Forty years after opening two separate hearing clinics, Columbia Basin Hearing Center will launch a combined clinic at the beginning of the year in Kennewick.
Doctor-owners Shannon and Neil Aiello bought the old Center Vision Clinic building at 4015 W. Clearwater Ave. in Kennewick.
The Richland office on Van Giesen Street and the Kennewick clinic on North Edison Street will close the last week of December. The new office opens Jan. 2.
We will be able to provide better patient service by being under one roof.Shannon Aiello, co-owner of Columbia Basin Hearing Center
“The hearing care we will now be able to offer by having our whole team in one location will be unmatched in the Pacific Northwest,” Neil Aiello said.
Shannon Aiello said both offices were “pretty maxed out.” “We’ve outgrown both of our clinics in a big way,” she said.
Expanding into a bigger 5,000-square-foot building will allow staff to accommodate walk-in appointments, provide extended hours and house the team in one place.
Columbia Basin Hearing Center employs 15 people in the Tri-Cities, including the Aiellos, a clinical audiologist and a hearing instrument specialist, and two others at its Walla Walla clinic. The Walla Walla office isn’t affected by the Tri-City changes.
Neil Aiello’s father Francis Aiello opened the clinic in 1978. He has since retired.
The Aiellos bought the Clearwater Avenue building. They currently lease the 2,200-square-foot office in Kennewick and the 1,600-square-feet clinic in Richland.
The Aiellos have been married for seven years and they have a 6-year-old daughter. Their blended family also includes a 12-year-old son and two daughters, ages 23 and 21.
Consolidating the offices also reduces other redundancies, Shannon Aiello said.
“We will be able to provide better patient service by being under one roof,” she said.
Shannon Aiello said she’s particularly excited about having a big conference room in the new facility.
“Every month we do patient seminars on hearing health, or technology. Now we can host the public in our own facility,” she said. In the past, the center has held these sessions at Brookdale Meadow Springs retirement center.
Columbia Basin Hearing Center serves up to 60 patients a day in the Tri-Cities.
Most of the patients are senior citizens, though more Baby Boomers are starting to come in, Shannon Aiello said.
Dal and Freeda Cervo visited the Richland office to adjust Dal’s hearing aid before the busy Thanksgiving holiday.
The 88-year-old Kennewick man has been a patient at the center for about 20 years. The couple keep returning because “the staff is very nice,” Freeda Cervo said. “A business is built upon the front office people. They make you feel good,” she said.
Michele Chappell, an audiologist assistant, said it’ll be nice to have all the center’s staff at one location to help with patient overflow. “It’ll be good for the practice,” she said.
The clinic’s team of audiologists work to minimize the effects of hearing loss with early detection, correct diagnoses, proper treatment, and a commitment to solving the problem. Services offered include evaluations for hearing loss, tinnitus and cochlear implants, as well as hearing aid services, hearing protection devices, pediatric testing, aural rehabilitation, hearing aid repairs and hearing aid fittings and counseling.
“With hearing, you have to retrain the brain to process sound differently,” Shannon Aiello said. “Everyone likes to hear a little differently.”
Medical insurance typically covers a hearing screening but not the hearing aids, which can cost $3,000 to $7,000.
Giving back to those in need is important to Neil Aiello. He recently returned from a trip to the Phillippines, where he participated in his fifth international hearing mission with the Starkey Hearing Foundation. He and a team of about 10 other volunteers fitted hundreds of Philippines with hearing aids daily. The mission team expected to fit more than 6,000 people with hearing aids.
“Many of the people we fit travel by foot for days to receive their hearing aids. Many have lived their entire lifetime without the opportunity to hear. To be able to be a small part of this process is life changing,” Neil Aiello said.
He has previously traveled internationally with the foundation for hearing missions to Africa, Peru, Mexico and Indonesia.
The Aiellos also have helped people closer to home through the foundation by fitting hearing aids for those living in poverty.
To celebrate their new location, an open house is planned from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 27 that will include tours of the new office, free hearing screenings, free cleaning of hearing devices and a chance to win a digital hearing aid. A grand opening is planned in May, which is Better Hearing Month.