire office. Ironically, in eight years, and countless visits to three former audiologists, I have never seen one, much less had one used in what seemed like endless evaluations! I was stunned!

As a research scientist myself, when I mentioned the incomprehensible incompetence, the lunancy, of this neglected, yet vital part of the evaluation to Greg, he replied, “Almost all offices have them, but they are used to hang coats or jackets from. In fact, Consumer Reports just did an expose of the very subject we are discussing and found that fewer than one in five audiologists ever use the most critically important piece of technology in their office! Actually they¬† were being kind…it’s more like one in ten! And why? Simply because it takes too much time! More time per patient always equates to fewr appointments per day. And the poor patients don’t even know what they don’t know! Sad, really.”

This is the end of my story and my acoustic adventure with Greg Hall/Taylor Hearing Center. I have no doubt that, as I continue to agem and continue to lose my hearing, I will inevitably be faced with the anxiety and confusion of scores of websites of scores of manufacturers each promising the “latest and greatest” space age technology promising to restore my hearing to the time in my life when I was slathering my face with Clearasil for teenage acne! It is a great relief to know that there is one decision I will not have to make…where I will go and whom I will see to help me separate the “hearing from the hype.” If I were asked to bumpersticker my entire experience with Greg innto a single word, it would be easy and a pleasure to do …INTEGRITY!

This has been in retrospect, such an unbalanced review, that I have wracked my brain to finsd something, anything negative to add before the review has ended I have, at long last found one, and it is this: Taylor Hearing is located in the lower level of a commercial building, and so requires walking down a flight of stairs for an office visit and then back up the same stairs when the examination is completed. Such an exhausting, thoughtless, inconvenience!

However, as luck would have it, Colorado is such an exercise and fitness mecca, that many waterb bottle toting, spandex wearing fanatics will paradoxically welcome those stairs as yet another opportunity to strengthen their “Quads and glutes.” So much for negatives!

William Kane, M.D.

 

Thank you you for sharing your story William. And if you don’t feel like taking the stairs, our building has an elevator just steps from our front door with stops at the sidewalk level and the rooftop parking garage on level 3. We’ll even validate your parking for you.

If you would like to learn more about Real Ear measurement, click here.