Dr. Kristi Mendoza became interested in Audiology while attending U.C., Santa Barbara. "I had started as an Economics major and determined fairly quickly that it didn't have contact with individuals as much as it had contact with papers and computers. I attended a Career Fair and they had a booth for Speech and Hearing Sciences. I talked to the representative and they explained what this major entailed. It was a combined degree where you would take both Speech and Hearing science classes for a full degree. At that moment I thought I wanted to be a Speech Pathologist."
As the classes progressed, she began taking Audiology classes alongside the Speech classes. When she enrolled in Physics Of Hearing, she instantly became hooked on the science, mathematics and objectivity of the class. She became interested in the Anatomy of The Ear. "I found it amazing the way that we take sounds coming out of a person's mouth and transfer that to the moving of air molecules to the ear of another person. Then, the sound is transmitted to the brain through various processes and being interpreted by the brain as language. It then has to be processed cognitively and responded to by the person who hears the message. All of this has to happen in milliseconds of time. It's pretty fascinating to me."
Dr. Mendoza's continuing fascination with the science of audiology ensures her patients get the very best care available for their hearing loss.
Dr. Mendoza went on to get her Masters Degree from C.S.U., Long Beach where she graduated and completed her thesis on Auditory Brainstem Response Testing which was revised and then published in an article, Auditory Brainstem Response to Tone Bursts in Quiet, Notch Noise, Highpass Noise and Broadband Noise. During her time in the Masters Program, she subsequently obtained her Hearing Aid Dispensing License 6 months before graduation. This allowed herto work immediately upon graduation as both an Audiologist and a Hearing Aid Dispenser.
"My interest has always been bent towards helping people communicate better with the use of hearing devices. This includes those with hearing loss, those with tinnitus, history of hearing loss (Veterans, Occupational Noise) and those with auditory processing difficulties," she says. Amplification has been proven to be beneficial in all these situations.
In 2009 she obtained her Doctorate of Audiology from A.T. Still University in Arizona. The Doctorate degree was that next step in her vision of being a Business Owner, specifically in the realm of Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensing.
Outside of the office, Dr. Mendoza enjoys gardening, adult coloring books, creating art from found items, spending time with her three kids, and enjoying her three dogs. Gardening gives her an outlet from work in a quiet environmentm and she can spend all day outside weeding, planting, or watching the clouds move around the sky. Adult coloring books allow her to be creative in a quiet world and then to share her creation with someone either in person or through the mail. "Crafting comes from my Mom who is an artist. She has taught me to enjoy art in any form, and with items that you find around the house," she says. She loves spending time with her three kids (Brayden, Engineering Student, Taylor, Cosmetologist/Hairdresser and Sydney, Audiology major currently in school). She also loves her three dogs, Asap and Whiskey, who are White Labrador Retrievers, and Shadow who is a German Shepard.
After more than three decades serving indivuals with hearing loss, Kristi says "Working with individuals, real people who can't hear, has been THE most rewarding thing I have done in my life besides being a mother to my 3 kids and 3 dogs."
Our focus and speciality at Optimum Audiology is our work with Veterans and Seniors in the High Desert. "The Veterans that come to see us are often scared to admit they have hearing loss, tinnitus, and having difficulty processing information," says Mendoza. This is often due to not wanting to believe the noise exposure has slowly diminished their hearing or that the tinnitus they have is interfering with their ability to hear, causing difficulty with their sleep, difficulty being able to focus, and difficulty feeling engaged with people at work and in their homes.Testing reveals many answers they have thought were true but didn't know how to put into words. They somehow feel they will appear less brave or as complete of a person if they have issues with their hearing. It is not uncommon to have Veterans cry at being able to hear. They feel relieved knowing they will get help and they begin to have hope that their tinnitus and hearing issues will be resolved.
The seniors population has been Dr. Mendoza's specialty for over 30 years, giving her joy and holdingd her attention in her chosen career since the very beginning. "The fact that they have experienced life and allow me a view of their world, is truly humbling." They give her advice and laughter, and they allow her to help them to be able to hear and communicate with their loved ones at home, over the phone and while out shopping.
"These patients give me a big reason to live my life in a bigger and better way so I can in return give back to them some of what they have given to me in my time with them."
The best part of audiology is working with people and having them experience being able to hear better when they come in to get their hearing aids. We are proud and grateful to have been able to help:
Those with hearing loss so severe, they thought they were beyond help. They weren't and they cried at being able to hear and get engaged with their family and the world.
Those with tinnitus that were experiencing inability to sleep and frustration at not being able to hear people due to the interference of tinnitus. However, with sound therapy or amplification/hearing aids, they have gotten their world back and can go out and enjoy life.
Providing hearing aids with Bluetooth technology that allows the user to hear streamed sound from their phone for phone calls and be able to hear their family members that live far away. For so many years, they couldn't hear family and friends when they called. Now, with new technology they can hear through both ears which allows sound to be processed much more efficiently.
Those with more mild hearing loss being affected by masks and social distancing and coming in for help and finding freedom in being able to hear and live life with new rules and guidelines like masks, distancing and plexiglass partitions. COVID has brought new issues to light.
Taking wax out of people's ears and restoring their hearing, simply in the wax removal. This is not always the case but is sometimes the reason someone can't hear.
Dr. Mendoza recalls one of her favorite memories was working with a patient, named Beetle. He brought her a necklace made of silver and turquoise. It was originally his own belt buckle. He took the belt buckle to his local jeweler and had it made into a necklace for her. She says "It stands as one of the most generous and kind things that has been done for me from a patient."
Optimum Audiology cares for our community by giving back to the community at various different events. We sponsor individuals, direct a local hearing non-profit, and partipate on Humanitarian trips to other countries to give the gift of hearing.
Optimum Audiology is a member of an Audiology Cooperative called Entheos. This is a group of Private Practice Audiologists that give back to their local community through Hearing The Call, a nonprofit to provide hearing aids to those who can't afford hearing aids.
Dr. Mendoza has also helped in Kenya, Africa, on a Hearing Humanitarian Mission with Starkey Hearing. She felt this was not only an eye opening experience in helping people hear but also in being able to travel and meet people of a different culture.
Dr. Mendoza recently volunteered at Hearing The Call Colorado where individuals from the community were able to get hearing aids after being nominated. This experience brought her closer with other Audioloigsts in Entheos and with various college students. The experience is one of ways she saw how to do an in-house Humanitarian Mission in order to bring this to the High Desert.
Optimum Audiology and Dr. Kristi know hearing matters and are here to help you.