Music to Their Ears
Led by Alicia Lutzky, Blue Bell Hearing Aid Center enhances patients’ quality of life with personalized attention and extraordinary service
by Lindsey Getz

Hearing loss has become an epidemic in the United States. The condition affects nearly 48 million Americans, though prevailing trends suggest that figure will increase considerably in the years ahead. Research has shown that younger generations are losing their hearing at a faster rate than ever before, most likely related to increased exposure to loud noises.

Despite the staggering scope of the issue, hearing loss does not receive the attention it deserves. Quite the contrary, in fact, as hearing loss is often brushed off, joked about or, when it is given its proper due, addressed poorly with improper treatment that is not geared to the individual’s unique hearing loss. Blue Bell Hearing Aid Center Inc., led by Alicia Lutzky, is looking to change all that.

With more than 25 years of experience in her field, Alicia is a licensed Hearing Instrument Specialist in the state of Pennsylvania. She is also a member of the International Hearing Society, Pennsylvania Hearing Health Care Association and The Angel Society.  As someone who has had a front-row seat to the industry’s advances, she knows the profound effect a properly prescribed hearing aid can have on someone’s life.

Hearing aids are highly sophisticated medical devices that should be prescribed only by qualified professionals. Even so, this has not stopped many people from purchasing hearing aids from big-box stores or even websites. Alicia says these people may be doing themselves a tremendous disservice.

“You really shouldn’t be able to buy a highly sophisticated medical device at a place where you can buy a year’s supply of ketchup,” she says. “That’s not helping people to take this issue more seriously. But the fact of the matter is, hearing is an essential sense. It is directly linked to cognition. If you don’t have proper hearing, your brain health suffers.”

Alicia cites recent research out of Johns Hopkins University, which suggests that even mild hearing loss can double one’s risk of dementia. Moderate hearing loss can triple that risk, while people with severe hearing impairment were five times more likely to develop dementia. Although it’s a sobering and potentially life-altering issue, Alicia says it isn’t always treated as such.

“You would never laugh at someone who was blind and yet people joke about hearing loss,” Alicia says. “A family member who listens to the television loud or misunderstands something you say may be laughed off, but it’s a serious issue and should be treated like one.”

Hearing loss not only has an impact on the individual and his or her health, but it can also affect the entire dynamics of a family. Alicia says she has witnessed many marriages improve and lives changed after a patient’s hearing has been treated successfully. 

Customized Service, Premium Technology
In order for a hearing aid to serve the patient in the best possible way, it needs to be fine tuned to each patient. A patient is unlikely to receive such service through mail order or a website. Alicia says it can take anywhere from six weeks to six months for a patient to get used to a new hearing aid. Discovering the right combination requires some time, even with the skill of a qualified professional who has years of experience.

“Too often a person with hearing loss will try an aid for a week or two and become discouraged,” she says. “Their hearing aid professional needs to explain the acclimation process.”

At Blue Bell Hearing Aid Center, patients always see Alicia, and she is able to customize the device to truly suit the individual, including the fine tuning that might be needed to make it effective. The real artistry comes into play when it comes to adjusting the device.

“Today’s hearing aids are so sophisticated and do require some adjusting to be customized to the patient,” Alicia says. “I’m constantly taking classes and updating my own knowledge so that I’m on top of the very latest technology.”

There’s no doubt the technology has come tremendously far. Alicia says that patients who might have shied away from trying a hearing aid because of its appearance—or, more appropriately, their perception of how it will look—are in for a surprise. Not only are the devices much more functional and effective, but they have become much less conspicuous in the past decade or so.

“Today’s hearing aids are so discreet that most people would never even notice them,” Alicia says. “And the technology has come so far that it’s often amazing to people what they can do. We have hearing aids today that are controlled by iPhones—lots of fancy technology that patients often say they never knew existed.”

While Alicia admits there is a lot of “mistrust” in the industry due to previous bad experiences, she is confident people with hearing loss will have a much different experience with Blue Bell Hearing Aid Center. For starters, she and Josie Yockey, the practice ambassador, take the time to get to know each patient. When a new patient comes in, they are treated like family from the moment they step foot through the door. In fact, the comfortable feel of the office, reminiscent of someone’s living room—along with some other special touches Alicia provides—makes it a place where patients enjoy visiting. Whether it’s the cookies or the hot coffee, the friendly faces or the stellar customer service, patients can expect an all-around positive and stress-free experience. For all too many people, that’s something new. 

“Sadly, a lot of people with hearing loss have had a really bad experience somewhere else and have given up,” Alicia says. “But we can help. The most important message I want to get out there is the fact that there is hope for those with hearing loss. You have a chance to improve your quality of life.” 

Blue Bell Hearing Aid Center Inc.
821 N. Bethlehem Pike
Spring House, PA 19477

Photograph by Jody Robinson