Founded in 2008 by Christine Tirk, Clear Choice Hearing and Balance is a private, full-scope audiology practice that serves patients from infants to geriatrics with diverse hearing health care needs. The staff is committed to providing the best care for those with hearing loss, tinnitus, balance and dizziness, middle ear fluid and auditory processing disorder.
By Ron D’Angelo, Doctor of Audiology
Q: Did you close during COVID-19?
A: No. Clear Choice was deemed an essential business by the state and we provided the same superior level of care with safety protocols in place following all CDC guidelines. We did not lay off any personnel nor did any staff leave due to COVID-19. We decided early on that we would work as a team and continue to provide the same high level of service to our patients, while many of our competitors closed down. We also have had a lot of walk-ins during COVID-19 as patients have been grateful that we remained opened and available with no appointment necessary since most of the other audiology offices remained closed and they needed help with hearing aids or testing.
Q: Has the COVID-19 virus affected your practice?
A: By now it is clear the year 2020 will be known as the year of the coronavirus. There is barely a facet of life it has not affected in some way or other. Businesses have had to rethink many aspects of their daily operations and practices and so have we. We practice social distancing, intense hand washing and mask wearing, among other precautions as recommended by the CDC. But, most importantly, health issues and hearing issues did not go away during COVID-19. So, as a team, we are committed to providing the safest environment possible along with the same level of service patients have grown to expect.
Q: How important was it to adapt to the changes?
A: As a full scope, diagnostic audiology and hearing aid dispensing practice, we are deeply enmeshed in the medical community. We collaborate with primary care, otolaryngology, neurology, pediatrics and rehabilitation centers, all of whom rely on our services for the proper care of their patients. We were not content to abandon those who put their trust in us for their care.
Q: How did you implement the changes?
A: As the first wave of virus-related restrictions was felt, we were immediately formulating plans to attend to the patients who wanted and needed our services. This could not be done haphazardly or without regard to safety. We carefully studied the CDC guidelines for safe care and took every precaution. Hand washing is nothing new, of course, as we must always wash our hands between every patient. Infection control continuing education coursework is mandated in our profession, and we felt prepared to use all necessary precautions. We take temperatures of staff and patients, increased disinfection of all surfaces, screen with questions and use face masks/shields. We will always be here to help keep people on a good path to ear health.