At birth, Stan Warner traded his hearing for a chance at life.
To keep him alive, Warner said he was given the antibiotic, Streptomycin, which stripped away most of his hearing.
“Most physicians said that there wasn’t anything they could do to help,” he said. “But, finally when I was 5, somebody said, ‘We don’t know until we try.’”
Warner received his first pair of hearing aids, underwent speech classes and learned how to read lips.
Warner now strives to help others with hearing disabilities.
“My theory is that, if you don’t try, you’ll never know,” he said. “That’s what happened to me, and I take that to heart.”
For the past 15 years he has worked as a board-certified instrument specialist with different audiology-related companies, including his current job at Optimal Hearing on 200 W. Academy St. NW in Gainesville.
Optimal Hearing, which opened in Gainesville in March, offers hearing aids to people of all ages. Warner said he sees 25-30 patients a day, typically around 60-70 years old.
The company was first established in 1961 and currently has 34 locations throughout Georgia and South Carolina.
Nick Pitt, the company’s vice president, said Optimal Hearing’s story paints a picture of a family dedicated to helping other families cope with hearing loss difficulties. His father, grandfather, siblings and other family members wear hearing aids.
“Empathy is one of our core values that has been instilled in each and every member of our team,” Pitt said. “We believe that by truly understanding what our patients are experiencing, we are better equipped to meet, and exceed their expectations.”
When people first visit Optimal Hearing, Warner said he administers a baseline hearing assessment. The test decides whether or not the person can receive help from a hearing aid, or needs assistance from an ear, nose and throat doctor.
“When there’s nerve damage, there isn’t anything a physician can do to help, and it becomes a hearing instrument situation,” he said.
Although he tries to aid all of his patients’ hearing, Warner said there’s always a small percentage he can’t help. Not everyone’s problem is an easy fix.
“People think they can just go buy a hearing aid, put it in and go,” Warner said. “Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. You’ve got to have a prescription and help to know what’s going on. Fortunately, we can help.”
To better avoid hearing complications, Warner recommends receiving regular assessments.
Pitt said Optimal Hearing provides a complimentary evaluation.
“If we can help you, we will,” he said. “If we can’t we’ll tell you. If you need a physician, we will find one for you.”
Now that the company has set its roots in Gainesville, Pitt said he hopes to foster a better understanding of the importance of being proactive with personal hearing health.
Warner asks the community to have faith in him and the long reputation of the hearing aid clinic.
“I’ve been wearing one (hearing aid) for 50 years and I’ll help others as long as I’m here on Earth. It’s a good feeling knowing that I can help give them a better quality of life and understanding.”
For more information about Optimal Hearing visit optimalhearing.com or call 770-872-0409.