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The ears have it for company expanding into Elmira

Hearing instrument specialist Charlene Bauer and client care coordinator Ryan Clews are excited to bring a Hear More Canada clinic to 17 Church St. W. in Elmira. [Scott Barber / The Observer]
Hearing instrument specialist Charlene Bauer and client care coordinator Ryan Clews are excited to bring a Hear More Canada clinic to 17 Church St. W. in Elmira. [Scott Barber / The Observer]
Aiming to serve a growing number of Ontarians suffering from hearing-related disabilities, Hear More Canada has opened 19 hearing clinics across the province over the last two years.

The latest location opened its doors in Elmira earlier this month, with Kitchener-Waterloo natives Charlene Bauer and Ryan Clews at the helm.

Offering free hearing tests, hearing aid prescriptions and sales, assisted listening devices, custom-molded swim plugs and noise protection and a free hearing aid battery program, the pair is eager to serve the community.

“We just got started on July 2 and everybody has been so friendly,” Bauer, a hearing instrument specialist who previously worked at the company’s Listowel clinic, said. “We have had a lot of walk-ins, which is fabulous, we encourage that, and we’re always happy to do whatever we can to take off any of the stresses that people feel about their hearing. Sometimes it can be difficult to get in to see the doctor to get wax out or to have an ear infection looked at or something like that where they think something might be wrong but they can’t get in to see the doctor, that’s a great opportunity for them to come in here and then we can direct them to what they need to do. We can also take out wax and we do all of that for free.”

For Bauer and Clews, who is working as the clinic’s client care coordinator, the passion for the business stems from a love of helping people.

“My favourite part is our clients,” Bauer said. “It’s all about helping people for me. Every day is different and every client has different needs. Some days you’ll come in and you will cry with a client. Some days you’ll laugh with the client. It’s not about selling them something, it’s about helping them with something that changes their life.”

A graduate of Conestoga College’s hearing instrument specialist program, Bauer has been working with Hear More for over two years. She outlined a few anecdotes to illustrate why she enjoys the job so much.

“One of the first fits I had, this woman came in and for some reason, somebody had told this person that she could never use a second aid. Just one. And I looked at the hearing test and said, ‘just humour me, let’s try two.’ and she said, ‘oh no, no, I can’t hear.’ And so she had been cranking up (the hearing aid volume) on one ear. But that wasn’t making it more clear, just loud. So I’m not sure if maybe she had heard 20 years ago that it was fine to do just one ear, but that wasn’t going to bring her the clarity she needed. So I said, ‘we have some extra hearing aids, just let me throw one on you and see what happens.’ And once we did, she started crying. And then I started crying, because I’m a crier, and she said, ‘all this time, all this time I’ve wasted. I need two!’”

She added, “It’s amazing when people just thought this is just the way it is and they put up with stuff. In one case, I have a client who is a veteran, and they don’t wear ear plugs when they’re bombing and shooting, and so they often have fairly dramatic hearing loss. This was someone who couldn’t hear speech. And so we did the hearing testing, and he said his whole life has changed since. And there are so many people who write letters saying how much their life has changed and that they had no idea that it could be so easy and seamless. And those people, they make your whole career, because if you’re having a bad day, you just remember those people.”

It’s especially rewarding to help children – the clinic treats kids four and up – Bauer said.

“Sometimes you see children who, it’s not because they aren’t smart enough, they just couldn’t hear. And once you get the hearing aid on them, they just can’t stop smiling and laughing. And then when their guardian says, ‘I’ve never seen them this happy before,’ because they can finally hear and they can finally start talking, it’s just really, really special.”

Hear More Canada’s Elmira clinic is located at 17 Church St. W. and can be reached at 519-669-4174.

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