When Nashlea Brogan was 18 years old, she received her first pair of hearing aids. “I lost the majority of my hearing as an adult, so I was interested in studying how people coped with acquired hearing loss. I wanted to understand the denial, withdrawal, anger, and guilt that goes along with slowly losing your ability to hear and communicate, and the adjustment process in receiving hearing aids.” Nashlea was at Acadia University in Nova Scotia pursuing a science degree when her Audiologist encouraged her to apply to the Audiology Master’s program at Western University in London. After completing her studies in 2003, Brogan moved to Sarnia, her husband’s hometown, and opened Bluewater Hearing one year later. Her sister Michelle, now a Hearing Instrument Specialist, also moved to Sarnia to help open the first clinic.
In 2005, a second location opened in Petrolia, followed by a third clinic in Corunna in 2009, which is also the year she completed her Doctorate of Audiology. “I furthered my education because I wanted to have a broader scope of practice and the ability to offer more services to our patients.” Bluewater Hearing provides hearing assessments, earwax removal, custom earmolds, various hearing protection options, tinnitus (ringing of the ears) testing and management, assistive listening devices, and counselling. “We have a strong team of Audiologists, Hearing Instrument Specialists, Audiology Assistants, and administrative staff all focused on overall hearing health. We encourage adults to have a hearing test to establish a baseline, much like an eye test, which we use to plan for additional testing or services a patient may need in the future.”
In addition, they offer a broad range of Hearing Aid technology, which has changed significantly over the past few years and includes invisible solutions, as well as rechargeable, bluetooth, smartphone-compatible, and wireless options. “Some of our hearing aids have activity trackers and heart monitors that connect to an app on a smartphone. We also offer virtual appointments through our client’s smartphone or computer so they can have a hearing aid check or tune-up from the comfort of their home.”
Brogan is passionate about counselling and helping people navigate their hearing loss experience. “We have clients who have ringing of the ears and are really traumatized by it. Other clients are scared they are going to go deaf and lose all their hearing. Our strong team approach allows time to counsel and journey with these clients.” Bluewater Hearing recently expanded its Sarnia clinic to create a new space for counselling. “We now have room for group rehabilitation counselling, presentations, lunch and learns, and educational events for medical practitioners.”
Brogan draws on her own experience; she was completely deaf by the time she was 37 years old and now has two cochlear implants. “Our mission is to give people hope with their hearing. There are so many exciting options and advancements in technology that can significantly improve quality of life and allow people to continue being active and outgoing. It’s really exciting when a client says, ‘You’ve made my life so much better because I can hear.’”