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Miracle-Ear office now serving EC area

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John Schaeffer, shown here, Wednesday, is the patient care coordinator of the new Elizabeth City Miracle-Ear.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Miracle-Ear hearing aid products chain now has a location off Weeksville Road.

The location opened this past Monday and is being led by John Schaeffer, 30, a former Navy combat corpsman.

Schaeffer said he’s the location’s patient care coordinator and said specialists will be rotating in and out from the Raleigh-Durham area to serve clients from the Edenton area to the Outer Banks. The location is a franchise owned by Scott Whipkey of the Charlotte area.

Asked why Whipkey and his team chose to have a Miracle-Ear location in Elizabeth City, Schaeffer said, “They felt it out and they thought there was a need in this area.”

Schaeffer said he believes what’s mostly found in the Elizabeth City area are clinics led by audiologists, which he said is fine to go to for many hearing-related services.

He said, however, if a person just needs a hearing examination and a hearing aid, they don’t need to go the point of arranging for specialty care.

“So, for the majority of people to go there, it's going to cost you some money every time,” he said.

An item on display in the Elizabeth City Miracle-Ear is a caption phone.

“Those are really cool because it displays everything that’s said for a caller” onto a display screen, Schaeffer said.

Miracle-Ear is was founded in 1948 in Minneapolis and has approximately 1,300 locations. The company today is a subsidiary of Amplifon, which is an Italian-based worldwide distributor of hearing aids.

Schaeffer brings much understanding about hearing-challenged persons to his new position.

That’s because his father was a Navy military police officer stationed in The Philippines when he was shot while arresting a contractor. The father suffered both tone deafness and severe tinnitus, that is, a ringing sound, as a result of the incident.

Schaeffer was born in The Philippines, but claims Moyock as his home. He served about eight years in the Navy, including tours of duty in Iraq in 2006 and in 2008.

He also was an emergency medical technician for a time in the Elizabeth City and Moyock areas and worked in nursing in California for a time.

Schaeffer said he got interested in his the business after talking with his girlfriend, a physician who’s in family practice in Portsmouth, Va, about the ear.

He said, by coincidence, he saw the opening for the position with Miracle-Ear, put in an application and promptly received a call back.

Asked about his hopes for the immediate future for the business, Schaeffer said, “It's nice because it's kind of your own kind of program.”

He said he certainly has many guidelines he has to follow, but he said “you're not micromanaged as much.” 

As for his long-term goal, he said, “One day, I want to open my own business.” He said he’s not yet specifically certain what kind of business, but he indicated he’s interested in the medical transportation business.

The Elizabeth City Miracle-Ear is at 1831 Weeksville Road, in the Hoffer retail center.

The Elizabeth City Miracle-Ear’s hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and the business can be reached at 590-0339.

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