Audiologist Dr. Georgine Ray treats hearing disorders
By Kamala Kirk
For almost 40 years, Dr. Georgine Ray has helped improve the quality of people’s lives by diagnosing and treating various hearing disorders. From young children to the elderly, she works with people who are struggling with issues such as hearing loss and tinnitus, offering an advanced level of expertise, quality care and support to her patients.
“I see patients of all ages because hearing loss is not discriminatory to any particular age,” Ray says.
“Some people are born with it, while others have a genetic predisposition. The two biggest factors are age-related and noise exposure hearing loss—most patients have one or the other. Another important part of our scope is monitoring patients for ototoxicity, especially those undergoing chemotherapy or heavy-duty antibiotics. We dig deeply to understand what a patient’s personal needs are, then we customize a treatment plan around that.”
Prior to opening her private practice in Phoenix, Ray worked in pediatric audiology for a decade, which gave her a deeper understanding of children’s needs.
“Treating children with hearing issues helps foster language development, which is critical because speech development won’t happen easily without good hearing,” she shares.
“When people get older and develop hearing issues, they tend to become more introverted and recede from activities they can’t participate in. Studies have shown there is more depression among people with hearing loss who don’t get it treated, while ongoing studies are being done to see what’s happening to the brain when a person can’t hear well. It’s very important to us to help treat hearing loss.”
Born in Pennsylvania, Ray spent most of her childhood in Ohio before moving to Arizona in 1975 to attend ASU. While there, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1979, followed by a Master of Science in 1983. She planned to pursue a career in education, but while working in special education at ASU with deaf and hearing-impaired students, she developed an interest in communication disorders and ultimately changed her major.
“Not everyone realizes that speech pathology and audiology are cousins,” Ray says. “When entering graduate school, most people studying communication disorders focus either on hearing or speaking. I chose hearing, which helped shape my career path.”
Prior to founding Affiliated Audiology Consultants in 1991, Ray worked in various settings, including hospitals, ENT offices, and field clinics for Indian Health Services in Arizona. Then, in 2003, she earned her doctoral degree in Audiology from the University of Florida.
When treating patients at her practice, the first thing Ray does is perform evaluations to diagnose their condition to determine the best treatment plan.
“We work closely with primary care physicians and ear, nose and throat specialists to determine the nature of the hearing loss,” she explains. “Only 10% to 15% of hearing loss cases are treatable by medication or surgery.”
If a patient’s hearing loss isn’t treatable by medical means, the next step is an amplification device. There have been many advancements in medical technology over the years, which are helping to lessen the stigma of wearing a hearing aid.
“Most of the newer devices have Bluetooth capabilities and can be connected to one’s phone,” Ray says. “There have been a lot of exciting developments in the industry. I remember feeling at odds years ago when there was very little that we could do to modify a prescription. Now we have almost full control over customizing and personalizing a patient’s prescription to meet their specific needs.”
Outside of her practice, Ray is a firm believer in being active in professional organizations. On a national level, she is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology, where she previously served on the board of directors. She also served on the inaugural board of governors for the American Board of Audiology, and she was on the Arizona Department of Health Services’ Advisory Committee for seven years. At a local level, she is a past president of the Arizona-Speech-Language-Hearing Association and also served as program chairwoman of its annual convention.
“It’s a very rewarding experience because these involvements help me stay active on a local level and keep me up to date at a national level so that I can be better prepared for what’s coming down the road,” Ray says.
Through it all, Ray remains passionate about assisting her patients and helping them achieve their desired end results when it comes to hearing loss.
“We take pride in our office that no two people are alike and everyone’s needs are different,” Ray says. “We’re extremely patient driven and focused on providing the best service. I love what I do because it helps improve one’s quality of life at any age.”
Dr. Georgine Ray
Affiliated Audiology Consultants Inc.
4545 E. Shea Boulevard,
Suite 174, Phoenix
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