Helping You & Your Neighbors Hear Better in Northampton, MA
Our passion is helping smart people like you—people who are interested in staying connected and getting the most out of life—rediscover hearing. Our satisfaction comes from the joy our patients feel when they are hearing clearer, able to once again connect with friends, family, and the world around them.
We provide a full range of diagnostic and preventative hearing services, including hearing aid screening, evaluations, hearing aids, and rehabilitative and preventative counseling. You’ll be working with our highly trained staff to couple the latest in hearing aid technology with the best fit for your hearing needs.
Clarke Hearing Center has helped thousands of people in the Northampton area improve their hearing. Chances are we’ve helped your friends and neighbors, and we’re sure that we can help you, too.
Talk to the Experts
Call us today to cut through the confusion about hearing loss and hearing aids.
Donna M., Florence, MA patient
Joni Skinner, Au.D.
A Massachusetts native, I was born and raised in a northern suburb of Boston but quickly found myself loving Western Massachusetts when I started my undergraduate career at UMass Amherst. I was fortunate enough that my last graduate internship turned into my first job as an audiologist and have been a happy resident of Western Massachusetts ever since.
While I always knew I wanted a career in an allied health profession, I explored a few options before landing on the field of audiology including nursing, physical therapy and recreational therapy. After spending time in high school volunteering in a hospital and shadowing professionals at a rehab facility and an early intervention program, my interests grew in speech-language pathology. Like many audiologists, I started studying communication disorders, with no prior knowledge or awareness of the world of hearing loss and balance disorders. Coursework and clinical observation made it an easy choice to focus on a career as an audiologist.
A foundation in medical-related audiology at an ear, nose and throat practice has proven most valuable over the course of my career in working with both pediatric and adult patients who require referrals to specialists in otolaryngology. After several years at the ENT practice, I was able to spend a couple of years focusing on pediatrics in a hospital-based clinic, which was both enlightening and fun. By the time I transitioned to my current position at Clarke Hearing Center in October, 2007, I earned my clinical doctorate (Au.D.) from Pennsylvania College of Optometry, what is now known as Salus University.
Working with patients of all ages at Clarke Hearing Center is a wonderful balance of diagnostics, hearing aid fitting and management, and educational audiology as an autonomous clinician, part of a larger team of professionals. It is most rewarding to work with a diverse population of individuals with hearing loss and collaborate with local primary care physicians, specialists across the state and people with expansive knowledge of hearing loss right here at Clarke. I am afforded the opportunity to have a family-centered practice and educate not only the person with hearing loss but their partners, parents, adult children and friends about ways in which to overcome the challenges that come along with living life with any degree of hearing loss. We live in a special community where opportunity abounds to participate in activities that call to our interests, talents and skill sets. It is so important, especially for people with hearing loss to stay connected to others and take part in what brings them joy, not shy away because their hearing loss is getting in the way. In addition to enjoying my work with infants, toddlers and school-aged children, I have particular interest in the connection between hearing loss and dementia in adults.
The Pioneer Valley is wonderful place to call home and raise a family. It was through another audiologist and mutual friend, that I met my husband who grew up in South Hadley. We started our family with Abby, a rescued yellow lab mix in 2011 and welcomed our son Andrew in the fall of 2014. Since we are both UMass Alum, my husband and I enjoy cheering on the Minutemen especially at the Men’s basketball games. Our family enjoys hikes at Mt. Tom, local parks, activities and restaurants and spending time with our extended family.
Dr. Sowards, Au.D.
A native of Eastern Kentucky, Dr. Sowards has worn hearing aids since childhood giving her personal experience with hearing loss and amplification. She received her doctorate in clinical Audiology from the University of Louisville in 2002 and holds an Audiology license in Massachusetts. She is nationally accredited by the American Speech, Language and Hearing Association. After spending 15 years in Portland, Oregon, she is new to Massachusetts. She has worked in a variety of clinical settings including two years as the Director of Audiology at the Portland Otologic Clinic with John M. Epley, M.D., eight years at a multi-physician otolaryngology clinic, as well as contract work with the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System in Portland, Oregon. She is looking forward to exploring and getting to know the Pioneer Valley with her partner and daughter.