Fifty percent of people over the age of 50 experience some degree of hearing loss. Bill Donaldson is well-acquainted with the statistic. As a hearing instrument specialist at the Brosnan Ear Clinic at 5-3350 Merrittville Highway in Thorold, he sees it nearly every day with his clients.
“There’s a lot of reluctance involved with having to admit you have a hearing problem,” Bill explains. “On average it takes seven years from the point people realize that they have a hearing problem until they actually do something about their hearing loss. Most people don’t realize that today’s hearing aids can really make a world of difference in their lives.”
In many cases, people with advanced or age-related hearing loss become frustrated with the strain of trying to follow conversations. As a result, they begin to withdraw from social situations and become increasingly isolated from friends, family and the community.
A hearing aid can give them a new lease on life, however. Through a comprehensive hearing assessment, Bill and the staff at Brosnan Ear Clinic are able to accurately pinpoint the source of a client’s hearing loss and explain it all to them in a simple, straight-forward manner.
“After a hearing evaluation, we can program our hearing aids to suit virtually any kind of person or hearing requirement,” Bill says. “After they start using hearing aids, it doesn’t take long for our clients to realize how much they’ve been missing.”
Over 50 Years of Service
Brosnan Ear Clinic has been serving Niagara’s hearing needs for over 50 years now. The clinic takes its name from the late Dr. Morgan Brosnan—an accomplished ear surgeon and hearing aid specialist. Morgan originally established a practice in ear surgery in St. Catharines in 1961—and for many years, he was the only ear surgeon in the Niagara Region.
Morgan would eventually start the St. Catharines Hearing & Speech Clinic in 1969, where he dealt with hearing aids and more surgical items like ear splints. When arthritis forced him to quit surgery in 1999, Morgan renamed his practice “Brosnan Ear Clinic” so he could focus on the diagnosis and treatment of vestibular disorders.
Morgan’s widow and business partner, Marina, says her late husband was passionate about what he did for a living.
“He loved helping people,” she says. “He was just a caring and compassionate person. His patients always came first with him.”
When Morgan passed away last February at the age of 85, Marina decided to sell the business to Sound Authority Inc. who acquired the clinic in May, 2011.
“When I sold the practice,” Marina says, “I knew they would respect what Morgan had done, and be able to deliver the kind of service his clients were accustomed to.”
Since taking over the practice, Bill continues to serve many of Morgan Brosnan’s clients. Bill likes to think he’s providing that same high quality of care and sense of thoughtfulness that were hallmarks of Dr. Brosnan’s.
“It’s important to treat them with as much respect as possible,” he says of his clients. “I treat people the way I’d like to be treated.”
A More Natural Hearing Experience
Over the past 20 years, hearing technology has grown tremendously in terms of performance and sophistication. Nowadays, hearing aids come with audio signal processors and micro-computers to provide people with a sharper, more natural hearing experience. They’ve also become much more aesthetically pleasing to wear.
Bill says miniaturization has come a long way in recent years, making modern hearing aids incredibly easy to conceal.
“Hearing aids were huge back in the 1980s and 1990s,” he explains. “Now they can fit right inside the ear canal or behind the ear like Bluetooth devices. They’re quite invisible.”
Brosnan Ear Clinic offers a full range of hearing aids to suit any need or budget. Bill deals with everything from basic instruments to the most cutting-edge technology, including hearing aids that feature Bluetooth capabilities which enable people to stream sound from a cellphone, TV, computer—or even another Bluetooth device.
In terms of hearing aid service and repair, Bill guarantees his work for the life of the hearing aid. He can even send hearing aids away for repair on those rare occasions when he can’t fix something in-house.
“It’s all about service with us,” Bill says. “We work closely with our clients to make sure they receive the greatest benefit possible from their hearing aids. We’re not here to rush them out the door or sell them something they don’t need.”
Looking ahead, Brosnan Ear Clinic has plenty in store for its valued clients. This summer, Brosnan Ear Clinic will be opening a second state-of-the-art office in downtown Virgil. The new practice will be managed by Audiologist Pauline Reimer Gibson, the latest addition to the Brosnan Ear Clinic team.
“We’ll be offering the same services as our Thorold location including hearing aid fittings and full audiological testing,” Pauline explains. “It’s amazing what we can do now. There are so many options out there for people that need help.”
Born and raised in Niagara, Pauline has over 15 years of experience working in the audiology field, having worked at Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto and Hotel Dieu Shaver Health & Rehabilitation Centre in St. Catharines.
Pauline says she’s looking forward to serving their clients at the new Virgil clinic.
“I love working with people of all ages,” she explains. “I like to help them feel comfortable and figure out how we can best serve their needs—whether it’s through counselling or an assistive device.”
Morgan Brosnan spent years perfecting his clinic and helping his clients to lead healthier, happier lives—and that philosophy continues to this day. Bill says it’s all part of their commitment to helping people with hearing loss to stop missing out in life and start living again.
“We want to give our clients hope and let them know that there is help available,” he says. “With today’s hearing aids, people with hearing loss no longer have to miss out on the sounds of life.”
Brosnan Ear Clinic is located at 5-3350 Merrittville Highway in Thorold. For more information call 905.684.9663