Hearing Matters Podcast

Philanthropy in Audiology feat. Dr. Amit Gosalia

May 25, 2021 Hearing Matters Season 2 Episode 25
Hearing Matters Podcast
Philanthropy in Audiology feat. Dr. Amit Gosalia
Show Notes Transcript

About the Hearing Matters Podcast
The Hearing Matters Podcast discusses hearing technology (more commonly known as hearing aids), best practices, and a growing national epidemic - Hearing Loss. The show is hosted by father and son, Blaise Delfino, M.S., HIS and Dr. Gregory Delfino, CCC-A. Blaise Delfino and Dr. Gregory Delfino treat patients with hearing loss at Audiology Services, located in Bethlehem, Nazareth, and East Stroudsburg, PA. 

Philanthropy in the Hearing Healthcare Community

In this episode Blaise Delfino discusses philanthropic giving with Dr. Amit Gosalia, of the West Valley Hearing Center in Los Angeles. 

Dr. Gosalia defines philanthropy as the desire to help others. He says that the foundation for wanting to help those in need is built in childhood. His father, who was a cardiologist, had Amit volunteer in the hospital during his summers.

He encourages everyone to go beyond their four walls and either volunteer or donate to worthy causes. He points out, however, that doing so to build up a business is not a good idea and is usually counterproductive.

The More You Give, the More You Receive 

Blaise points out that there is no such thing as giving without a reward. That reward is the wonderful feeling you get by helping others. Dr. Gosalia adds that if you give because you’re looking for something tangible in return, it is manipulation. He says people should give humbly and with the understanding that you are not doing it for praise but to make a difference in the world.

Who is giving in the Hearing Healthcare Community?

Dr. Gosalia says many big companies that manufacture hearing aids give through their foundations, including Oticon and Starkey. These companies donate hearing aids to countries around the world and across the U.S. They also do missions in foreign countries. Many celebrities join these missions to help promote prevention of hearing loss and the benefits of wearing hearing aids. At the local level Lion’s Clubs across the country donate hearing aids to those in need. 

What can Individual Practitioners Do?

Audiologist can volunteer to give free screenings in their offices or in the community. They can also donate hearing aids and batteries to those who cannot afford them. He gives the example of a team of healthcare practitioners who teamed up to do a health fair in Arizona. People could have free hearing, dental, eye, and blood pressure screenings. A screening takes about five minutes. If five audiologists worked together for a day, they could help hundreds of people.

Blaise says that Audiology Services has done many outreach programs in the community, including free screenings. During COVID-19, Audiology Services donated packages of different types of hearing aid batteries to the senior homes in the Lehigh Valley. The staff at Audiology Services always looked forward to those days. 

Where to go to if you Need a Hearing Aid and Can’t Afford One?

If you or someone you know needs a hearing test or hearing aids and can’t afford them, tell them to visit a reputable audiologist. Don’t rely on Google, as you may not get someone who is ethical. 

The Future

Audiology Services and Dr. Gosalia are hoping to team up with audiologists across the country to have a national day of giving in the hearing healthcare profession. 


Blaise Delfino:

