2016-09-15 / Business Profiles

Dr. Ann Rasmussen

Doctors Hearing
‘We love what we do ... helping people live better lives’

WHO AM I?

NAME: Dr. Ann Rasmussen

TITLE AND COMPANY: Doctors Hearing

YEARS WITH THE COMPANY: Started company 1 year ago

YEARS IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA: 8 years

NATURE OF BUSINESS: Audiology and Hearing Aids

EDUCATION: Doctor of Audiology

HOMETOWN: San Francisco, CA

What is the most significant change you’ve seen in your industry over the past year?

With advancements in technology, audiology and hearing aids can now be offered as a fully mobile service. From the initial consultation, testing, diagnosis to treatment, Doctors Hearing can fully take care of a patient in the comfort of their own home.

What improvements, innovations or changes do you foresee in your industry in the coming year or two?

Hearing aid technology is continually improving. Many patients complain about having to change batteries. More and more manufactures are introducing hearing aids in which the batteries do not need to be changed. These hearing aids are rechargable, just like cell phones.

What about further in the future?

Treatment for tinnitus (ringing in the ears) has significantly advanced over the last 10 years. Previously, patients were told, “I am sorry, but there is nothing we can do for you. You will just have to learn to live with the ringing.” Current tinnitus treatments are highly effective in reducing ringing in the ears. However, I am excited to see what the next 10 years hold for advancements in tinnitus treatment.

What are three key challenges your industry is facing?

The three key problems facing Audiology, in particular in SWFL, can be summed up in one phrase, “Sales, sales, sales!” Unfortunately, just about on every corner and even in big box stores, hearing aids have sadly turned into a retail industry. Since when do people shop for medical treatment in retail? And most patients are not informed that there is a difference. In fact, in Collier County I could count on one hand the number of Doctors of Audiology. Yet to most outside of the field, it looks like there are dozens of medical professionals. In reality, there are dozens of sales people. My advice to patients searching for proper medical care is to look at the credentials and work with a Doctor of Audiology. Just like a dentist is the doctor to see when one has problems with teeth, a Doctor of Audiology is the professional to see when one has problems with hearing loss, tinnitus or balance.

How is your company responding to these challenges?

Many people think that they must choose the retail stores over medical offices due to cost. This is no longer true. We accept all medical insurance. In the past, Doctors used to have to tell patients that hearing aids are not covered. However with improvements in medical insurance coverage, we find that hearing aids are covered more and more, in part or even in full so that patients have no out of pocket expenses.

Name three practices that have been absolutely critical in the success of your business?

Going above and beyond for each patient with excellent customer service

Providing the gold-standard of medical care in Audiology.

Providing patients with access to all hearing aid manufacturers

If you could go back in time, what are two things you would have done differently in your company?

Change the company’s name! We work with many patients with hearing impairments and cognitive delays. In the past when we called from Doctors Hearing to confirm appointments, many patients asked, “Who is Dr. Hearing?” Haha! We now say that we are calling from the office of Dr. Ann Rasmussen. I suppose the second thing I could change is MY name … Dr. Hearing has a nice ring to it!

What are two things you’d like to change about your industry now? Your company?

Better patient education and better awareness for medical professionals outside the field of Audiology. Again, so many people see a hearing aid sales person and a Doctor of Audiology as the same, simply because they have never been educated on the difference between the two. A salesperson will sell you on their product, however a doctor goes to school for nearly a decade to provide proper medical care. I can honestly say I love my company and would not change one thing about it! I love the people I work with, our positive attitude, and we love what we do … helping people live better lives.

Within the context of your current marketing/ promotional strategy, how do you differentiate your company from your competitors?

We are the only fully mobile Audiology and Hearing Aid practice in SWFL. Patients are welcome to visit us in our office, however we can also provide all services in the comfort of patients’ homes.

What is your “superpower?” What particular strength or talent that has contributed most to your success.

I worked in private practices in Naples for 7 years before opening my own practice. I would hear the same complaints from patients over and over, “I cannot drive…I do not have transportation until next week… The office is so far away” In SWFL there is a demand for aging in place. Many older adults want to keep their independence for as long as possible. In opening my practice, I knew that I wanted to meet this previously unserved need.

What accomplishment are you most proud of in 2016?

Each and every patient who I helped to live a better life.

How do you define success in 2016?

I can’t say this enough… Each and every patient who I helped to live a better life.

How is social media impacting your industry or business this year?

Through social media, we are able to quickly share technology updates. Even though most of our patients do not use social media, their family and friends do. These family members and friends keep our patients well informed.

What is on the horizon for 2017?

Helping patients to live a better life! We have many educational events, health fairs, and complimentary hearing, tinnitus and balance screenings planned for 2017. Please check our website at www.doctorshearingllc.com for event updates. ¦

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