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Written by the Marshall Independent
MARSHALL - Now hear this: Dr. Sharyce Baartman is the new owner of the Hearing and Speech Center. Baartman bought the business Oct. 1 from long-time owner, Dr. Linda Grong, after her retirement.
Baartman has worked at the center as an audiologist since December of 2013. Before that she worked for 14 years as an educational audiologist at SW/WC Service Cooperative, serving nine counties in southwestern Minnesota.
“I loved that job,” she said. “I loved working with children.”
The position was federally-funded and was subject to budget cuts, so she began working three-fourths of the time for SW/WC and one-fourth of her time working for Grong at the Hearing and Speech Center. “I learned so much from her,” she said.
The business includes the business manager, Christine DeGroot, who has worked there for a year, and receptionist Jenny Welch, who has worked at the center for five years. As a new business owner she depends on the expertise of her staff, Baartman said. She also has her father and husband, who are both self-employed, available for any questions she might have. “I’ve always wanted to own my own business,” she said.
Baartman said she likes working with the broad age range the business has. Although most of her clients are retired, she still works with children as well.
In addition, she now gets to work with the hearing devices, something she wasn’t able to do at her previous job.“We had to refer that out,” she said.
One of the latest devices synchronizes with the iPhone, Baartman said.
“There’s an app on there that adjusts to the loudness, bass and treble,” she said. “They have a Geotag on it, so if you are at Applebee’s, it will customize to a restaurant setting. It will turn off the back microphones.”
Unlike other hearing aid providers who often rely on computers alone to fit a device, Baartman said, she uses real-ear measurement, which is a more personalized approach. “Ear canals are different,” she said. “Computers are not always accurate.”
There is a variety of hearing devices that people can choose from.
“People want smaller devices,” she said.
Baartman matches the device to the hair color, or she might match it to a person’s glasses.
Sometimes she asks her patients, ‘are you wearing it?’ she said. “Because I can’t see it at first.”
Baartman gets her devices straight from the manufacturer.
“There are only about six major manufacturers,” she said. “If you buy from some private label, you can only go to that place to get it adjusted. Good follow-up care is so important.”
The Hearing and Speech Center is a member of Audigy Group, which means it adheres to a strict set of AGX certified patient care standards.
“There are only three that are certified in the state of Minnesota,” Baartman said.
A Minneota native, Baartman received her master’s degree in communication disorders from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and her doctorate in audiology from the University of Florida in 2005.