Hearing Instrument Specialist Madison Barr of Connect Hearing has always had a good ear and she puts it to use every day in her job, and in her private life.
She has been working at Connect Hearing Carleton Place (147 Bridge Street, Carleton Place, ON – 613-253-8800) as a Hearing Instrument Specialist ever since graduating from Conestoga College in 2013. When she isn't using her ears to help people in her role at Connect Hearing, she is busy singing and playing the guitar. Barr says she couldn't imagine a world without hearing music, and stressed how important it is for people to take their hearing health seriously.
“I've been playing the guitar and singing for about ten years,” says Barr, who was born and raised in the community and has a younger and older brother. “I can't imagine what a hearing loss would do to my ability to enjoy music. So if I had a hearing loss I would address it quickly, because it's important to do what you like. My advice for people who are dealing with hearing loss is to get out and get the answers to their health issues quickly.”
Very good advice from someone who is on the front lines in the battle against hearing loss.
According to Public Health Agency Canada (via Seniorspolicylens.ca), hearing loss is the most common sensory impairment in adults over the age of 65, affecting more than 30% of Canadians in this age group. One in ten Canadians has a hearing loss. More than 50% of Canadians over the age of 65 have an inner-ear hearing loss, which is usually irreversible. Statistics like these are why Connect Hearing encourages people to visit us for free hearing tests.
We sat down and spoke to Barr about the important work she does at Connect Hearing and to learn more about her hometown.
Connect Hearing: What most interests you about your job?
Madison Barr: The most interesting part of my job is getting to meet new people every day. Every person that comes into the clinic has a unique story and reason for why they are coming to see us. Being a part of the helping process and finding a solution for each individual is so rewarding.
CH: Since you’ve been with Connect Hearing, what has been the most rewarding or inspiring interaction you have had with a client?
MB: There have been so many inspiring and rewarding moments in my career so far. My favourite moments are when I fit a client with hearing aids for the very first time and they instantly smile. If a client leaves my office happy and smiling, then I am very happy to know I was a part of that.
CH: Can you share a story where you and your clinic really made a difference?
MB: I feel that there's not really one story. Everyone has their own way of thanking me. Mostly first-time users, just being introduced to hearing aids, are amazed how much their new hearing aids have been able to help them hear better. They didn't know what a difference it would make.
CH: How has working with Connect Hearing changed your understanding of hearing health and the importance of maintaining hearing health?
MB: Most people put off addressing their hearing needs until they absolutely have to. Unlike vision loss, hearing loss is one of those things that doesn’t just affect the individual, but affects family members and friends as well. It is important to address your hearing as soon as you notice things starting to change.
CH: Are you seeing more people interested in learning more about hearing health?
MB: Yes. I've found since this is such a small community, I notice a lot of people coming in to visit just for that reason. A lot of it is word of mouth, which is good.
CH: What recent innovation in hearing health most excited you and why?
MB: What most excites me about hearing health is how hearing-aid technology is always changing and getting better. Most hearing aids nowadays have capabilities to connect to a variety of different devices (examples: cellphones, computers, televisions, etc.), which makes listening and communicating using hearing aids much more interesting.
CH: Connect Hearing has been named one of Canada’s greatest places to work. What makes it stand out, in your opinion?
MB: Connect Hearing has so many great programs and partnerships in place which makes our clients feel confident with their hearing-aid choices. Connect Hearing is one of the largest networks of hearing professionals in the world, which makes it convenient to get excellent service anywhere across Canada at any of our 100-plus locations.
CH: What sort of hearing issues are you seeing in Carleton Place?
MB: In our community, I see a lot of work-related and noise-induced injuries. Again, this goes back to protecting your ears when you're younger to prevent future problems. It's about coming in right away when you think there is a problem.
CH: Being the hearing expert in your family, what do you do to educate your loved ones about hearing safety?
MB: Well, my father works in construction - that's one area where people struggle with their hearing. So again, I encourage everyone - including my father - to address these issues now and invest in hearing protection.
CH: What product do you most recommend to Connect Hearing clients and why?
MB: There is no one specific product I would recommend to every client, but I do recommend our trial program. The trial program is a great way for anybody who hasn’t worn hearing aids before to experience them before purchasing.
CH: For people who haven’t been to your community, what can you tell them about it? And what are your favourite things to do and/or favourite places to go in your community?
MB: Carleton Place is a very small town of approximately 8,000 people. There are always volunteering opportunities, community events and festivals going on during every season. It is impossible to go to these events without running into people you know.
If you would like to book an appointment with Madison at our Carleton Place clinic click here.