We are taking all necessary precautions to safely re-open our Audiology clinic.
When Zoe learned that her one-year-old son Mateo was going to need hearing aids, she worried she would not be able to also remain in secure housing. The exorbitant out-of-pocket price for hearing aids, coupled with the Bay Area’s sky-high cost of living, seemed like it was going to be too much for Zoe and her young son to bear.
Thankfully, CEID was able to intervene.
CEID’s ability to work with CCS (California Children’s Services) insurance has meant that Zoe could prevent paying upwards of $15,000 to afford Mateo’s care.
“Without CEID, I don’t know that we could have stayed in the Bay Area,” explained Zoe.
CEID provided Mateo with two hearing aids, allowing the one-year-old to locate sound for the first time in his young life.
“There were kids outside and he was wide-eyed and looking around,” said Zoe of her son’s first time at CEID. “The best way I can describe it is that sound became 3-D.”
While early education may be what CEID is best known for, the Center sees a wide array of patients, of all ages, through its Audiology program.
Ninety percent of the audiology patients are low-income and many need to travel long distances for care because CEID is one of the few audiology service providers to accept MediCal. Patients also come from a wide range of backgrounds, too.
Dr. Michal Joseph, CEID’s Clinical and Dispensing Audiologist, explains that the diversity of patients seen is best exemplified through the many languages that patients speak. “We serve a large population, with speakers of Chinese languages, Vietnamese, Korean, Farsi, Arabic, Hindi and we are sure to always have at least one Audiology Assistant who is fluent in Spanish,” said Dr. Joseph.
Dr. Joseph started with CEID as a contractor in 2008, when CEID was only working with pediatric patients and joined the staff fulltime in 2014. During her tenure, she has seen the program grow immensely - including adding a second clinic in Oakland for patients to have easier access to health care.
“The program has evolved tremendously over the years,” said Dr. Joseph. “When CEID opened adult services (in Oakland) it created a very high demand for that program.”
CEID's Oakland Audiology Clinic is part of the Rising Harte Wellness Center on the campus of Fred Finch Youth and Family Services. Since 2015, CEID has worked from this location to provide hearing evaluations and hearing aid fittings to participants of all ages. The Wellness Center also provides medical, dental and mental health services for Alameda County youth and families.
“Now with two clinic locations in Oakland and Berkeley, the program’s success and potential has gone from zero to a hundred,” said Dr. Joseph.
As the coronavirus pandemic hit, the audiology program had to quickly shift gears to adding remote and drop off services. This includes providing remote troubleshooting for hearing aid issues and supporting patients via phone or video and arranging curbside services for hearing aid repair.
The audiology clinic was the first of CEID’s services to re-open in person services this Summer, restarting at the Berkeley location during the first week of June. While thrilled to be working with patients in-person again, audiology staff have had to redouble their efforts to ensure staff and patients’ safety.
“Even before the pandemic we were worried about infection control but now we have to be compliant with federal, county, city regulations for the patients and staff safety, but at the same time not compromise the quality of the service,” said Dr. Joseph.
Early results from the reopened services have gotten positive reviews from participants.
“My dad is 92, so safety was really important. (CEID) really made us feel safe, thank you for everything.” said the daughter of current audiology patient, Lizardo.
Added Jose, another patient’s family member, “Communication has been really, really good. We come all the way from Fremont, so it was a little further than last time to Oakland but it was still really worth it.”
As CEID transitions to life after quarantine, with other programs reopening in the summer and fall, audiology has been leading the way – allowing patients to get gold standard, individualized, accessible and affordable care.
CEID Audiology Clinic welcomes patients of all ages—contact us for more information to get specialized hearing health care