Dr. Cathy Kurth fell into the field of audiology by accident and founded the Audiology & Hearing Aid Center 30 years ago and now has three locations in Scottsdale. Audiology & Hearing Aid Center is a full-service hearing care clinic that offers hearing evaluations, hearing aid sales, service and accessories, hearing protection and earwax management. Kurth recently launched “Mission 1,000,” aimed at giving 1,000 free hearing screenings by the end of the year.

Az Business: What inspired you to pursue a career in audiology?
Cathy Kurth: I thought I was going to work toward my doctoral degree in psychology. My roommate’s father was an ear, nose, throat doctor and was trying to get his daughter interested in audiology. She got the PhD in psych and I got interested in audiology and later got my doctoral degree in audiology and I’ve loved it ever since. So I guess it was a lucky accident.

AB: What was your vision for the Audiology and Hearing Aid Center?
CK: I started out with a 400-square-foot office of 400 square feet, a part-time employee and me part time. The rest of the time I worked for an ear, nose and throat group. I think part of my inspiration was seeing the patients we had to refer out for any hearing assistance. They weren’t having many good choices for their hearing healthcare, so I opened up my office. Today, I have three locations with more than a dozen employees and get to make a difference in people’s lives when it comes to being able to hear and communicate again.

AB: What inspired you to start Mission 1,000? How effective has this approach been so far?
CK: There re so many health aspects that we routinely get tested and screened for, but most people do nothing about their hearing until there’s a problem. Mission 1,000 was our opportunity to provide a free hearing screening to anyone over the age of 50, whether they suspect a hearing loss or not. When you look at 36 million Americans with hearing loss, a very high percentage of those are in the 50- to 70-year-old range. We need to protect our hearing once we lose it, we don’t get it back again.