Crossroads Speech & Hearing--
Helping Patients For More Than 20 Years
by John Fries
The speech and hearing professionals at Crossroads Speech & Hearing,
Inc. in McMurray have operated a successful practice for more than
20 years. During that time, they’ve helped countless patients, including
a few generations of family members, and numerous neighbors. They’ve
worked hard to earn their patients’ trust and confidence, and have
always placed patients’ needs as their top priority.
Much can happen in two decades. For example, there was a time in the
not-too-distant past when hearing aids were cumbersome and the "aid"
they provided was good, but not great. However, times and technology
both change, and today the Crossroads staff are proud to be among
the first professionals in the U.S. to offer new a radical new approach
to helping people hear better than ever.
A few months ago, two Crossroads audiologists—Susan Hodges, M.A.,
CCC-A and Asha Bhashyam, M.A., CCC-A—were among 300 hearing care professionals
from across the US who were invited to participate in an advanced
hearing technology conference presented by Oticon Inc., a leading
manufacturer of hearing aids. The highlight of the conference was
the introduction of the Oticon Syncro, a new, state-of-the art hearing
aid that uses artificial intelligence to mimic the way sound is processed
by the brain.
By making up to 17,000 intelligent calculations per second, the Syncro
significantly improves speech understanding in loud environments.
"Most hearing aids amplify every sound in the environment and can’t
distinguish between foreground and background sounds," said Hodges.
"So, a person speaking to you and a car going down the street can
have equal volume through the same device. The Oticon Syncro, on the
other hand, is the first hearing aid that’s able to sort all the sound."
A computer chip enables the Syncro to recognize and prioritize multiple
sound bands and frequencies, thus reducing background noise. "This
provides the wearer with the most natural sound available in a hearing
aid to date," said Hodges.
Crossroads was established in McMurray in 1981 by directors Kathryn
L Rector, M.S., CCC-SLP and Christie-Ann Conrad, M.S., CCC-SLP, both
licensed, certified speech pathologists. The practice offers individualized
speech, language, cognitive-linguistic, voice, swallowing and hearing
services throughout western Pennsylvania, providing diagnostic evaluations,
therapies, education and counseling. In addition to its office near
Donaldson’s Crossroads, there are also outpatient locations in Wexford
and West Mifflin.
The Crossroads staff works with both adults and children, presenting
with a wide range of speech language swallowing, and hearing problems.
Crossroads therapists are trained in various techniques in working
with individuals with stuttering problems. Crossroads therapists also
specialize in delivering service to business executives who want to
eliminate regional an/or foreign accents. On-site corporate classes
and worksite individual treatment sessions are available upon request.
Although many of the services provided by Crossroads focuses on pre-existing
conditions, Hodges offers two bits of advice for long-term ear health:
"Use earplugs when doing work or participating in activities that
involve noise," she said. "This includes using power tools, cutting
the lawn with a power mower, and, of course, listening to loud music."
She also recommends not putting anything in your ears, even cotton
swabs. "Just clean the outside with a washcloth, and seek medical
help if you think you have an obstruction, like excessive ear wax
Crossroads Speech & Hearing, Inc. is located at 205 E. McMurray Road
in McMurray. The staff can be reached at 724-941-4434. Office hours
are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily and evenings by appointment. The
practice accepts most major forms of health insurance and health maintenance
organizations when referred by a physician.