Barb is too danged humble to blow her own horn so I, her husband and business partner, will mention the things you would likely wish to know.
Barb Street graduated from Oregon State University (go Beaver’s!) with a bachelor’s degree in Speech Pathology in 1974, and earned her master’s degree in Audiology from Western Washington University in 1976. She has the Clinical Certificate of Competence issued by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (the national sanctioning organization for the hearing industry), and holds licenses issued by the State of Oregon to practice audiology and to dispense hearing aids.
Barb has worked as a clinical audiologist for the Seattle Speech and Hearing Center, as Director of Audiology at Highline Community Hospital in Burien, WA, and was lead audiologist within the ENT department for the Medford Clinic, at the time a medical group with more than 85 physicians on staff.
Barb also founded Siskiyou Audiology, which became the largest private practice clinic in Southern Oregon, and Imaginears in Ashland, Oregon. For more than 13 years, Barb was the only provider of services in the Rogue Valley for Medicaid patients and veterans at the VA Domiciliary in White City, Oregon. In 2010 Barb founded Barika Audiology, the first private practice clinic in the nation with Concierge Audiology, which emphasizes service and education over sales.
Educated, licensed, experienced. But is she good?
Just because someone graduates from college and is state licensed doesn’t mean they are good. So how does one decide which professional to trust? The only way I can help you is to provide a montage of anecdotes witnessed during a 30-year period of observing Barb, and let you decide.
Hearing problems are often easy to diagnose, but there are exceptions. I know of two people who were referred to the House Ear Institute for evaluation and treatment. For those who don’t know, House is where people go to get their toughest problems solved. It’s the Mayo Clinic of the hearing world. Unfortunately, even after treatment their problems persisted. By chance, each had a friend who recommended they give Barb a shot at seeing what she could find. It turned out both had tumors that were affecting their hearing. Why did the experts at House miss the diagnosis while Barb didn’t? It’s impossible to know, but I’m sure you’ve seen the phenomenon. Some people have an intuition, that sixth sense, that all the training in the world can’t instill.
I always wondered how Barb compared to other audiologists, until speaking with two ENT physicians. Before settling in the Rogue Valley, they had worked in a number of cities on the west coast. One of the doctors told me “Flat out, Barb is one of the top-five audiologists on the west coast.” The other said, “Barb is the best I have ever worked with, and I’ve worked with dozens of audiologists.” It’s possible they were simply stroking my ego, knowing that I was married to Barb. But it sure didn’t sound like it. They seemed sincere.
The Veterans Administration Audiology Department in Portland was getting complaints that it was taking too long to be seen for a Compensation and Pension exam. This posed a problem. The VA has strict standards their audiologists must follow. They are closely supervised, and for good reason. A C&P evaluation decides whether thousands of dollars of benefits will be provided to veterans. The VA decided to do something that had never been done before – contract with a private practice audiologist to do the work. They asked doctors who they trusted. Barb was selected to become the first non-VA audiologist to perform evaluations on veterans in Oregon.
A young woman, in her early 30’s, came to Barb convinced that she had a serious hearing problem and just knew she needed a hearing aid. After the hearing evaluation, the young woman was surprised to learn her problem could be remedied with an hour’s training. Barb could have sold the young woman the hearing aid she expected to buy, but it came down to making a choice: Do what is right, or do what is most profitable? I could give you dozens of examples, but the outcome is always the same. This is but one.
This will initially seem off topic, but it does relate. Barb’s father worked in law. As an attorney he won over 95% of his cases, and while serving as a Circuit Court Judge never had a case reversed on appeal (an astounding record). He served multiple terms on the ethics committee for the Oregon Bar Association, and is still in high demand as an arbitrator though he “retired” a long time ago. What does this have to do with Barb, and you…?
Barb adores her father. The father, the attorney, the judge. Most of all, she admires the way he has accomplished it. His preparation is the stuff of legend, and it rubbed off on his daughter. It means she does that extra hearing test to ferret out an obscure problem. It means she switches to a different hearing aid multiple times if she thinks even better results can be found. It means she tries “just one more little adjustment” to see if your hearing aid will work better, even though you are happy with it. Like her father, Barb doesn’t give up, doesn’t quit when the going gets tough, and thinks good enough, isn’t. The down side? All this may take a little extra time and effort on your part, too. Many value her approach, but not everyone will.
I’m sure some will think this subject morbid, but it’s a reality of life worth thinking about. During the 30 years we have been married, there have been many times I have found Barb in a far-off corner of our house – crying. Why? Because she learned that one of her patients had passed away. I think of those moments when I am being seen by a doctor and wonder, will they get to know me so well that they cry when I die? I hope so, because I know I’ll be getting their best care while I’m alive.
It would be much easier to list a bunch of promises about what Barb will do, but I believe the true measure of a person is reflected in what they have done. I hope this has been helpful for you.
- Glenn Street