It’s evident why this family business has succeeded and prospered. Having started out in Chelsea Square in l984, Beneficial Hearing later moved to Hillside Center in 1992.
The center is now located on First Avenue, south of the hospitals and just one block off Hwy. 441/US 27 (next to the historic pillars).
“After purchasing the old credit bureau building, we gutted it from top to bottom,” says Robert Lightfoot, co-owner and repair tech. “The renovation took three months, and we moved in April 1, 2000. Alene, my wife, helped design the layout and use of every room. It is a very safe, inviting office and a productive workplace.”
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at why Beneficial Hearing remains so successful after 25 years:
The moment you call, you hear a warm, welcoming voice. Julie Houser, receptionist and scheduler, is on duty, efficiently and respectfully taking information on a patient’s insurance to verify hearing aid benefits.
After signing in and being greeted, you are seated in a comfortable lobby. The news is playing on a large, flat-screen TV. A patient fills a cup of coffee, and he is hardly seated before his name is called. Beneficial Hearing understands a patient has a busy schedule, too, and the golf course or bridge game may be calling.
Doctor of Audiology Leigh Ann Watts, daughter-director of the audiology practice, is busy doing a few administrative duties before taking another patient.
“Running a small business is not a small task,” she says. “Due to the economic climate, Mom and I decided to take on a few extra duties to help keep the budget balanced.”
“As a mom of a three-year-old,” Dr. Watts continues, “having a professional career is quite a balancing act—to wear so many hats and give my family the time they deserve. I am never off the clock. Our practice and reputation has grown with the referrals of the medical community and patients as well. We are most grateful.”
Dr. Watts’ next patient will require a comprehen-sive audiological exam and report to her doctor. This afternoon, she is addressing the nursing students at CFCC, and tomorrow is another Lunch & Learn presentation at the office.
Linda Haase, a board-certified hearing instrument specialist, is a five-year employee. She is demonstrating the new Siemens Tek bluetooth technology. She has programmed the new digital hearing instruments precisely to the patient’s audiogram, and now the patient is interested in upgrading his old aid.
“We are going to the lobby now, and you’re going to listen to the TV,” Linda instructs the patient. “Your spouse will hear the TV at a normal level, and you can have all the volume you need. The Tek transmitter is streaming the sound through your hearing aids in both ears in perfect balance.”
His eyes light up, amazed by the clarity.
“This is my birthday present!” his spouse says, and everyone laughs.
Past another exam room, Nina Mayes, an employee of 20 years and a hearing aid specialist, has just finished an audioscan verification for a veteran. The test verifies what the hearing aid is doing at the eardrum. Nina’s husband was a veteran, and she has a great deal of respect for the sacrifice veterans make, which can often affect their hearing. As he leaves, she hands him a card for a follow-up appointment, and he thanks her for all the time she spent with him.
“My wife is going to be so happy,” he says.
It’s Wednesday, and the parking lot is full. Debbie Everett from the Center for Independent Living is at the office on this particular day, issuing amplified phones by appointment from the Florida Telecommunication Relay.
Alene Lightfoot, audioprosthologist and co-owner of Beneficial Hearing, has just finished troubleshooting a feedback problem. Dr. Watts removes cerumen (wax in the ear) from the patient, Robert Lightfoot services the aid, and the problem is solved. Her next patient has been with her over 10 years and has had some health issues. She is being retested.
“There has been a change in your hearing,” Alene reports. “The good news is I can reprogram your instruments, and you should be hearing well again.”
“We are happy to be celebrating Beneficial Hearing’s 25th anniversary,” Lightfoot later reflects during a rare pause in her schedule. “It has truly been a family hearing affair. We say ‘thank you’ to our extended family of loyal patients for their support over the years and for their many referrals. It’s because of you that we celebrate and look forward to another 25 years.”
Mrs. Lightfoot pauses and then adds with a laugh, “I believe that would make Dr. Watts 62!”
Beneficial Hearing Aid Center
1847 SW 1st Avenue
Ocala, Florida, 34471