By Leslie Feldman
Lisa Mariello-Baida, Au.D., of Flourtown Audiology, has not strayed far from her childhood home in Flourtown, and that’s just fine with her. A resident of Erdenheim, Dr. Mariello-Baida, 35, is quite content living and working where she spent her childhood and happy to raise her two-year-old daughter with her husband in the same neighborhood where she grew up.
“I always felt as though this area had much to offer,” Dr. Mariello-Baida explains. “It represents the quintessential neighborhood but also is close to many different places that boast more of a ‘city’ feel. You have the restaurants of Chestnut Hill, the shops of ‘the Avenue’ and the access to the city easily through public transportation. Living here gives you the opportunity to experience different locations while having a calm, quiet place to come home to.”
Dr. Mariello-Baida is a graduate of St. Genevieve School and Mount Saint Joseph Academy, both in Flourtown. She earned her B.S. degree in small animal science from Delaware Valley College, an M.S. degree in microbiology from Thomas Jefferson University and a doctorate in audiology from Salus University. Along with her private practice, Dr. Mariello-Baida is a clinical audiologist/clinical preceptor at The Pennsylvania Ear Institute in Elkins Park.
In 2007, Dr. Mariello-Baida was pursuing her master’s degree and as part of her thesis, she was doing research with breast and ovarian cancer cells. Ironically, the drug that she was working with had been proven to have ototoxic properties and caused hearing loss in cancer patients. “Although the research was fascinating, I was often working independently. I realized that I wanted to be working more with people. So, then I thought about having patients — trying to diagnose and treat certain issues. At the time, I had a friend that was looking into optometry programs.
“She was looking at Salus University, previously known as the Pennsylvania College of Optometry. Salus was beginning to get new programs, one of them being a doctorate in audiology. I did not know too much about the field, but I thought it could not hurt to learn more. When I went for a visit, I loved the campus and the facilities. I knew I would get a great education and many opportunities in the field of audiology if I went there. So I applied, and the rest, as they say, is history!”
Dr. Mariello-Baida treats patient for tinnitus (ringing in the ear), performs hearing tests and prescribes hearing aids, creates custom earmolds and offers patients assistive listening devices. But getting to know her patients is what Dr. Mariello-Baida enjoys most about this field. She has had the opportunity to work with everyone from newborn babies to the special needs population. Each patient is unique, and all have had hearing loss affect them in a different way.
“To my patient who is a 12 year-old boy, his hearing loss affects how he performs as a catcher in his baseball games. To my patient who is a 70-year-old woman, her hearing loss affects how she communicates with people on the phone. To my 90-year-old male patient, his hearing loss affects how he hears the BBC news. My goal is get people hearing better — and I enjoy going on the journey with patients to help address their needs.”
Dr. Mariello-Baida also loves doing community outreach and giving seminars on hearing loss. In January, she spoke at St. Genevieve School as part of Catholic Schools Week. “I had such a wonderful experience, and the children were so engaging and eager to learn about their ears! I also will be giving a talk this month at Center on the Hill. I will be discussing hearing loss and its effects on the mental health of the adult population. I think it is important to get out and offer some perspective to the community (of all ages) regarding hearing loss.”
Dr. Mariello-Baida says her field has grown tremendously, with people living longer and working well into their 80s. “No one is retiring at 65 anymore. And even if they are not working, they are still very active in their lives and communities. People need to hear. Hearing loss can make daily activities difficult, and I think people are realizing they need to get their hearing checked and address their issues. We are also seeing hearing loss among young people with noise exposure due to earbuds and headphones. So the field has grown and will continue to grow, I believe.”
When not seeing patients, Dr. Mariello-Baida loves to garden. She has been planting vegetables and flowers. “I’m still learning and doing some research. I recently had a little thief eat some strawberries I planted, so I need to learn the tricks of the trade. Fortunately, some of my patients are avid gardeners, and I have been getting some amazing advice from them!”
Dr. Mariello-Baida could not be any happier right where she is. “I love the area, I love the people and the accessibility it provides. I wanted to serve a community that had meant so much to me over the years. My family is here, I went to school here, and now my practice is here. Someone I used to work with always used to say ‘Bloom where you are born.’ I hope to do just that!”
For more information about Flourtown Audiology, 1811 Bethlehem Pike: 267-422-6985 or