The day before her last scheduled day at work, longtime Yarmouth audiologist Sheila Nichols was recognized for her service and dedication.
Nichols, a Yarmouth native, is retiring after a 32-year career in audiology. Shauna MacCallum, a Yarmouth County native who spent the past few years working in Alberta, is taking over Nichols’s practice.
Among those on hand to honour Nichols and wish her well were Yarmouth town councillors Jim MacLeod and Wade Cleveland. MacLeod presented her with a gift on behalf of the town and Cleveland gave her a certificate of appreciation on behalf of Yarmouth MLA and provincial cabinet minister Zach Churchill.
Rick Allwright, executive director of the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce, was there to make a presentation to Nichols on behalf of the chamber.
Representatives of Lifestyle Hearing – the Ontario-based company that owns the Yarmouth practice – also were present to recognize Nichols, who, in an interview after the formalities, was asked for her thoughts about retirement.
“I’m relieved that I can retire and leave my business in fantastic hands,” she said. “That had been a worry. What would happen to my practice if anything happened to me? I don’t have to worry about that now, so it’s a huge relief, and I know that everybody is going to be taken care of. It’s a small town and you want to keep meeting people and have them happy to meet you and it’ll be the same for Shauna. She’s from here.”
MacCallum, meanwhile, says she was happy to have a chance to return to Yarmouth after being out West.
“The timing was perfect for me to move home with my young family, Sheila looking to retire,” MacCallum said.
Nichols got into audiology as a mature student in the early 1980s. She already had a bachelor of arts in psychology when she decided to return to the classroom. She studied audiology at Dalhousie University’s school of human communication disorders.
Nichols and MacCallum say it’s wonderful to able to help people hear better.
Nichols spoke of seeing her clients’ faces relaxing when she fitted them with proper hearing aids. Their stress level would go down and they were more comfortable, she said.
“It’s quite a privilege to be able to do something like that and help people,” she said. With improved hearing, “You sleep better, you do your work better, you socialize better.”
Like Nichols, MacCallum says she loves what she does because she gets to see people’s lives change dramatically for the better.
“It’s a blessing,” she said. “It’s really nice to be able to see that change in people. It’s not something you get in every line of work. It’s pretty neat.”