For the last two months, Powell River residents who had questions or problems with their hearing aides have been coming to Shannon Miller at Powell River Hearing, and she wants the community to know she will continue to be there, whatever the future may hold.
“I am locally owned and operated,” says Shannon. “I spent over 20 years with Powell River Community Health and obtained my hearing instrument practitioner certification prior to opening Powell River Hearing in September 2018.”
Shannon’s experience in the public health system means she has a lot of training in infection control procedures. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she knew what changes she needed to make to her business practices to keep clients safe and her doors open.
“In mid-March, I began operating on an emergency-only basis, but now I am returning to full service by appointment only,” she says. “This allows time for adequate sanitization between clients, and also means each client has my undivided attention. I have installed sneeze guards at reception and offer hand sanitizer as well as a handwashing station for client convenience.
“I also maintain physical distance while counselling my clients and when appropriate I wear a mask and face shield.”
Powell River Hearing offers a variety of hearing-related services, including hearing testing, hearing aides, aural rehabilitation counselling, and hearing protection. Shannon also partnered with Jerald Formby earlier this year to launch Powell River Industrial Hearing, a division of Powell River Hearing specifically focused on providing hearing tests and services for workers in high-noise industries.
“Both Powell River Hearing and PR Industrial Hearing are part of the WorkSafeBC provider network,” explains Shannon. “We can help any adult who might be concerned about hearing loss, whether it is related to their job or not.”
Shannon became passionate about hearing after working as an audiometric technician in the audiology department at Powell River Community Health.
“When people start to lose their hearing, it is very detrimental to other parts of their health,” she says. “They stop going out because they have trouble communicating, which can lead to more isolation and depression. Early signs of hearing loss should not be ignored, and a hearing test will often highlight any underlying conditions.
“I can identify any red flags, and work closely with other health professionals to get you the help you need.”
Shannon recommends treating ears like eyes and teeth, and getting regular testing.
“Maintaining your hearing is part of maintaining your health, and being proactive early is very important,” she says. “I recommend people start getting regular tests once they turn 50, as that’s when a lot of age-related hearing loss starts, or even earlier if they’ve been exposed to noise in their careers or have other ear-related issues like tinnitus or vertigo.
“It can take up to six months to get used to hearing aides if you need them, but the process is much easier when started sooner rather than later.”
Hearing aides themselves have also come a long way over the last decade, she adds.
“There are hearing aides that are Bluetooth-enabled, so you can stream the audio from your phone, tablet, or television to your hearing aides,” says Shannon. “Simply put, they’re mini-computers in your ears.”
Powell River Hearing is located at 4794B Joyce Avenue. To ask questions about hearing or to book an appointment, contact Shannon at 604.485.0036 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Powell River Hearing’s services, go to powellriverhearing.com.