Hearing loss is something most of us attribute happening to senior citizens, but just ask anyone who has suffered a nasty head cold and they’ll attest to the discomfort of experiencing diminished hearing capabilities. When you take into consideration today’s fast-paced technological advances in sound providers such as iPods, high-tech computer speakers and booming home surround sound systems, the chances increase significantly that most of us will experience some noise induced hearing loss around the age of 45 or sooner.
Dr. Tina Saulnier, a registered audiologist who received her Masters Degree in Audiology from the University of Ottawa in 2001 and her Doctorate of Audiology from University of Central Michigan in May 2009, is the president of Miramichi Hearing & Audiology Inc., located at 130 Duke Street, Miramichi, NB. She sees people with varying stages of hearing loss every day in her business. “As a child I used to notice some elderly people in the community wearing bulky hearing aids, yet I don’t remember seeing many younger people using them,” says Dr. Saulnier. “In addition to performing hearing evaluations and fitting people with the latest digital hearing aids, I also see people taking preventative measures to ensure that their hearing is protected before major losses are incurred. People who work in excessively loud environments are prime candidates for loss in hearing,” states Dr. Saulnier. “By being proactive and wearing the proper protective headgear to minimize the damage caused by loud noises when on jobsites or during hobbies, there is the potential that some hearing loss could be prevented. Like the old saying, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’ and taking precautionary methods before serious harm is done is always prudent,” says Dr. Saulnier.
As a child, Dr. Saulnier herself suffered from ear infections which necessitated having tubes inserted into her eardrums to drain off fluid build-up from the middle ear and prevent damages to her hearing. To this day she still remembers visiting the audiologist, and now she assists other parents who bring their school-aged children in to have their hearing tested at Miramichi Hearing & Audiology Inc. “I deal with quite a few concerned parents these days,” states Dr. Saulnier. “Some of them are bringing in their children to simply have their hearing checked, as they are either proactive in their child’s hearing health or the teachers have expressed a concern on the child’s ability to hear in the classroom. Often times the child has suffered from quite a few ear infections and the parents just want to be reassured that everything is fine and no permanent hearing loss has occurred.”
In 2004, Dr. Saulnier received a fortuitous phone call from the previous owner of Miramichi Hearing Services, asking her if she’d be interested in purchasing his business. He was ready to retire and had become aware of Dr. Saulnier’s progression and studies in the field of audiology and felt she was the best candidate to take over his business. So, in December of 2004, Dr. Saulnier left Sherbrooke, PQ, where she had been working for a hearing aids manufacturer, and decided to take the plunge into owning and operating her own business.
“Boy, was I ever in for a shock!” Dr. Saulnier laughingly responds when asked about the rigors of becoming an entrepreneur. “I went to a few traditional bank in the Miramichi area trying to secure a business loan to purchase the company. I was told I was ‘too young’, that most non-traditional businesses fail in the first 2 years, and I was point blank refused funding. I’d almost given up on the idea when someone referred me to the CBDC Northumberland office as a possible resource to secure much needed financing. Not only did they provide me with a SEED loan, they also helped me out with additional business training in accounting and business management courses. The SEED loan allowed me to get Miramichi Hearing & Audiology Inc. up and running, plus the funds allowed me to purchase the necessary advanced technology and equipment to bring the business up the high standards I wanted to provide my clients with going forward. So, when I decided in June of 2005 to open another clinic in Shediac, NB, I again turned to CBDC for help, as they’d been so instrumental in making the first transaction go much more smoothly than I’d ever imagined possible.”
New technological developments have significantly improved the overall design of today’s hearing aids, and the bulky unsightly hearing aids of decades past have disappeared from use. Today’s units can be made to match the color of a persons hair, and are tiny, compact units made to blend in with the actual ear to make the wearer more at ease with the overall aesthetics and remove some of the old stigma surrounding wearing a hearing aid.
On why she enjoys being an entrepreneur. “I open at 10 am and close at 4:30 pm. I am always learning and continuing my education.” Dr. Saulnier also realized the importance of vacation. Being a “busy bee”,
The best advice she ever received was “Women in Business Don’t Cry,” by Martha Stewart. For Tina, this ensures that she does not take no for an answer and can keep things in perspective and does not bring work at home.
“I am so grateful that I was directed to the CBDC Northumberland,” says Dr. Saulnier. “Their assistance has made it possible for me to help so many people enhance their hearing abilities and lead involved and productive lives. Hearing loss isn’t something that is suffered only by the aged anymore, and I encourage everyone to undergo testing to correct their hearing or prevent further damages. People should consider taking a proactive approach when it comes to their hearing, much like having eye examinations every couple of years to ensure that their eyesight hasn’t deteriorated.”
A best practice she lives by is never looking at her agenda. This ensures that every day is a surprise and she can sleep better at night.
Consulting with a reputable audiologist before hearing losses strike will provide you with the necessary guidance and counseling to ensure that your hearing brings music to your ears for years to come. And this is one of the reasons why Dr. Saulnier gets up each morning and heads happily off to work at Miramichi Hearing & Audiology Inc.