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MEET DR. Kathy Feng, AUD., CCC-A
Doctor of Audiology
Dr. Kathy Feng is a NY State-licensed Doctor of Audiology with more than a decade of experience. As a child, she saw up close the effects of hearing loss on a person’s quality of life.
“My grandmother raised me,” she says. As her grandmother grew older, her hearing deteriorated and she became socially isolated and less independent because of it. Like many people with hearing loss, Kathy’s grandmother was never fitted with hearing aids.
Kathy started a career in finance after college, but she found herself wanting to help people on a more personal level. When her sister embarked on a career in healthcare, she was inspired to start training to become an audiologist. It seemed a natural fit.
So she went back to school earning a Master’s in Audiology from St. Johns University and a Doctor of Audiology from the University of Florida.
A Practice Built on Diversity
The practice was first established in 2006 in Brooklyn and two years later, she opened a new office in downtown Manhattan in the neighborhood where she grew up. This is a diverse, multilingual part of the city, with a high Chinese-speaking population and Dr. Kathy practices in both English and Chinese.
She’s passionate about serving her community, and equally committed to working with clients from all over New York City and around the world. Dr. Kathy’s patients come to see her from as far away as Africa and Holland, as well as just down the block.
Her clientele is diverse in other ways as well. When Dr. Kathy started her practice, she was inspired by her grandmother; she wanted to help older adults with hearing loss avoid the stigma and social isolation her grandmother experienced.
However, she soon found herself treating patients as young as 14 with high-frequency hearing loss; professional musicians who needed custom-fitted in-ear monitors; and people in their 20s and 30s with moderate to severe hearing damage, as well as older adults.
The Right Fit for Patients’ Ears and Lifestyles
Dr. Kathy believes that a hearing aid must suit not just a patient’s unique pattern of hearing loss, but also their lifestyle.
“You have to talk to the patient and determine the best option for them,” she says. “If they’re not comfortable with the hearing aid, they won’t use it.” It’s essential to get the details right
And getting the details right involves being meticulous about every patient’s unique needs. Dr. Kathy takes the time to understand each patient’s priorities, and considers multiple factors including aesthetics, visibility, comfort, and the environment in which the patient lives and works.
“I’m very familiar with all my patients, to the point where I can see their audiograms in my head, all the little nuances of each fitting,” she says. And she understands each patient’s unique preferences and lifestyle needs just as well.
Meet Some of Our Patients
Over the years, Dr. Kathy has helped patients of all ages and walks of life. These four patient stories give you an idea of how diverse her client base is.
Patient 1 was just 14 years old when she came to Dr. Kathy for the first time. She was struggling at school because she couldn’t understand what her teachers were saying. She had to copy her friend’s notes in class.
Dr. Kathy tested the patient’s hearing and discovered she had high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss. She fitted her with appropriate hearing aids and the change was dramatic.
“Seeing her face at our first follow-up appointment was amazing,” Dr. Kathy says. “She told me that she could hear the teacher now and no longer needed to copy her friend’s notes.”
The patient is now 24 years old and just starting medical school with her new hearing aids.
Patient 2 was 32 years old when he came to Dr. Kathy. He worked in finance at a major investment firm and his hearing is deteriorating.
The trading floor can be noisy and chaotic, and the patient needed hearing aids that would help him hear in crowded, echoey environments with lots of background noise, as well as on the phone. And he needed his hearing aids to be extremely discrete.
Dr. Kathy tested his hearing and found he had moderate to severe sensorineural hearing loss. She fitted him with hearing aids that performed well in his challenging work environment—and were nearly invisible, even on a man with a short haircut.
With these new hearing aids, the patient continues to thrive at his job and nobody knows about his hearing loss unless he tells them.
Patient 3 was 85 years old when she sought treatment. Like Dr. Kathy’s grandmother, she suffered from profound hearing loss and had started to become socially isolated.
The patient’s daughter brought her in to get fitted with hearing aids, and soon she was able to resume her busy social schedule, having normal conversations at family gatherings and connecting with her friends at senior centers.
Patient 4 was Dr. Kathy’s father. Fitting him with hearing aids helped him keep his close relationships with family, prevent social isolation, and maintain his independence.
“It’s so much easier to talk to him now,” Dr. Kathy says. “Family conversations have become less stressful, and I feel assured of his safety when he goes out by himself.”
Outside the Office
Family is important to every aspect of Dr. Kathy’s life. She met her husband, Simon, when they were both students at NYU. They now have two rambunctious little boys – Matthew, age 7, and Nicholas, age 3.
Despite a busy work schedule, Dr. Kathy finds time to hang out in the park with her kids, cook favorite comfort foods and adventurous new recipes, and travel. “Our family goal is to see as much of the world as possible together,” she says.