The Absolute Audiology staff, Karen Schroeder, Aaron Gingrich and Karen Rose, stands in front of the Godfrey office. Schroeder is patient coordinator for the Godfrey office; Rose performs the same job in the Jerseyville office.
GODFREY | Aaron Gingrich is in the business of helping people hear and loves it. In fact, Gingrich switched careers because of something he observed 15 years ago.
At the time, Gingrich was in business administration. One of his clients was an accountant for a hearing aid office. When Gingrich was visiting the office, an elderly man arrived to get his hearing aids. The man had a slow, shuffling walk to the examining room. The hearing specialist called Gingrich back and showed him two hearing aids.
“They looked like red and blue jelly beans,” he said. “He put them in the old man’s ears and asked him how he was doing. He brightened and said, ‘Great!’ That change in his overall demeanor was what got me interested in this field.”
Gingrich went back to school and in January 2000, obtained his hearing instrument specialist license through the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Originally from Southern Illinois, Gingrich moved to Chicago to work for Sonus. There, he was a “problem patient specialist,” troubleshooting for patients who had more challenging hearing losses.
“But I’m not a city boy or a fan of cold weather,” he said.
In 2009, he landed in Jerseyville after taking a job with Hometown Hearing and Audiology. When the company was swallowed up by an international conglomerate, Gingrich knew it wouldn’t be a good move for him or his patients, so he decided to start his own business.
On May 5, Absolute Audiology simultaneously opened two offices, one in Godfrey and the other in Jerseyville. Gingrich laughed when he said the openings might not have been the easiest move for him, but it worked out for his patients.
A lot of factors can go into hearing loss: the aging process, noise pollution and damage, disease and accidents. Most of Gingrich’s patients are in their 20s, 30s and 40s; he won’t take anyone younger than age 7, saying their needs are too specialized.
“What’s a little different about us is that we go above and beyond just testing the person,” he said. “We take into consideration their lifestyle and needs.”
“If someone works in construction and they’re taking earmuffs or a hardhat off and on all day, then the type of hearing aid that sits behind the ear is not going to work real well, even though the audiogram may dictate that’s what they need,” Gingrich said. “We’re not fitting a square peg into a round hole.”
Most people don’t care how the technology behind hearing aids work; they just want improved hearing. Absolute Audiology is contracted with all major manufacturers of hearing aids. Gingrich can fit a patient with anything from the basic “get the television noise down” hearing aid to ones that integrate with other technology patients use, such as their smartphone.
Gingrich fit one patient with hearing aids that interface directly with the patient’s iPhone. It lets him control the settings with the phone, adjusting the volume and how much sound comes from which direction. It also allows him to have different settings for different locations.
“When he’s at church, his phone automatically adjusts the volume based on his GPS coordinates for his hearing aids,” Gingrich says.
The company provides hearing and noise tests, makes custom ear molds, treats tinnitus and repairs hearing aids. Evening and weekend appointments are available and house calls can be made in some cases.
Gingrich says his patients are happy with their hearing aids and the service they receive. But don’t take his word. Click on the YouTube button at the top right of the company’s website to watch testimonials from satisfied customers.
“I found it’s more effective than making patients listen to someone else — me — drone on,” he said.
Their two locations are: 5520A Godfrey Road, Godfrey, 618-467-8889, and 112 S. State St., Jerseyville, 618-639-3277. Hours for both locations are 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.