You're tuned in to the Hearing Matters Podcast with Dr. Gregory Delfino, and Blaise Delfino of Audiology Services and Fader Plugs, the show that discusses hearing technology, best practices and a growing national epidemic, Hearing loss. We are so excited we are celebrating Better Hearing and Speech Month. And as promised last week, Dr. Amit Gosalia is joining us again on the Hearing Matters Podcast Dr. Gosalia, how is your Better Hearing and Speech month? Whoo. Alright, t's going great. Thank you for asking. I'm glad to be back again, talking about philanthropy today and better hearing month and Better Hearing and Speech month is a great time for us to be able to educate the public about hearing and hearing loss. I've done proclamations to the cities, here in Los Angeles up in the Pacific Northwest and in fact even developed a program for the American Academy of Audiology, which is on their website. If any providers are out there that are looking to try to do proclamations, it's a great time to do it. So thank you Blaise for inviting me back even after the first two. This has been an incredible mini series, Dr. Gosalia and again, thank you so much for joining us. Today is a topic that you and I are both so excited about. And so enthusiastic about because we are talking about philanthropy and hearing healthcare. Dr. Gosalia what is philanthropy? You know, philanthropy is essentially the desire to do better for others. As human beings at least I grew up with this value set and Blaise I know you did as well, you know, you've got a great father, Dr. Gregory Delfino, the idea is that we are trying very hard to make sure that we're just good human beings, right. So helping others do the things that we can to promote excellent welfare in others. And when it comes to the hearing care side, I think the foundations were set when I was a kid, you know, my father was a cardiologist, he's retired. And he used to make me go into the hospitals and volunteer during my time off when I was in elementary school, middle school. And it started becoming kind of my summer thing that I'd go and volunteer in the hospitals, because they had volunteer programs. And I would just go in every summer and suddenly became I had two jobs. And this summer, I had two different volunteer positions. Throughout the year, I started doing little volunteering, hearing there, and even down to feeding patients who couldn't feed themselves in their hospital rooms, to transporting preoperative patients from their rooms to the OR and post op sending them back. And you know, I worked in oncology, and just doing all the little odds and ends of these medical groups and hospitals needed. But that foundation starts at a young age. I try very hard, at least in my professional career, and my public speaking to encourage other doctors and audiologists and hearing care providers to go outside your four walls outside of your practices and try to be more philanthropic in your communities. Most of our colleagues are very good people, and they do these things. And for some people, it's a little harder. So I usually tell them, well, if you can't get out and do the things, then donate money to causes that mean more to you. So short story long, that's what philanthropy is. Dr. Gosalia, one of my favorite quotes is the more you give, the more you receive, and of course, being the change that you want to see in the world. It's cliche, but honestly, 2020 wasn't the greatest year, I think, for many of us, right? And just the feeling that you get from going outside your four walls, whether it be donating coats, or personally donating your time at a soup kitchen that makes you feel so good. And why is philanthropy so important? You know, it's funny, you say that there's an episode of friends where Phoebe and Joey are talking about, there's no such thing as giving back with no reward coming back to you. And the episode is hilarious, because everything she does there ends up being this reward that happens. And one of the final things was it just made her feel good. Right. So she did something and made her feel good, that was still the reward. Well, that's the only reward we should be looking for. When we're doing philanthropy. You want to help somebody or an organization out, you want to feel good about doing that. But do it for not only you do it for the welfare of these people that need your help. And it's so important, but it's not everybody has the means. Thanks to my wife, Charmi, who's a leader in her own right, she actually helps to connect me with some of these organizations because she knows that being a doctor, I can help on the medical side, and she's a leader so she can help on the board positions and helping the organizations grow. None of the nonprofits or organizations we work with are even related to hearing care. And the reality is we do it because it's so important. We think the causes are important. So we want to be there to help. Now granted, why would an audiologist be on a that supports women or men who have been attacked by acid, well, some of them have hearing loss. And so we not only donate time and money, but we can also test their hearing, you know, it comes right back, you give perfect quote at the beginning, we get that karma back to us. And as a business, we never strive to try to build our business on the backs of philanthropy. If you try to do that, or if that's your focus, you will fail. It's manipulation, essentially.

Dr. Amit Gosalia:

And number two, you're going to be very manipulative, and people will see right through. And I've seen it time and time again, with people that are involved in these organizations, and you know exactly why they're there. They're not there to help. They're there to try to get the word out about their business. And at least were able to turn around and say, hey, these people are coming in to our office. And guess what we have the ability and the access to hearing aids and hearing devices, that if somebody needs it, we do everything at no charge, including the hearing aids, we just donate our time, the devices. So that's where it comes back to me as the audiologist and what better month to promote that than better hearing month where we can talk about giving back to our communities?

