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Meet Melissa Alexander of Alexander Audiology in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Alexander.

Melissa, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I graduated from UCSB with a degree in Political Science, intending to go into environmental law. When it was time to apply for law schools, something in my heart told me I was meant for something else. My mother had been a nurse, and her husband was an ENT. Through them, I was exposed to the medical field, and I began to feel that I should be in a healing profession. Instead of Law School, I applied for a graduate degree in Audiology.

I trained at one of the top medical schools in the nation for Audiology, Rush University Medical Center, in Chicago. At Rush, I rotated through every aspect of hearing healthcare: cochlear implant mapping, balance disorders, tinnitus management and aural rehabilitation. I saw the effect hearing aids had on people’s lives, and I knew that was the direction I wanted to take my career. I learned that hearing aids do not just restore hearing – they improve relationships, increase patient confidence and reduce social isolation.

After graduate school and clinical externship, I accepted a position at the world-famous House Ear Clinic, running their Santa Monica branch. During my time at House, I developed meaningful relationships with my patients. Through word of mouth and patient referrals, I grew the practice to double its former size.

In my practice, I always try to provide unparalleled service. I make my cell phone number available, make weekend appointments, and even house calls. I go above and beyond for my patients because that’s what their families deserve.

In this profession, I sometimes see families in crisis. Perhaps a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, a spouse may be suffering with dementia or has had a stroke. My job isn’t to sell hearing aids. It’s to provide the type of counseling and support that patients and families need in both good times and hard times.

When House’s Santa Monica clinic was sold to a major healthcare conglomerate, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to provide the personalized support my patients have come to expect. I opened Alexander Audiology in January of this year, and we’re seeing lots of our old patients walk through the door, along with new ones.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
There definitely have been some obstacles along my journey. Because my background in Political Science was a Humanities degree, I had to obtain a second undergraduate degree in Communicative Disorders and Sciences before I could apply for my doctorate.

Graduate school doesn’t prepare you necessarily with the challenges of working with families in crisis. You have to be a certain kind of person to provide loving care, even when a patient is at their worst. I believe I had those genes passed down to me by my mother, who was an RN for thirty years.

At large medical conglomerates, sometimes patient care must take a back seat to profits. Sometimes best Audiology practices aren’t followed because we’ve got to get patients in and out quickly. This is something I knew I had to change in my own practice.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I’m proud to say that today I have the best private Audiology practice in Southern California. Alexander Audiology services the entire LA area as well as the Central Valley of California. We donate our time to assisted care facilities, perform cochlear implant mapping, see pediatric patients as well as adults, and work with patients suffering from tinnitus. We volunteer for the Musiccares foundation, which provides support and community services to musicians in need of medical, personal and financial assistance. Most importantly, we give patients and their families our whole heart and support them in any way that they need.

I realize fully that hearing aids aren’t just a product that I sell and send the patient out the door. It’s about relationship-building, confidence growing and providing the patient and their families a one of a kind experience.

What were you like growing up?
I am a native of Southern California. I grew up in Northridge. When our home was destroyed in the famous 1994 earthquake, I learned a lot about true priorities – the value of family, community, and health over material things.

I attended the North Hollywood Zoo Magnet school, a high school located inside the LA Zoo. In addition to regular high school classes, we took courses in animal biology.

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