We are pleased to announce that Lacey Sharp, Au.D. joined our practice in January and is currently accepting new patients.
“I am very excited to welcome Dr. Sharp to our practice,” said Erin Rellinger, Au.D. “She provides a great blend of top-notch clinical education and hearing aid experience with a strong passion for personalized care. I expect that her patients will especially appreciate her caring bedside manner and the detailed nature of her treatment plans. She truly gets to know her patients and their individual hearing needs and treats you like her own family.”
Dr. Sharp received her Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) and Master of Science (M.S.) degree from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Florida. Dr. Sharp is a licensed audiologist in the state of Georgia and a member of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA). She carries the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A), which is awarded by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She is also very active in her professional organizations as a member and current President of the Georgia Academy of Audiology (GAA) for 2021-2022 and the 2020-2023 Chair of the AAA Political Action Committee.
Dr. Sharp enjoys working with adults and geriatrics and is especially interested in cerumen management, hearing aids and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
We asked Dr. Sharp a few questions to get to know her better.
Q: What made you interested in audiology?
Lacey Sharp, Au.D.: I always wanted to do something where I’d be helping people around me improve their lives, and I have an uncle who is profoundly deaf, so I figured why not connect the dots? Hearing loss can have such an impact on your everyday relationships, your social life, and your independence. I truly enjoy what I do because of the science behind it, the often quick improvements I can provide, and the impact my work can have on patient’s everyday communication.
Q: Where are you from?
Lacey Sharp, Au.D.: I grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, about 15 minutes from the beach! I lived there until I went to college with my parents and two brothers, Cody and Lance.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do as an audiologist?
Lacey Sharp, Au.D.: I love to do initial hearing aid fittings and see my patient’s eyes light up when they get to hear all the sounds and clarity they didn’t know they were missing. Most age related hearing losses occur so slowly that people often don’t realize they’re losing their hearing, so this moment of re-connection to the world is my favorite.
Q: Where did you receive your professional training?
Lacey Sharp, Au.D.: I received my Bachelor’s degree in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences from the University of Florida, then obtained my Master’s and Doctorate in Audiology from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
Q: Tell us about your work experience before joining the Eye Consultants of Atlanta team.
Lacey Sharp, Au.D.: Before joining Eye Consultants of Atlanta’s Hearing Center, I worked at another private practice in Sandy Springs called Audiological Consultants of Atlanta (ACA). I fell in love with private practice when I joined that team, as I could spend the time with patients that they deserved, and make real connections with my patients. Before working at ACA, I was lucky enough to be a part of the team at Emory Midtown’s neuro-otology department (basically that is an ear focused ENT). During my time at Emory, I saw rare problems/diseases of the ear on a very regular basis. This prepared me for seeing unique and difficult cases seen less often in the world of Audiology, and it made me a stronger provider because of my time on that talented inter-disciplinary team.
Q: What do you think is the most exciting development in recent hearing aid technology?
Lacey Sharp, Au.D.: I think that my favorite recent development is the use of deep neural networks (DNN) and artificial intelligence (AI) being integrated into hearing aids. This technology allows for self-learning, more adaptive, and more natural sounding hearing aids due to the aids being able to learn trends on how you like to hear sound then adapt accordingly. I will say that I also love the simplicity of rechargeable hearing aids as well. Bluetooth capability would be my third favorite development as it allows people to hear using both ears when on the phone, track their hearing aids on a GPS if they are lost, or be able to mute everything around you in your immediate environment when on a phone call in noisy places.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
Lacey Sharp, Au.D.: I love having baking competitions with my friends, and can make a mean pie! I also love travelling with my husband. Our most recent trips were to go surfing and deep sea fishing in Costa Rica, and snowboarding in Park City. Yoga, Pilates, weight lifting, wakeboarding, and running with my dog (Eve) are some of my other active hobbies. Reading is another love of mine, so you can always find me with my Kindle! Most importantly, I grew up a hardcore Gator football fan, so despite doing my graduate work at Tennessee, you will always find me doing the Gator chomp during football season!
Q: What are your favorite fun facts about hearing loss?
Lacey Sharp, Au.D.: 1. Untreated hearing loss is correlated with dementia. 2. The use of hearing aids is not only good for your day to day, but actually helps your long term hearing. This is done by stimulating the nerve when it wouldn’t otherwise be stimulated, which helps maintain your speech discrimination abilities over time. Think about your hearing aid like exercise for your auditory nerve! It’s like the saying, “if you don’t use it, you lose it”, because the nerve needs stimulation to stay strong and recognize speech. This means that if you understand 80% of speech signals, our best chance of seeing that stay at 80% and not drop to a lower percentage like 70%, is to wear your hearing aids consistently. Did you know that even if you’re home alone in a quiet situation, that you should wear your hearing aids? This is because your brain NEEDS the stimulation from the hearing aids to prevent auditory deprivation!
Q: What do you think is the key to success for your patients to experience improved hearing?
Lacey Sharp, Au.D.: I think there are 2 keys: the use of Real Ear Measurements (REM) by an Audiologist to program the hearing aids to your specific prescription, and consistent use of hearing aids by the patient. REM is an underutilized method and is the gold standard for how hearing aids should be set or programmed. Unfortunately, only 20% of providers use REM due to the time it takes, the expensive equipment, and the knowledge required to use it. The point of REM is to take into account the patient’s specific ear size, instead of just assuming they have a perfectly average ear; without doing REM, the aids are not set to the patient’s true prescription for their hearing loss. If an Audiologist uses REM, outcomes are notably improved as far as success and audibility with hearing aid patients. The second key to success is consistent use of the hearing aids. The brain craves consistency in order to adapt to anything new like hearing aids. Consistent use also helps patients hear better in background noise because if you are used to hearing low level ambient noise at home in quiet, your brain has a better understanding for how to process complex background noise in places like restaurants or parties. This consistent use also allows for patients to more consistently stimulate their hearing nerves, which helps maintain stronger speech discrimination abilities over time.