Giving the gift of hearing to island residents | Women in Business profile

by Jessica Stahl

Sounder contributor

Feelings of great joy, relief, anticipation and even trepidation may accompany the return of something once lost to us.

For Doctor of Audiology Stacie Nordrum, the special part of her work-day is inspiring a shift in her patients’ perspective on their hearing loss, and building positive feelings for their futures.

“When I feel that I have been successful in inspiring excitement about treating hearing loss: that’s special,” said Nordrum. “I have definitely seen people begin to return to previously enjoyed activities (such as church, meetings, social events) that were avoided because of hearing difficulty. I love the shift from focusing on a hearing loss over to the viewpoint of ‘I want to be more connected and engaged in my life.’”

Nordrum is the owner of the independent hearing clinic Island Hearing Healthcare in Friday Harbor. She established her clinic in 2006, after earning a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Western Washington University in 2002, and a Doctor of Audiology degree from Northwestern University in 2006.

Nordrum’s mother, who has hearing loss, was the first to suggest audiology as a field for Nordrum to explore.

“In graduate school, I became very interested in emerging hearing aid technology,” said Nordrum. “The Doctor of Audiology program at Northwestern University encouraged a focus on research concurrently with clinical practice and theoretical fundamentals. I was able to work with the engineering departments at several major hearing aid manufacturers to learn how technology is developed and released to the public.”

Owning her clinic allows Nordrum to continue pursuing her interests in hearing aid technology. She has the freedom to choose from any of the latest technologies and developed her own acclimatization program that she can customize for individual patients.

She is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology and holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence with the American Speech Language Hearing Association.

Island Hearing’s main office is in Friday Harbor. Weekly visits are made to Orcas Island and monthly visits to Lopez Island. Home visits are available upon request on all three islands.

“What sparks my interest now is anticipating each new major release of technology,” said Nordrum. “I am passionate about helping people stay connected, and to help those living with hearing loss overcome obstacles to communication and connection.”