Blaise Delfino:

Absolutely, Dr. Gosalia, I am a huge Gary Vaynerchuk fan. And he says that if you give with expecting something in return, that's manipulation, that absolutely piggybacks off everything you're saying you need to go into philanthropy, humble with humility and understanding that I am doing this not for praise. That is not while you're doing it, you are doing this because you are able to make a difference in the world and others are so appreciative of the time that you're donating. Now, it is better hearing in speech month. It is our goal to raise awareness of the importance of hearing health care, visiting an audiologist visiting a hearing healthcare professional who is currently doing philanthropy and hearing healthcare. Of course, we know that you and your wonderful wife, Charmie are very philanthropic, and you're donating your time and making the world a better place. But who currently in the hearing healthcare space is conducting a philanthropic movement? You know, it's a great question. I don't know how much time we actually have, because I can talk about this for hours on it. The reality is that there are some big organizations who are doing Philanthropy In the hearingcare space. But there are a lot of individuals, a lot of individual providers all around the country, all around the world, actually, that are actually doing philanthropic hearingcare. So some of the big players, there's an organization, I really enjoy supporting, I'm actually not part of the organization. But what they do is so amazing. The company is called Envios. They're actually not a company. They're a cooperative. And basically, it's a group of doctors who have gotten together to say, Hey, we're gonna take care of our businesses. So they all have their own practices, they take care of the businesses on a day to day basis, but every hearing aid that they order, a portion of those proceeds goes towards helping others. And they do missions, not only in the US or in their towns, they go all around the world and do these missions. And I use the word missions as a general term here, not just as a religious sense, but also just the act of giving back and they go into these missions where they go and fit hundreds of hearing aids on people's ears. The other two big players that are out there. One is the Oticon Hearing Foundation. And I know you and your dad and us as well use Oticon quite a bit. And they're a fantastic company. I know I heard the podcast with the President. Great podcast. He's a great guy, great musician, apparently I haven't heard him yet. I'm looking forward to judging that but you know, Oticon Hearing Foundation is a great foundation. And then a third one, which I really, really support currently, they have hopefully just temporarily shut down. But Starkey is another hearing aid company. Yes. And they do a lot of great work with their here now program. And they've done a very good job of involving celebrities into the organization. And the reason why they do that is because celebrities, they're like the big influencers right before social media influencers. They were the ones that everyone wanted to advertise products because people would follow what these people would say. So almost every celebrities been involved. One of my favorite football players who just retired Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals. He's heavily involved with Starkey Hearing Foundation. It's just one of those things that these folks are helping, they're helping by donating not only time, but hearing aids all around the world. There are a couple of other big manufacturers. I know that Sonova has a here the world campaign, but those are kind of the bigger ones. And then on the micro level clinics, a lot of our clinics are doing Philanthropy In the hearingcare space as well, where we have the ability to provide hearing aids and time and services like I told you earlier on what we do for these outside the audiology space organizations. And then finally, probably every community has a Lions Club. And the Lions Club has always been an eyes and ears foundation and so they usually will take donated hearing aids and every Lions Club is probably a little different, but you could actually find somebody who qualifies under the Lions Clubs guidelines. And you can also fit hearing aids on those folks. So it's in my opinion, of course, this is my own opinion, I think everybody listening, whether you're a doctor or you're a consumer or a patient out there should be taking advantage of your skills and your time and giving back to the communities. And I think if we all did that, sorry, for the cheesy phrase, if we all gave back the world would be a better place. Dr. Gosalia, this is one of my favorite episodes, because again, we believe in giving back to the community because without our patients, we really wouldn't be able to do what we love. And that's to help individuals throughout their hearing journey. So my question is this, what types of services can us as hearing healthcare professionals do to be philanthropic in hearing healthcare? Yeah, so you talked about Gary Vaynerchuk, earlier, what's the number one thing he talks about? gratitude? Right? You know, we've been very blessed that patients believe in us. And they support us by coming and seeing us in our private practices, that giving back part of it, the gratitude part is so important that whatever we can do to help is going to be a positive, whether it's you have a bunch of hearing aid batteries, and you want to donate those batteries. That's a huge, huge advantage, right? So we were on slate to go out of the country. I think it was Peru a few years ago to do this mission with Starkey, and things that are worked out last second. So we actually had to back out, but we sent 1000s of hearing aid batteries, because the reality is once somebody has been filled with hearing aids in a different country, they don't have the access to hearing aid batteries, right. It's such a simple thing for us, you know, hearing aid batteries don't cost a lot. So even if you don't have laying around, maybe buy a couple cartons of batteries and send them off to one of these companies that do this. The second thing is on the service side, you can do hearing screenings. The reality is that to do a hearing screening to identify if somebody needs to get a full evaluation done, takes less than five minutes per person. Imagine going into your communities and inviting folks that don't have the means to go to a clinic to get tested. And you test 100 people, and it takes five minutes each. That's 500 minutes. It's like, what less than nine hours, eight hours maybe? I didn't go to school for finance. So yeah. Yeah, get your calculator out, Blaise, get your calculator out. We do a little calculus here. The idea is that usually it's not just gonna be you, right? You're gonna have a team with you, right? Imagine if it's you, and you get three or four other audiologists to join, you get five audiologists, and you're all giving five minutes each to do these screenings. What kind of an impact can you make on that community? You're paying it forward

