Our Hearing Professionals
HAD, ACA, BC-HIS
It all started with Grandma. Born deaf in one ear, my grandmother worked diligently with the hearing-impaired and deaf communities. She and her girlfriends raised millions for the John Tracy Clinic in Los Angeles, and she served on its board for 40 years. This famous clinic (http://www.jtc.org/), a world-renowned provider of audiology diagnostics, education and resources for families who have children with hearing loss, gives those children the wonderful services Grandma could have used in her childhood. Thanks to Grandma, I was inspired early on to help the hearing-impaired and deaf. My first best friend, “Bruce,” was born deaf, and at that age we would play as regular kids, not yet needing verbal or sign language to communicate. After learning American Sign Language, I led wilderness trips for the hearing-impaired through Inner City Outings (ICO), taking groups rafting, backpacking and snow-camping, to enable them to enjoy nature and practice their ASL communication with one another in challenging situations. As my commitment to helping the hard-of-hearing grew, I sought pathways in audiology. While completing a B.S. in Communication at Evergreen State College, I focused on hearing aid dispensation, as I marveled at those advanced miniature computers with the microchip capacity to help their wearers with one of the most important human senses. Both of my parents were computer programmers, and I had learned computer programming at the Lawrence Hall of Science beginning at age 8. So I knew I had found my calling: to help the hearing-impaired by working with this amazing hearing-aid technology, verifying its efficiency, and providing counseling for its proper use. Even 20 years after obtaining my Arizona and California hearing aid dispenser licenses. I still love my life’s work, and I am pleased with the progress audiology, hearing science and hearing aid technology has made. And I am committed to keeping abreast of the latest developments in hearing-aid technology so I can provide the best possible hearing-aid dispensation service now and in the future. Grandma’s legacy has filled my life with great purpose—and I am so proud she remains a part of me and I can give as she did to help the hearing impaired.
I was exposed to hearing loss very early, an experience which set me on the path to joining the caring professionals at the Center for Better Hearing. In third grade, I noticed my best friend always hid in the back of the classroom, afraid to be called upon because of her hearing impairment. It was a small school, and all of us kids were excited when she was fit with a pair of hearing aids. The change was nothing short of miraculous. It was a joy to see her blossom; participating in class and playing at recess. She went on to become an advocate for the hearing-impaired, helping families in underserved communities with hearing loss. Hearing aids had literally changed her life. This inspired me to work for an audio-video company while attending college, and later to become a Licensed Hearing Aid Specialist. Ever since, my patients’ reaction to becoming reconnected to sound has always moved me. My favorite part of the job is turning on a patient’s hearing aids and watching as they can clearly understand the voices of friends and family -- sometimes for the very first time! After 21 years as an Hearing Instrument Specialist, I continue to be passionately committed to helping patients maintain their ability to communicate. I look forward to making a difference in the lives of many new people who will have their hearing restored at the Center for Better Hearing!
I always knew I wanted to go into healthcare; I just wasn’t sure which specialty would be the one for me. I learned about the field of audiology while checking off a requirement for my high-school graduation, which was to job-shadow a professional in a field of interest for a day. Audiology wasn’t in my sight until my mother started having ear issues. She ended up seeing an audiologist, and during her appointment she managed to set up a day for me to shadow her audiologist. While spending the day in the office, sitting in on appointments, observing hearing tests, and noticing how personal the appointments could be when the audiologist discussed hearing aids with patients, I immediately knew I had found my calling. From there, I received an Associate of Applied Science degree in hearing instrument technology at Bates Technical College in Tacoma, Washington. I moved to the Bay Area in 2018, which led me to the Center for Better Hearing. Along with the amazing sunshine that is out for most of the year, I now get to work next to my friendly, caring, talented work colleagues, learning from their 20+ years of experience in the hearing industry. Today I enjoy working with people through their struggles with hearing impairments and witnessing how hearing aids can drastically change and improve their lives. It is especially rewarding for me to see how I have helped people to change the way they communicate with loved ones and to reintroduce themselves into activities they had shied away from due to hearing difficulties.
Office Manager And Patient Care Coordinator
When I moved back to the Bay Area, where I was born and raised, I wanted to find a position that would allow me to help people in a tangible way. Having much experience in customer service and office management, and having been raised in a family that is passionate about medicine and health, I was naturally drawn to positions in healthcare. I was blessed to be given the opportunity to work here at the Center for Better Hearing as a Patient Care Coordinator and Office Manager. While I had never had any experience in hearing health previously, I quickly learned that this was my true calling after witnessing all the amazing benefits that improved hearing health can have on people's lives, day after day. I consider myself lucky to contribute to helping our patients hear better and to be a part of such a great team. Nothing brings me more joy than hearing the testimonials of so many of our patients, describing the many benefits of a pair of well-fit hearing aids. Everyone deserves to be heard, to hear, and to enjoy good health, and so I aspire to one day become a Hearing Instrument Specialist myself so that I can continue working towards this amazing goal indefinitely.
Olivia Free (Greg's Niece)
Office Manager and Patient Care Coordinator
Having just moved to the Bay Area, I am delighted to be a member of the Center for Better Hearing family. I started here with years of customer service experience emphasizing alternative health and wellness. Although my education focus was on nursing and massage therapy, I have found a similar sense of fulfillment witnessing our patients’ journeys to better hearing, and I am enjoying my exploration of the different forms of patient care while helping them on their journeys. Here at the Center, particularly through patient feedback, I am learning just how essential an improved state of hearing is to one’s quality of life. I have always valued the importance of clear communication and hearing everything the other person says, and I have now seen firsthand the difference better hearing can make in our patients’ daily lives, relationships and overall well being. It is especially rewarding to be a part of a team as dedicated to client satisfaction as the Center. They are truly committed to educating the community about the effects of hearing loss and keeping up to date on the latest research and technology to best inform our patients of their hearing improvement options. It makes all the difference for me to be surrounded by people who put their heart and soul into their work, and we are so lucky to be able to do so with our wonderful patients. I look forward to meeting you, hearing you, and helping you hear!
Patient Care Cordinator
I have been an active team member of the Center for Better Hearing since its inception in 2002. What drives me to do my best in that role is the interest in helping people with hearing loss that I share with the rest of my team and my pleasure in getting to know our clients, hearing their stories, and assisting them in improving their hearing. I have had that passion since I began working with seniors at age 14, and now I love working with people of all ages to help them hear clearly again. Yes, the positive effect of well-fitted hearing aids on a client’s quality of life makes working at the Center for Better Hearing with such a dedicated, caring staff very rewarding for me. I have lived in Europe and the Middle East, where I have also helped many people recover their hearing, and I still enjoy international travel with my husband and domestic adventures with my dog in my spare time. I am happily married to a University of California Professor of Applied Linguistics, and we have two wonderful children.