Center for Better Hearing Aids

Hear Better, Live Better

190 El Cerrito Plaza, El Cerrito, CA 94530
(510) 526-3824

Patient Focused. Emphasis on Understanding and Education. No Pressure.
That's our model for Long-term Success.

Our Hearing Professionals

Gregory Free

Gregory Free
HAD, ACA, BC-HIS

[email protected]

(510) 526-3824

It all started with Grandma. Born deaf in one ear, my grandmother worked diligently with the hearing-impaired and deaf communities. She and her girlfriends raised millions for the John Tracy Clinic in Los Angeles, and she served on its board for 40 years. This famous clinic (http://www.jtc.org/), a world-renowned provider of audiology diagnostics, education and resources for families who have children with hearing loss, gives those children the wonderful services Grandma could have used in her childhood. Thanks to Grandma, I was inspired early on to help the hearing-impaired and deaf. My first best friend, “Bruce,” was born deaf, and at that age we would play as regular kids, not yet needing verbal or sign language to communicate. After learning American Sign Language, I led wilderness trips for the hearing-impaired through Inner City Outings (ICO), taking groups rafting, backpacking and snow-camping, to enable them to enjoy nature and practice their ASL communication with one another in challenging situations. As my commitment to helping the hard-of-hearing grew, I sought pathways in audiology. While completing a B.S. in Communication at Evergreen State College, I focused on hearing aid dispensation, as I marveled at those advanced miniature computers with the microchip capacity to help their wearers with one of the most important human senses. Both of my parents were computer programmers, and I had learned computer programming at the Lawrence Hall of Science beginning at age 8. So I knew I had found my calling: to help the hearing-impaired by working with this amazing hearing-aid technology, verifying its efficiency, and providing counseling for its proper use. Even 20 years after obtaining my Arizona and California hearing aid dispenser licenses. I still love my life’s work, and I am pleased with the progress audiology, hearing science and hearing aid technology has made. And I am committed to keeping abreast of the latest developments in hearing-aid technology so I can provide the best possible hearing-aid dispensation service now and in the future. Grandma’s legacy has filled my life with great purpose—and I am so proud she remains a part of me and I can give as she did to help the hearing impaired.

Jim Crane

Jim Crane
HAD, BC-HIS

[email protected]

510-526-3824

In 1979 Jim started his professional career in Electronics here in Northern California, just as the Silicon Valley was establishing itself as the technology center of the world. His keen interest in digital electronic circuitry and design latter developed into a desire to help others by means of this powerful emerging technology. Today Jim is a California Licensed Hearing Aid Dispenser, and is Nationally Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences, and has been practicing the art and science of hearing instrument programming and fitting in California for the past eight years. Jim’s reputation in the hearing healthcare community is well known, and is the result of his passion to find the best possible solutions to his patient’s needs, and as Jim says, his thousands of “ears” of experience!

Suzanne Baptiste

Suzanne Baptiste
HAD

[email protected]

510-526-3824

Communication has always fascinated me. As a public school teacher, I constantly thought about what I said to my students, how I communicated it, how they heard it, and what they thought of it, in terms of both its content and the way I conveyed it to them. In the Great Recession of 2009 I was laid off when my local division of Oakland Unified was defunded. Pondering what to do next, yet retaining my passion for communication, I was just starting my studies to be a hearing instrument specialist when a friend of mine was invited to a lunch-and-learn at the Center for Better Hearing Aids and asked me to accompany her. After the event and several follow-up visits to the Center, I found myself researching and learning about the business—unknown to Greg! I was so impressed with the Center’s goals, programs and hearing-aid technologies I finally asked Greg for a job there—and am glad I did. More than five years later, I still enjoy learning about the latest developments in hearing aid technology. I am passionate about helping clients to hear better, and I feel great joy when I can improve people's lives in this way. Although the vast majority of people with hearing loss have waited years to get hearing aids, we know they would not like it if we gave them too much sound too quickly. They would feel bombarded by noise, in contrast to the quiet they had grown accustomed to. So we move cautiously and gradually to bring our clients’ hearing back gently, and to make sure they are physically as well as acoustically comfortable with their new hearing aids. We get sad when we hear that people who got their hearing aids elsewhere aren’t wearing them, because they feel burdensome in the ear and/or don’t work well. Leaving hearing aids in a drawer somewhere certainly doesn’t help anyone with hearing loss. We are all passionate about people wearing, and enjoying, their hearing aids. When they do, they communicate better—which I, as a lifelong communication specialist, love to hear!

Jill Johnson

Jill Johnson
Patient Care Coodinator, Billing Specialist

[email protected]

510-526-3824

I joined Center for Better Hearing Aids in 2012 as a patient care coordinator and billing specialist. I came to the Center with 20 years of customer care experience in various healthcare and retail environments such as dental, skincare and women’s health. I am grateful to have been recognized over the years for my teamwork, leadership, customer advocacy and efficiency. In my spare time, I enjoy making jewelry.  If you were to ask me what I love most about what I do, I would tell you it’s two things: the amazing team I work with, and our core philosophy, as Helen Keller expressed it: “Seeing connects you with things, hearing connects you with people.” Our ability to assist in that connection as a way to enrich the lives of our patients and their families makes the Center for Better Hearing Aids my most uplifting work experience of all.

Louise Erickson

Louise Erickson
Patient Care Cordinator

[email protected]

510-526-3824

I have been pleasantly employed at the Center for Better Hearing Aids since 2002. Having worked with seniors since I was fourteen, I really enjoy assisting clients of all ages to get help for their hearing. Something about myself: I have lived in Europe and the Middle East. Married to a UC professor of Applied Linguistics, with two children. What makes me happy: The positive effect of a well-fitted hearing aids on a client’s quality of life makes working at the Center for Better Hearing Aids very rewarding for me. Our team is a dedicated, caring group and I am pleased to be a part of it.