We’re dedicated to helping you hear better. How does that sound?
Northland Audiology & Hearing Services: A bit of history, and a little love story…
Northland Audiology & Hearing Services, Inc. was started by W. Alver Rongstad, AuD, and his wife, Nancy, in 1993.
Alver and Nancy first met in an Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) medical clinic in Auburn, Washington where Alver worked as an audiologist and Nancy a nurse. Alver was later employed at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage, where he enjoyed the novelty of flying to small regional bush villages and the deep satisfaction of bringing hearing services to people who needed them. Nancy and Alver married and moved to Fairbanks when Alver accepted an offer to head the Statewide Audiology Services Program under the State of Alaska Health and Social Services Department. For the next 5 years, Alver flew to the small rural communities in the northern, coldest areas of Alaska to provide hearing services. When that state program was abruptly “defunded” in 1992, state audiology offices were closed, including Southeast Alaska’s Sitka office among others. Unfortunately, this left many people who needed hearing healthcare services in a lurch.
Seeing the shortage of local audiology services, and preferring to remain Alaskans, Alver and Nancy decided to establish Northland Audiology & Hearing Services, Inc. in Juneau. Their decision was bolstered in part because of the welcoming support from Bartlett Regional Hospital and a number of Southeast Alaskan physicians and medical providers. Thus, Northland Audiology & Hearing Services, Inc. officially opened in its doors 1993 and has been here ever since.
In 2003, when Alver was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Nancy resumed a more active participation in the business (having taken a hiatus to work in engineering for the state of Alaska.) When Alver died in 2004, Nancy hired staff audiologists in order to ensure that Southeast Alaska could continue to have audiology services locally. Northland Audiology continues the same philosophy and reputation for honest, professional services it has had since the beginning and continues to provide the same personalized attention and care that Alver gave every patient.
Meet the Team
Nancy Shima is a co‐founder of Northland Audiology & Hearing Services, Inc. in Juneau, Alaska. She grew up on a farm in Enumclaw, Washington and followed her family’s tradition of attending college at Washington State University. Nancy worked as an operating room nurse (RN) for over 15 years in Washington and Idaho, and later moved to Anchorage when she married an Audiologist, Alver Rongstad. The Rongstad newlyweds relocated to Fairbanks, where their two children were born and Nancy earned her bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at University of Alaska Fairbanks. Alver and Nancy intended to return to Washington as soon as Nancy graduated so Alver could open a private Audiology practice there and Nancy could seek work in the biomedical engineering field. Despite their initial plans, they came to realize how attached they were to Alaska, so after learning that Southeast Alaska lacked local Audiology services, they decided to settle in Juneau where they established Northland Audiology & Hearing Services, Inc. in 1993. Initially Nancy worked with Alver in the business and then later found engineering work with the State of Alaska. Nancy eventually returned to work at Northland Audiology full-time, taking over daily operations when Alver died from pancreatic cancer in 2004.
Nancy remains firmly committed to the mission of the business that she and her late husband Alver started together and she has worked diligently over the years to ensure that Northland Audiology & Hearing Services, Inc. will continue to offer needed hearing services for Southeast Alaskans.
When Nancy is not working at Northland Audiology, she enjoys spending time outside (rain or shine), gardening and traveling. She is currently working on a never‐ending landscaping project at the 60 year old house she and her husband Noel recently purchased.
Co‐owner, Hearing Instrument Specialist
Noel Shima joined Northland Audiology & Hearing Services, Inc. in 2006 and is a licensed Hearing Instrument Fitting Specialist and a co‐owner of Northland Audiology. He is also our in‐house bulldog who goes to bat on behalf of our patients when their insurance companies try to get out of “paying up” for covered services. Noel has always been known as a “people person” and it is evident that he dearly loves helping people hear better again. Noel finds his role at Northland Audiology deeply rewarding, and in fact says he enjoys it so much he plans never to retire!
Noel believes in open and honest communications and in taking the time to really listen to each person so that he can fully understand their hearing challenges and tailor a solution to best meet their needs. He believes it is important to give each person information about their options, so they can make informed choices without feeling rushed or pressured.
