North Shore CARP's own Jennifer Abbott from Hear at Home

Jennifer Abbot, Hear at Home Mobile Hearing Clinic and CARP at WV event.

Besides the opportunity to tap into a huge market, job security and a flexible schedule were other reasons Jennifer Abbott decided to pursue a career that involved addressing the health needs of seniors. The mother of one gave up working as a flight attendant and retrained in order to become a hearing-aid practitioner.

The North Shore resident completed the hearing-aid practitioner program at Edmonton’s Grant MacEwan University via distance education. In February 2010 Jennifer launched her own business, Hear at Home Mobile Hearing Clinic. You will see her branded cars in your community.

She goes to people’s homes and tests their hearing, advises clients on hearing aids and assistive listening devices, and provides follow-up care as well as “good old-fashioned customer service”.

“I wanted a family-friendly job,” Abbott explains by phone. “I didn’t even know what a hearing-aid practitioner was, but I kept getting drawn to it.”

According to Abbott, about 50 percent of those over 60 can expect to have hearing problems in their lifetime. On average, people wait seven years before seeking help with their hearing.

B.C. has a shortage of hearing-aid practitioners like her. The Justice Institute of British Columbia—which offers paramedic programs among other health-care courses—is exploring the possibility of offering a diploma program in the subject here.

Working for herself means Abbott sets her own hours and she’s “not stuck in an office”. But there are other rewards, like witnessing how, when people get their hearing back, they get their life back.

“The best part of my job is seeing people experience an improvement in their hearing for themselves,” she explains. “So often people are adamant they don’t have hearing loss, that they don’t need a hearing aid. They worry it will make them look old. I recently had a client who was adamant she didn’t want a hearing aid. She tried it, and now she loves it. She says she can hear her family talking to her. She has a soft-spoken friend, and she can hear her talk. She can hear the birds outside. That’s the best part of my job, hearing stories like that.…It improves people’s quality of life.”

section taken from Gail Johnson, August 19, 2010 Georgia Straight