By Raiza Giorgi

A remarkable majority of audiologists are women, according to a survey by Data USA, which is no surprise for Melissa Alexander of Alexander Audiology in Solvang.

She believes that since women are more nurturing by nature, it seems fitting that more women are entering the field.

“It’s similar to nursing, where people come to you at their worst and we are there to help them fix their issues of hearing loss,” Alexander said.

Alexander said that one patient came to her because he was having trouble sleeping, in a state of constant anxiety. She could tell by his facial expressions he was panicked.

“I asked him the routine questions of history of hearing issues, and he said no. I asked if he was exposed to loud noises, he said no, and when I did the hearing test he had 70 percent hearing loss in both ears,” Alexander said.

She said that his issue of hearing was cognitive and it should have been caught as a child. Somehow it never was, and in this patient’s mid-40s he learned how severely he was affected.

“I fit him immediately with hearing aids, and you could literally see the anxiety wash away. He had been reading lips his entire life and not even realizing it. He came back a week later sleeping well, anxiety lifted. It was a great feeling for both of us,” she said.

Alexander followed in the footsteps of her stepfather, who came to the Central Coast about 15 years ago to retire with her mother and opened a practice in Lompoc.

“I spent a summer working with him while going to UCSB. I originally thought I wanted to be a lawyer, but after that summer helping people I realized my calling,” she said.

She earned her doctorate from Rush Medical Center in Chicago and completed her doctoral residency at West Coast Hearing and Balance in Thousand Oaks. Alexander also served on the Practice Compliance Committee of the American Academy of Audiology, and was instrumental in creating guidelines for federal regulations with compliance standards for audiology.

She was the doctor of audiology at the House Ear Clinic in Santa Monica for more than five years. In addition to being a frequent lecturer at hospitals and community centers, she volunteers her time fitting Holocaust survivors with hearing aids at no cost and has a charitable program of no- or low-cost aids for those in need.

Alexander opened her first practice in Santa Monica, but when her stepfather really decided to retire she took over his patients as well.

“I love the valley and decided after seven years of seeing patients part-time I would open a full-time office,” she said.

Alexander is a leading audiologist in the management of tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and also helps patients overcome the stigma of hearing aids.

“People don’t realize, but even just a little hearing loss can be a big factor in dementia as well as other issues from depression, paranoia, and if left untreated can lead to speech impediments,” she said.

Since the valley includes rural areas where some of her patients are enthusiasts of shooting sports, she also promotes active-shooting ear plugs.

“With those plugs you can hear normally, and when you shoot it detects the sound and blocks the noise,” she said.

Alexander said that her practice differs from other audiologists because she makes house calls, has weekend appointments and travels to take care of patients.

For more information on Alexander Audiology, log onto or call 805-322-4522.