Noel became a hearing aid wearer himself in 2012 when he realized that music didn’t sound the way it should. (Maybe his decision to “do something about it” was also bolstered by his wife’s nudgings: “I think too much of “The Who” gave you too much of the “what?”) Noel had his hearing tested by our Doctor of Audiology, and sure enough, suspicions of hearing loss were confirmed. Noel knew it was time to start using hearing aids. He says music now sounds like he remembered it should, and his wife is happier too! He also gets a kick out of using Bluetooth® technology to wirelessly stream some of his favorite music straight to his hearing aids.
Noel grew up in Minnesota and moved to Alaska in 1982 so he is not quite a “sourdough” but he’s working on it. Noel is an avid tropical fish hobbyist and has fallen victim to MTS, multiple tank syndrome. When he’s not attending to his fish, Noel can often be found watching Twins games or working on the house he and Nancy are fixing up. Noel’s well regarded by scores of parents and kids in the community for his time spent at the soccer field, where he was a coach and official for over 20 years. Noel retired from coaching a few years ago but is considering going back, as he really misses interacting with the kids.
Dr. Teresa Marshall, AuD
Dr. Teresa Marshall (or Terrie, as she is known around the office) first worked in our practice on an interim basis starting in 2012. We found her to be such a good fit that we asked her to join us permanently and, in 2013 she and her husband, Rick, bought a house in Juneau and made the move north from Seattle.
Terrie has been certified and licensed as an Audiologist since 2002 and has worked in a variety of clinical settings throughout the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Just prior to coming to joining Northland Audiology & Hearing Services, she worked as a contract Audiologist for the Veterans Health Administration in the Seattle/Tacoma/Everett area. (She says she definitely doesn’t miss the commute.)
Terrie received her master’s degree in Audiology from the University of Washington and her Audiology clinical Doctorate degree from Salus University. While in school she was a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society, the Golden Key honor society, and the University of Washington Dean’s list. Dr. Marshall is an active member of the American Academy of Audiology, the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, and the American Speech‐Language‐Hearing Association. Her professional expertise at Northland Audiology primarily focuses on diagnosing and treating hearing disorders, and facilitating hearing rehabilitation through fitting hearing aids and assistive listening technologies.
When she’s not working, Dr. Marshall and her husband are often seen walking local trails with their two adorable miniature poodles, Star and Roxie, and the newest addition to their family, a poodle/sheepdog mix named Obi! Dr. Marshall says she absolutely enjoys living in Juneau and is proud to be part of a team that provides such high quality hearing healthcare to children and adults in Southeast Alaska.
Kaia is the daughter of Nancy (Rongstad) Shima and the late Alver Rongstad, AuD, who started Northland Audiology & Hearing Services, Inc. when she was just a toddler. Kaia grew up helping around the office, left for college, and returned to Alaska in 2014 to become an integral part of the family practice.
Kaia has a bachelor’s degree from Washington State University (GO COUGS!) where she took classes in Speech and Hearing Sciences, Human Development and Gerontology. After college, Kaia worked in social services in Seattle for a couple of years, but knew her ultimate goal was to return to Juneau to be a part of our team.
Kaia has a strong passion for helping others and is committed to ensuring that Northland Audiology continues to offer needed hearing health services for Southeast Alaskans. With Kaia on our team, we know the business will continue to run smoothly and that we will exceed patient expectations daily.
Outside of work, Kaia loves exploring the great outdoors of Juneau, rooting for the Seattle Seahawks and living life!
Patient Care Coordinator
Lynn is the cheerful voice on the phone and the friendly face who will greet you in our Juneau office! Lynn moved to Juneau in July 2015 from Kansas City after falling in love with it when they came to visit their son, daughter-in-law, and grandson who are currently stationed in Juneau with the Coast Guard. Lynn is always guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face and she loves chatting with our patients and hearing all of their wild Alaskan stories!
In her spare time, Lynn loves exploring Juneau and is a talented photographer! Lynn and her husband Al love to spend time with (and spoil) their grandson and the world’s cutest great dane/mastiff mix, their fur-baby Phoebe Buffay!