While many people don’t attribute the same importance to testing their hearing as they do to their eyesight, Cheadle Hulme based audiologist Olivia Austin has started a crusade to buck the trend, with her venture, Integrate Hearing.
Olivia took her first steps towards becoming an Audiologist during her time studying at The University of Manchester:
“I studied Audiology locally in Manchester. The course offers an NHS background, and during the training process, I completed the BSc, which is considered one of the better routes when training to be an Audiologist.”
Following her graduation in 2013, Olivia has worked in private healthcare and the NHS. Despite being in the early stages of her career, she has already amassed an impressive range of experience:
“I have worked for a multitude of companies in the private sector and the NHS, spending a while doing home visits. I was then in charge of three independent practices, during which time I was the only audiologist. I then made the decision to start Integrate Hearing and have recently celebrated my first anniversary!”
Since launching Integrate Hearing, the business has enjoyed an encouraging start. While Olivia initially conducted home visits for her customers, the business has since opened three clinics in Cheadle Village, Wrexham, and Runcorn.
Customer care is at the core of the company values and philosophy, a mindset that has been transcended into partnering with opticians, as described further by Olivia:
“I work in partnership with independent opticians, which is great because they share the same values as I do, based on customer care. High-quality customer service is something that is really important to me and is one of the reasons that I made the decision to set up the company; in my opinion, the level of customer service on the high street isn’t as good. As an independent company, I’m much more flexible with time and how much I personally can help people. That’s why I love my job – it’s so rewarding.”
In a competitive sector, Integrate Hearing is rapidly establishing itself as a company devoted to providing quality products while establishing strong working relationships with their clientele, a view echoed by the company’s pioneering owner:
“I completely understand the value of learning new skills as I go to develop as a practitioner. It’s essential that you’re at a certain level so that people will respect you as a professional, as well as your brand. Hearing aids are expensive, so it’s pivotal that people have trust in your advice. Historically, private care has been very sales orientated, which is why I wanted to do things on my own. I’m very focused on what’s best for my patients.”
A stimulating challenge, the entrepreneurial route enables business owners to pursue a career in a sector that they are passionate about, as demonstrated by Olivia:
“During my experience of the national companies, it’s very much centred on the notion of ‘sales, sales, sales’. However, my values are different: I do a job that I love, I meet amazing people and I help them with their hearing.”
Although Integrate Hearing is continuing to improve the quality of hearing, there is a sense that the awareness surrounding ear health isn’t as documented as the importance of visiting a dentist or optician. Olivia Austin shared her frustrations that the same importance isn’t always attributed to ensuring that the quality of hearing is checked: “There is a massive lack of knowledge and education, so I think that’s a big part of why there aren’t as many people getting their hearing checked as there should be. I think that more needs to be done to raise awareness.
“Sometimes there can be issues that you simply cannot notice yourself, so it’s important for things to be highlighted by a specialist, in some instances. At times, some people are in denial about struggling with their hearing; part of my job is to persuade people to address their hearing. My consultations are different because I have the time to provide in-depth support, rather than just inform people that they’re suffering from hearing loss.”
Integrate Hearing is dedicated to ensuring that each and every customer is provided with a product that suits their individual requirements. A range of bespoke hearing packages are available, from a routine hearing test to full consultation in the event that there is a suspicion that something needs to be addressed. Additionally, rehabilitation sessions are available for patients with tinnitus, while ear wax removal services can also be arranged.
A company spearheaded by a highly-driven businesswoman, Integrate Hearing’s growth has been impressive since the inauguration of the business. During this time period, customers have been drawn to the personal service offered by Olivia, something that she would like to maintain in the coming months:
“Initially, I thought I was going to take over the world and open lots of clinics, but I’ve loved being able to provide a hands-on service for my patients. They see the same person during their appointments, which is good for familiarity and relationships. Moving forward, I’d love my own branch, but for the time being, I want to get out into the community and raise more awareness.”
To arrange an appointment, please call 0161 706 0067. Alternatively, for more information, email [email protected]