FAIRFIELD — For Grace Hindes’ clients at Ellen Anderson Hearing Services, a scream or cry can be a beautiful thing.
Hindes is a hearing instrument specialist who gives the gift of sound to the people she works with.
“It’s like a euphoria,” she said of witnessing her clients hear for possibly the first time. “You get this warm fuzzy feeling.”
She gives them a head’s up as to what’s going to happen, as she fits the hearing aid to them. They play various sounds in the office and counsel them, telling them they’re going to hear some things they’ve never heard before or haven’t heard for a while.
“It’s amazing,” she said of the reaction she sees. “I have some people who will cry. I have others who will get very quiet . . . just sitting there trying to emotionally gather themselves.”
She’s also had children who “will scream their heads off because the world is a very noisy place.” She fitted hearing aids for a young preschooler who was born deaf. The boy went to day care with his new hearing aids and screamed.
“You know how kids are . . . very loud,” Hindes said. “This child went and screamed. He then learned how to take out his hearing aids.”
In addition to fitting hearing aids, she gives hearing aid consultations – she goes over hearing aid tests to determine the best solution and possible style of hearing aid. She also does hearing screenings. She is also a certified tinnitus therapist who uses music therapy to retrain the brain so it doesn’t hear the tinnitus anymore.
Hindes started her school career wanting to be a neurologist, but found out that it required years of school and residency. She “fell into” her current career when she moved to California and has been at Ellen Anderson Hearing Services for 12 years.
“I like the patient interaction,” she said. “I love technology . . . all of the advancements in technology. It’s very challenging but very rewarding. It’s nice to be able to help people as well.”
Hindes prides herself on keeping up with the ongoing technology upgrades and continuing education. She’s required to complete 10 units of continuing education to stay certified but completes many more units than that each year, all in an effort to stay on top of technology changes that might help her clients.
“I’m a little anal retentive,” she said with a laugh.
She gave the example of a woman who developed a hearing loss in her 20s. Over the years, she was told by other hearing aid dispensers that “there was no help for her,” Hindes said.
She added, “basically all these people told her there was no hope.”
The woman wasn’t comfortable inside her house or outside because of the hearing loss.
“She came in and I tested her and I said, ‘You know, I think there is something that can help. Let’s give it a shot,’ ” Hindes said.
It worked and Hindes now describes the client as a “social butterfly.”
Hindes is a community-oriented person. She belongs to Rotary and works on some projects with Rebuilding Together Solano County. Her parents were ministers, so she said the idea of helping her community was instilled in her since childhood.
“I feel a community is only as good as the people who are helping it become better,” she said. “If you want the community where you live to be a good one, you need to participate.”
Reach Susan Winlow at 427-6955 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/swinlowdr.