WHEELING - Deborah Flasko-Albaugh learned as a child the importance hearing plays in our lives, and that she wanted to help those with hearing difficulties.
Albaugh said her father, Al Flasko, was deaf.
"From the time I was little, I was always told to speak up, and speak clearly, 'or your dad won't hear you,'" she commented.
Deborah Flasko-Albaugh is pictured in her Elm Grove office.
Photo by Joselyn King
Albaugh now is a certified audiologist with more than 25 years experience and the owner of Hear Best, with offices in Elm Grove, Wellsburg and Mt. Lebanon in Pittsburgh. Through the use of hearing aids and other technologies, the clinic helps people to realize their maximum hearing level.
The business sells a product called "TV Ears" that gives them their own individual sound source when watching television. It also provides "ear level monitors" for local musicians that help them to protect their hearing while playing.
"Every once in a while I have an awakening," she said. "I'll be out, and a customer comes up to me and says, 'You've changed my life.' Or, 'I wouldn't have got that job without this device.'
"That's why I do this."
Albaugh earned her undergraduate degree in speech and hearing science from West Virginia University, and her master's degree from Hunter College in New York City. Her first postgraduate job was in the Wheeling/Steubenville area. She grew up in the Wellsburg area where she was a graduate of Brooke High School, and a member of the First Christian Church. Her father worked for Weirton Steel, and her brother was a dentist in Weirton.
Prior to opening a private audiology practice in Pittsburgh 12 years ago, her professional experience included traveling extensively for 10 years working for Oticon Inc., one of the world's leaders in research and development of hearing aids. As part of her professional career, she has traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark, Oslo, Norway and Paris, France.
As part of hearing care, Albaugh implements a technique called Client Oriented Scale of Improvement - or COSI. It is utilized for fitting and counseling people who struggle with the use of hearing aids, those who are just beginning to use them, and those considering using them.
Another procedure Albaugh utilizes in her evaluations is Live Speech Mapping.
This process ensures that when a person uses hearing aids, the aids are functioning correctly and providing a sufficient amount of amplification to hear "live speech."
This procedure is extremely important in determining the success of using hearing aids and should be done on anyone who complains that their hearing aids are not working adequately, she said.
Appointments can be arranged by calling the office in Elm Grove at (304) 905-9316; Wellsburg at (304) 737-3323; or Pittsburgh at (412) 341-2221.