Dr. Amit Gosalia:

One day? Yeah, just paying it forward doing something that we can do in our sleep, right? Do a 5, 1, 2, and 4 screening on throwing numbers at people that probably have no idea what I'm talking about, just do a 500, 1,000, 2000, 4000 hertz screening, does the person pass great move on to the next booth, for example, I did not create this. But there was a program in Arizona where we did this with low income folks around greater Phoenix area. And I can't tell you how many kids we took care of. So we did vision testing. We did hearing screenings, they took wax out of people's ears, we did all kinds of stuff, dental screening, so most of us probably know a dentist, either you know him directly or you know them through somebody else. What if you involve the dentist and say, hey, let's give back to the community. You just look in people's mouths, find out about cavities. And then I'm not a dentist. I don't know anything about the dental world. But maybe you do fillings or whatever? Dentists can set their own rules on what they want to do and give him back but you get a dentist involved, maybe get an optometrist, yes, maybe a nurse or a primary care doctor, they can come out and do blood pressure screenings. What about simple blood tests? You can do screenings, you can do all these things. And when it comes back to us, our portion is just the hearing screening part.

Blaise Delfino:

Absolutely. So that collaborative approach Dr. Gosalia what this brings me back to when following graduate school. Which route do I take and of course, I chose the route of building Fader Plugs. And of course working at Audiology Services. And my wife and I she is just incredible. My wife Autumn, because she would set up community outreach screenings, and we would go to different churches and YMCA and I always and we both always looked so forward to those days because we get to raise awareness, we get to meet new people. And unfortunately with COVID we couldn't do much of that right now. But I will say your idea with sending out batteries when COVID happened, what we did is we put together a battery bundle pack went over to a couple of the nursing homes and said you might need these because we don't know when we're going to be able to be here. Do you know how good that made us feel? It's little things like that, that make a huge, huge impact. It's absolutely incredible. Dr. Gosalia, you talk about philanthropy, especially as it relates to the hearing healthcare space. Can I get Hearing aids from one of these organizations if I can't otherwise afford them? Yeah, absolutely. And I think this is a great question that a lot of people need to understand, you can get free hearing aids if you qualify. So we have patients who come in, and they have very little means they don't have the financial ability to pay a few 100 bucks for a hearing aid, let alone a few 1000 bucks for a hearing aid. And, you know, we want to help them, we can't just push these folks aside, most of these larger organizations, or even the individual providers who are doing this have the means we have the means we have the abilities, we have the access to provide free hearing aids for the folks that need it. Now naturally, you know, we're not a nonprofit organization. So we do it just out of the generosity of our hearts. We hope nobody takes advantage of that. However, the reality is that I can get free hearing aids from any of the manufacturers, if I ask them. And if I asked manufacturer, and they say no, I'll go to manufacturer B, or I'll go to C, I'll go to D, the reality is that we want to find that company who's willing to be philanthropic as well, yes. And we fall under the same value set that, hey, we want to help our patients, we are not making any money off of this. Can you also help support this cause? And most companies will say yes, so I'm talking on the micro level, in our clinics themselves. For example, we have a drawer that's full of probably, 20 Oticon, hearing aids, Oticon donated these hearing aids that we're able to use with our patients that can't afford hearing