The team at Family Hearing understands that old-fashioned service is timeless.
Family Hearing has been connecting the people of Boulder Valley to the sounds that matter most since 1963. While the technology and techniques continually evolve, the team at Family Hearing is as committed now as it was 57 years ago to making sure its patients receive the most advanced care. As new breakthroughs in hearing practices continue to add new tools to help more people, the team at Family Hearing understands that old-fashioned service is timeless. Bending over backwards to arrange times, accepting walk-ins, offering house-call services, and now telehealth services continue to be why they are the longest-serving, most-awarded hearing practice in the region.
“HEART first” has been the foundational premise of Family Hearing since Christopher Schweitzer, Ph.D., and Karima Thobani, BC-HIS, acquired an area practice, which they soon renamed Family Hearing Centers. After their very first date, Chris called Karima and asked if she wanted to go into practice together. She said yes, and “Heart” has been deeply ingrained in the business in more ways than one ever since. Their practice grew by fitting people with analog hearing aids, volunteering wax removal and hearing aid repair services in the community, and building long-standing relationships with the people they were honored to help.
Today’s Family Hearing team, led by Jennifer LaBorde, B.A., BC-HIS and Chelsea Walters, B.S., BC-HIS, carries on those relationships, with the original patients who loved Karima and Chris and with their children and grandchildren. “Family” is more than a name at this establishment. Chelsea and Jennifer understand the importance of staying connected to their roots, leading with the same “How can I help?” spirit that their mentors did. When Chris and Karima asked if they were ready to take the reins of the practice after over a decade of working side by side, they were met with a resounding “Yes!” that echoed theirs years earlier.
Jennifer found her connection with the hearing impaired while becoming fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) and creating relationships with the people she communicated with. Her goal of being an ASL interpreter changed course when she found out that she could help her parents with their hearing loss. Helping people like that is addicting, you see. Chelsea found her passion helping people hear while exploring the other side of the communication chain: speech. Providing speech therapy, she installed audio-enhancing equipment in classrooms and was inspired to see how every student thrived with a boost in clarity. The switch to focus on hearing was just natural. Ownership in Family Hearing gives them both not only the environment to grow their love for their craft but a home base that cultivates caring for all the people around them.
When asking their colleagues today their favorite part of working at Family Hearing, the team all agrees that it’s the culture. Valarie Mull, B.A., BC-HIS, says that she loves working in “an intimate setting where we have a close-knit team and can create relationships with people easier than in a large office.” Kate Landowski, Au.D., believes “it truly feels like a family practice.”
Valuing relationships first and foremost makes this team well equipped to help its patients with the relationships to sound that are significant to them.
In his 2005 commencement speech, David Foster Wallace shared a parable about two young fish that pass by an older fish that says to them, “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” The two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?” Sound is the soup that we all swim in without awareness. It links us to our parents, our children, our friends. It’s the soundtrack that energizes our morning workout and winds down our evening after a long day. It’s the background – that seemingly meaningless hum of the air-conditioner or refrigerator that we barely notice that grounds us in our reality. And while hearing is our “cradle to grave” source of personal connection and learning, every person’s relationship with this audio atmosphere is different. For some this means catching the punchline of a joke with their daughter on Pearl Street. For others, it means being able to discern the different tones in bird songs while hiking the Indian Peaks.
Whatever your or your loved one’s relationship to sound, rest assured this team values it as much as you do. Their passion for hearing care is infectious. Their clinical skill transcends standardized solutions. Exceptional service, personal care, and technical expertise are the basics that they build upon – and have been for nearly 60 years. When you need a solution for hearing difficulties, bothersome tinnitus or protecting your ears, Family Hearing is the place. This company may have been born in Boulder in 1963, but it’s been helping locals for “thousands of ears.”
LEFT: Karima Thobani, BC-HIS using the first digital Real Ear Measurement Device in Colorado.
RIGHT: H. Christopher Schweitzer, Ph-D, co-Founder Audiologic, which developed the first production chip to go into digital hearing devices. (Photo: Family Hearing).