|Lori Trentacoste, AuD, FAAA, CCC-A|
That Lori Trentacoste, AuD, FAAA, CCC-A, grew up wanting to be an audiologist isn’t so surprising. As a young girl, Lori’s mother would pick her up after school and take her to Island Better Hearing, a hearing aid dispensary and optical office founded by her father in 1972. There, Lori would do her homework and watch as her mother manned the phones and her father, Bob “Trent,” fit hearing aids and eyeglasses for their small Huntington, NY, community.
Lori recalls, “I was around audiology from an early age, and I really felt it was so important. I think that had a lot to do with my father, who was a very empathetic and compassionate person. Everyone who came into the office was like a friend, and he was treated by them like a family member.”
The practice’s warm atmosphere drew Lori into being interested in what her father was actually doing with these office visitors. In high school, she helped him with paperwork and sold hearing aid batteries to customers, learning about their hearing challenges. Although Lori flirted with the idea of becoming a physician, by the time she entered college, she knew that audiology would be her chosen career.
The Family Business Expands
After graduating with an education degree from a liberal arts college in upstate New York, Lori went to the University of Buffalo for her Master’s of Audiology, followed by a clinical fellowship with an audiologist in Long Island and working at her father’s office part time. She received her doctorate degree in 2011.
“Hearing aid dispensers can’t test children, and I wanted to get more experience doing that. So after my Master’s, I worked part time for my father, part time at an otologist’s office, and also at a speech and hearing center that was predominantly pediatric.”
When she finally did join her father at Island Better Hearing full time in the later part of 1992, Lori had the experience and credentials to take on pediatric patients, and she quickly established relationships with several nearby school districts that have remained clients for more than 20 years.
Father and daughter continued working together and with other longtime staff members until 2009 when the senior Trentacoste retired.
In addition to continuing to dispense hearing aids, Island Better Hearing offers a full range of diagnostic audiology testing, including tympanometry, acoustic reflex, speech validation, real ear measurement (REM), otoacoustic emissions (OAE), as well as central auditory processing evaluations.
While Lori believes that diagnostics are important, she is also a strong advocate for rehabilitation and validation, making sure that patients have the right hearing aids and fit.
“We do an enormous amount of follow-up and hearing aid validation,” she says. “We do hearing aid evaluations with multiple hearing aid models, not just one.
“Besides patient recall, we send cards every 3 months and advocate that patients come back to make sure everything’s working right and that they are having the best result.”
To encourage patients to use their prescribed hearing aids consistently, the practice includes free hearing aid batteries for patients as long as a patient owns their hearing aid.
Lori says, “If we get one thing across, it’s to educate patients not only about their hearing, but also about their hearing aids: what they’re wearing, what the capability is, what their goals are, and that their expectations remain realistic for what they’re purchasing.”
Still a Part of the Community
Although her father is no longer part of the practice, Lori continues his warm and friendly, small community-feeling atmosphere. Island Better Hearing serves a large number of children due to the practice’s six school district contracts, and, of course, it also serves Baby Boomers and older generations.
Over the years, the practice has seen and used a great deal of new hearing technology. With the dawn of digital hearing aids, Lori has prescribed and dispensed the latest hearing solutions, from smaller and more powerful RICs to the latest in extended wear and ITC solutions, as well as water-resistant hearing aids.
“Today, you can get nano size hearing aids, and we can fit these little hearing aids to an array of hearing losses, as well as the more significant hearing losses. So the technology really does open up an opportunity for people to satisfy their hearing loss and also for them to like the way it looks and feel good about it.”
Lori also maintains a long relationship with a nearby cochlear implant center. “We see a fair amount of kids, pre-implant,” she explains. “We can help in determining whether they’re candidates, so that it’s a more successful process.“ Lori also serves bi-modal patients who are implanted with a cochlear implant in one ear and a hearing aid for the other.
Watching Hearing Aid Trends and Growing
Having seen hearing aids since she was a child, Lori continues to be excited about going to work every day, and enjoys researching the latest hearing technology trends.
“I’m always reading and doing research,” she says, “and I’m always motivated, especially when I have that client who is not so motivated to wear their hearing aid. It’s almost like it’s my challenge of the day. Winning them over and getting them to be positive about hearing aids and that hearing health is very important.”
Lori Trentacoste, AuD, FAAA, CCC-A
Island Better Hearing
1-03 Schwab Road
Clock Tower Plaza
Melville, NY 11747