Amy DeMar sat down with NNY Business in March of 2017, as she had just opened the doors to her new healthcare office Hearing Solutions of NNY. Since then, she has been able to open two more locations, won multiple awards for her dedication to her patients and learned what new technology advancements will best suit the needs for those with hearing loss in the north country.
NNYB: For those that do not know what Hearing Solutions of Northern New York is, what medical services do you provide at your business?
DEMAR: Well, we provide free hearing screenings. We fit people for hearing aids, we repair hearing aids and we do ear molds. How did you get your start as a hearing health professional? I’ve always had a medical background; I worked in a pharmacy, my dad owned a pharmacy for many years, and I worked with him as a pharmacy assistant. Then I went into pharmaceutical sales. I worked for a company called GlaxoSmithKline for many years, and then I just needed a break and this seemed like something I would enjoy, it’s more hands on. Before I was on the road a lot traveling to different offices and now, I really feel that I help people and I make a difference, and it’s a good feeling to go home at night feel that way.
NNYB: What is your primary goal to your customers?
DEMAR: My primary goal is to provide the best hearing solutions possible for them, and to also make sure that that specific hearing solution fits their lifestyle and their budget. That’s an important thing to me.
NNYB: Many times, when people think of hearing loss, they automatically think of the older population. But who are your patients and your customers?
DEMAR: I have some patients that are very, very young, in their 20s. And sometimes people are born with hearing impairments, so it’s not always just the older generation. Anybody that’s 50 years or older should at least get a baseline because hearing loss is just so slow, so gradual of a process, that we don’t really notice that we have hearing loss; it’s usually the people around us notice first, because we’re saying “Huh?” and “What?” and “Turn the TV up.” So, it’s always the people around us that see that first. We have a variety of ages; I have some patients that are 100 years old. So, it’s a wide variety.
NNYB: Why is it so important to maintain your hearing health? Does it affect other aspects of a person’s life?
DEMAR: It can. We have two senses, really, that stimulate brain activity, our eyes and our ears. It’s very important that we see well, and we hear well, to keep our brain active.
NNYB: You have won many awards in your field. What are those awards and how do they drive you and your business?
DEMAR: Well, we’re very patient–oriented. I had won an award for one of the top hearing health care professionals in the United States. And the reason being is because we really take our time with each patient, they’re not in and out or rushed, we really take our time. We make sure that they understand how the hearing aids work, we make sure that they know how to put them in, how to clean them, and everything that’s associated with hearing. It’s an ongoing relationship. It’s not just here’s your hearing aids. We like to see our patients every three to four months. They come in and we make sure everything’s working well for them. There’s a lot of communications with hearing aids. There also some adjustments that may need to be made, you know, at some point, so we do adjustments. But our main goal is to make sure that everybody’s happy.
NNYB: You started with your original office in Watertown, and since then, have expanded. Where can patients find you and your new locations?
DEMAR: We have a location in Camillus and we are also up north and Gouveneur in Brighton the hospital, and in Canton on Remington Avenue.
NNYB: Was it hard for you to expand your business or was this a service that was greatly needed in the north country?
DEMAR: It’s definitely greatly needed.
NNYB: Technology must play an integral role in your services. How do you utilize technology to be able to better serve your patients?
DEMAR: A lot of the new hearing aids, the technology levels are totally amazing. They’re not like hearing aids from 10 to 15 years ago. Hearing aids now have the capability of being rechargeable. They also have the capability of streaming; you can stream music and programs and TV shows and everything through your hearing aids. There are apps that we can put on the phone so we have noise filters and we have speech clarity. So, they’ve really come a long way. It makes it easier now for a patient to self-adjust hearing aids to their environment. Most of times hearing aids do work and they self-adjust according to environment, but even just to get that little extra tweak, it’s really, really amazing.
NNYB: Hearing aids are no longer bulky and a noticeable apparatus as they traditionally have been in the past. How has the device changed over the years, in terms of size, in terms of comfort?
DEMAR: The hearing aids, they’re designed to be a lot more discreet. Most of them now will fit either right on top of the ear with a very small, clear receiver going into the ear. And, if it’s fit properly, you really don’t notice it. Then there are also have hearing aids that are very small that go right into the ear canal that are very hard to detect as well. So, depending on the type of hearing loss you have, that’s how we pick out the hearing aids according to hearing loss.
NNYB: You have a new audiologist coming to join your team. What is his background and how will he serve your patients?
DEMAR: He has a very long background, he’s lived in a lot of different places in the United States, and he he’s been in the practice for 25 years. So, I’m very excited to have him on board, hopefully starting in September, full–time. I enjoy working with this man and I’m very excited.
NNYB: Walk me through if a patient wants to come visit you through their initial visit.
DEMAR: The first the first visit, we usually set an hour aside and we talk about their issues, we talk about what things that they’re having a hard time hearing. We go through all the diagnostic testing that needs to be done and then we’ll sit down and we’ll discuss their hearing scores so that they know exactly where their loss is, and how we can help improve that.