Hobsonville Hearing recently celebrated two years in business by relocating into a new, state-of-the-art clinical space located on level 1 inside the Hobson Centre at 124 Hobsonville Road. “It hasn’t been without its challenges,” says owner and audiologist Abby Johnson. The clinic was supposed to open on the 1st of September 2021, at that stage Auckland was two weeks into its longest lockdown and Abby had already finished up at her previous job. “In hindsight,” Abby says, “that extra time was a blessing in disguise. I worked full-time, 40 hours per week on marketing and building the website. I had no experience whatsoever and learned everything on YouTube and Google. We wouldn’t have been as busy if I hadn’t had that time to work behind the scenes.” And busy it was, just 6 weeks after opening and with no receptionist, Abby was receiving 30 missed calls a day. “I told my partner Scott ‘I think I need to hire a receptionist!’ He was sceptical, so I asked him to come and cover reception the next day and after an hour of non-stop calls, he agreed I did indeed need to hire a receptionist.” In January of 2022, after receiving multiple applications for the receptionist position, Phoebe Franklin was the top candidate for the role. At just 21, Phoebe’s Gen-Z computer skills and flare for digital design meant that her role as receptionist quickly became an amalgam of reception duties and creating marketing content for print and social media. “Phoebe is one in a million” Abby says of the Whenuapai local.
Empathy at the Core: Redefining Patient-Centred Care
The decision to establish an independent practice grew from a desire to create a space where personalised care and attention could flourish. After working within a large audiology chain and seeing the commercialisation of audiology in New Zealand, Abby envisioned a practice where individuals with hearing concerns could receive the attention and expertise they deserve, unburdened by the constraints of a large corporate structure and sales targets.
The personalised approach extends beyond audiology. Hobsonville Hearing is not merely a place where hearing aids are dispensed; it is a haven where individuals find support and understanding in their journey to improved auditory wellness. This empathetic touch has fostered a chain reaction of loyal clientele, many of whom view Hobsonville Hearing as more than a healthcare provider but as a cornerstone in their overall well-being.
“Our customers have made Hobsonville Hearing what it is today,” Abby says. They recently hosted an opening party at the new clinic with over 50 of their loyal customers.
Breaking Barriers: Female Entrepreneurship in Audiology
In an industry where women make up the majority of audiologists, yet are often underrepresented at the managing director level, Hobsonville Hearing stands as a beacon of inspiration. Abby has not only succeeded in establishing and running a thriving audiology practice but has actively contributed to challenging stereotypes and paving the way for aspiring females working in healthcare. By demonstrating leadership in her field, she sends a powerful message that gender should never be a barrier to pursuing one's passion and making a significant impact on the community. “I have had so many former colleagues contact me for advice on how to go about starting their own practice or how they can improve processes in their own already established practice.”
Running an independent audiology business comes with its share of challenges, from navigating regulatory landscapes to competing with larger corporate entities. Now, more than ever, people want to invest in high-quality healthcare. With the advent of COVID-19, the trend for supporting local has also grown. People no longer want to be a number and are happy to pay or travel for excellent service.
The triumphs of Hobsonville Hearing are not just personal victories for Abby but triumphs for the entire community. The success of this audiology practice reinforces the idea that local businesses, particularly those led by women, can thrive and make a lasting impact.
Looking Ahead: A Future of Auditory Wellness and Empowerment
As Hobsonville Hearing continues to grow and evolve, the future holds exciting possibilities for the practice and the community it serves. Abby is currently recruiting for a second audiologist to join her in the practice and continues to look for new ways to differentiate the clinic from its competitors. Hobsonville Hearing offers hearing testing and ear cleaning for both children and adults and is an independent clinic offering hearing devices from all leading manufacturers. The most recent and exciting addition to their product portfolio is Phonak Lyric – a completely invisible hearing device that remains in the ears for up to three months. The opportunity to fit Lyric is exclusive and limited to very few clinics across the country. The commitment to excellence, personalized care, and community engagement will undoubtedly remain at the core of Hobsonville Hearing’s ethos.