Founded in 1996, Sandcastle Clinical and Educational Services’ mission “is to provide a full range of clinical and educational services to individuals of all ages and abilities.” In 2010, Sandcastle opened its spacious and well-equipped new facility on Strawberry Avenue in Lewiston where it provides a wide variety of medical and educational services for both adults and children including occupational and physical therapy, speech and language therapy, mental health services for individuals and families, and preschool and Pre-K classes.
The newest addition to Sandcastle’s repertoire is its ability to provide audiological services. In 2011, around the occasion of its 15th anniversary, Sandcastle welcomed Patricia Gosselin, Au.D., CCC-A, as its resident audiologist.
Audiology functions independently and in collaboration with speech therapy and Gosselin’s presence “has given us an opportunity to provide a diverse and complimentary range of services in the community,” explained Stephanie Gelinas, M.S., CCC-SLP, executive director of Sandcastle. "It is part of our attempt to provide comprehensive health care.”
Gosselin brings over 25 years of experience in private practice and large medical centers, in both Maine and the Boston area, with her to Sandcastle. She has worked with all ages, “from geriatrics to pediatrics,” and according to Gelinas, “is especially good with older populations.”
According to Gosselin, "Iindividuals often don’t realize the effect that even a subtle loss of hearing has on their quality of life. Studies have shown that hearing loss affects mental and cognitive health, earning power, and independence and quality of life.” Even a subtle hearing loss can lead to significant, painful and sometimes dangerous isolation and misunderstandings.
In addition, “The ear is your organ of hearing, and also of balance,” said Gosselin, who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of both hearing loss and balance issues in adults, children and difficult to diagnose populations.
Sandcastle’s audiology services begin with a diagnostic hearing evaluation. Results are shared with physicians. It is important to address any medically treatable issues before proceeding to amplification.
Working in a relaxed “no pressure” setting, Gosselin takes the time to find out how an individual’s hearing loss is affecting his or her life. The patient and audiologist collaborate on the best course of action based upon the hearing loss, lifestyle, and financial considerations, selecting the most compatible and cost-effective technology.
“Hearing aids today," explained Gosselin, “are more effective and sophisticated than they were even a few years ago. They are comfortable, automatic and less visible.”
Today’s hearing aids are able to adjust to situations by analyzing environmental information and can automatically adjust to factors such as the noise level in a particular area. They fit into an individual’s lifestyle by connecting to a multitude of assistive and functional devices including cell phones, telephones, televisions, computers, iPods, remote microphones and even dashboard technology available in many new vehicles. Proper fitting and instruction regarding the use and adjustment of the hearing aid is an important factor in ensuring success.
Hearing devices have to be maintained and Gosselin also provides cleaning and repairs, as well as programming and reprogramming when necessary. Sandcastle is also able to accommodate emergency appointments for sudden hearing loss.
According to Gosselin, “It’s not just the diagnosis and fitting of a particular device that makes the Sandcastle audiology program so successful. It’s the aftercare, support and opportunities for collaboration with other Sandcastle services."
Although the cost of audiological services can be somewhat daunting, Sandcastle can help individuals work with private insurance, Medicare and other private-funding sources to help them overcome the financial obstacles to better hearing. Many individuals who have benefited from Gosselin’s services have described their experience and outcome as “worth every penny.”
Gosselin finds joy in her work at Sandcastle. “This setting, as a nonprofit, allows me to take the time to work with people to figure out how the technology might work best for them. I love what I do,” she added.
And, according to Gelinas, Gosselin is “good at what she does.”
Gosselin described her work as “not just a skill, but an art," and believes that better hearing can be “empowering.”
Sandcastle strives to provide high-quality audiological services in a professional, thoughtful and supportive environment and invites you to discover how better hearing can improve your quality of life.
For more information, call Sandcastle at 782-2150 to schedule a consultation, or visit their website at www.sandcastlemaine.org/.