aids, we have a bunch of Starkey Hearing aids, we have a handful of Signia hearing. So we've got a bunch of different hearing aids from all these companies. And we're using them for folks that can't afford hearing aids. And again, I'm speaking on the micro level, I am of course speaking just for myself here, but anybody can do this. Anybody can do this. So if you're a provider, and you're listening, and you think, no, I've tried and they just won't do it, contact me, I'm more than happy to be your advocate or advocate alongside of you to have these companies help out. And if not, there are foundations. So like I mentioned, Envios is a great organization. Oticon Hearing Foundation Starkey Hearing funding, they've got these organizations that are built in that can really help support us in supporting the community. Dr. Gosalia, you're talking about these organizations? Where can we find more information on organizations providing help? If I am currently an individual who is experiencing hearing loss? Where do I start? How do I find these organizations? Where do I go? Great question. And I think the impulse answer here from me is going to be come ask us, come talk to me. So if you're in the greater Los Angeles area, and not even in the greater Los Angeles area, LA is a huge city, if you're close to my clinic, come in, talk to me, I will guide you where to go, not everyone's going to come see me. So the reality is that if you're close to Blaise's office, well go talk to Blaise, he will guide you in the right direction. If you're in New York, or if you're in Colorado, wherever you're at, we know colleagues all around the country who are doing this on a day to day basis. Don't just Google, you know, some of these places. Unfortunately, there's a lot of bait and switch stuff that can happen. And I don't want you as the patient to get ahold of some ad that was out there saying they're going to give you free hearing aids. And next thing you know, there's a bill in the mail, we don't want that no, come talk to somebody who is reputable. Again, we know where the resources are, whether it's us as a resource. Or if it's, again, I'll keep dropping these names. But whether it's oticon Hearing Foundation or Starkey Hearing Foundation, or Envios or whoever it ends up being we can at least point you in that direction. So come talk to us talk to an audiologist talk to a hearing care provider who knows what they're talking about, get that information. And then let them be your advocate to help you hear better, You know what I think we should do Amit. I think sometime within this year West Valley Hearing Center and the hearing matters podcast we're gonna team up and do some sort of philanthropic movement. I don't know what it is right now. But you have me really excited to continue to help patients on the journey to better hearing and whatever we can do here at the Hearing Matters Podcast, please let us know because again, we want to continue to assist individuals on the road to better hearing, Dr. Gosalia. We're still celebrating Better Hearing and Speech month, and what better way to conclude this mini series with Dr. Amit Gosalia from West Valley Hearing Center by talking about philanthropy and on behalf of the Hearing Matters Podcast and Audiology Services. Thank you for donating your time here on the podcast and just continuing to spread awareness of overall hearing healthcare. Well, thank you guys so much. And when you're ready to do this, it doesn't just have to be West Valley Hearing Center and Hearing Matters Podcast. I will get providers in every state involved and we'll do a whole National Day of Giving and it'll be something really tremendous. Let's make it happen. Let's break a record here, Dr. Gosalia.

Dr. Amit Gosalia:


Blaise Delfino:

You're tuned into the Hearing Matters Podcast with Dr. Gregory Delfino and Blaise Delfino of Audiology Services and Fader Plugs. Thank you again for tuning into our mini series with Dr. Amit Gosalia. from West Valley Hearing Center located all the way in Los Angeles, California. Until next time, hear life's story.