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Local audiologist shares passion with community

Posted: February 24, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 24, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Dr. Patrice Rifkind of Audiology Associates stands with her achievements in her Valencia office.

 

For as long as she can remember, Dr. Patrice Rifkind wanted to help people.

“I have always wanted to help those who need extra assistance, from my job as an audiologist to helping out at my children’s schools,” said the audiologist and owner of Audiology Associates in Valencia.

While she may not have always known her calling was to help people maintain their hearing, her patients are glad she figured it out.

Passion for patient care
As a teenager, Rifkind volunteered at a state hospital with the Exceptional Children’s Foundation. Later in her adult life, she discovered her passion for audiology.

“Many relationships have been improved by the work done by the hearing healthcare providers of Audiology Associates,” she said.

For many couples, the first sign of hearing loss is a blaring TV, she said. Quarreling over the volume or not being able to hear each other in the next room adds stress to a couple’s ability to communicate.

“Communication is vital for marriage preservation,” she said.

In another example, Rifkind describes a circumstance where a senior moves in with an adult child.

“Imagine the stress of not hearing your children,” she said. “There is noise in the background, and the family cannot communicate. Hearing loss increases stressors in everyday life.”

Though Rifkind helps many local residents, she has had patients visit from outside the country because better hearing is so important.

Vit Javanryotin flew out to Santa Clarita from Thailand and visited Rifkind.

“I came from Thailand to look for a new pair of hearing aids and chose Audiology Associates among others that were near where I stayed,” he wrote in a patient feedback form. “Dr. Rifkind took the time to explain everything, so that I could understand completely. Now I can hear in both ears.”

While her practice’s reach is both near and far, Rifkind strives to help outside the office, as well.

Community outreach
While her work inside the office is her main focus, Rifkind, a 31-year resident of Santa Clarita, assists nonprofits in the community, as well.

A member of the SCV Senior Alliance, Rifkind and her staff have provided hearing screenings at the SCV Senior Center on a bimonthly basis for the last 12 years, as well as a few other assisted living centers. Audiology Associates also provides free screenings at community health fairs.

“The SCV Senior Alliance is made up of various professionals who help seniors,” she said. “It is one more venue where we can provide assistance.”

Reaching out to another local population, Rifkind is a member of Zonta of Santa Clarita Valley.

“Zonta provides help for girls and women worldwide, including scholarships for women in aerospace, scholarships for middle-aged women in transition, awareness about domestic violence, programs to end gender violence worldwide, a holiday home-cooked meal program for seniors and other programs,” she said.

In addition to working with women’s and senior groups, Rifkind has helped raise money for various local causes.

She has participated in the 2013 Arthritis Walk, 2013 Circle of Hope 5k/Walk, the Parkinson’s Walk in spring of 2013, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in 2013 and SCV Senior Center Celebrity Waiter Dinner.

Audiology Associates also provides regular help in testing for the Veterans Health Administration.

“We enjoy supporting our veterans,” Rifkind said.

Rifkind has made it her goal to reach out to many different groups because the most basic degree of human connection, communication, is disrupted by hearing loss, she said.

“Audiologists help people communicate,” Rifkind said, “one of our most basic needs in life.”

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