Before Your Visit

How we maximize your time with our doctors

We've optimized our clinic to maximize your time with our doctors, ensuring a more personal and focused experience. As part of this commitment, we

  • Operate paperlessly and manage onboarding exclusively via telephone or online.
  • Reduce our billing costs by collecting payment up front.
  • Don't have in-person staff for administrative tasks.

To facilitate this seamless experience, we require that you complete all forms and submit your payment within 24 hours of booking your visit. This preparation enables us to focus fully on your care, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable visit.

Thank you for helping us create an efficient and patient-centered environment.

What should I bring to my appointment?

Prior treatment records can lead to faster and more effective treatment. To make the most of our time together, please bring any prior:

  • ENT clinic notes
  • CDs containing CT or MRI imaging studies
  • Latest audiogram or cochlear implant evaluation

Don't rely on faxing records between offices. It is best to bring with you a copy of your records that we can keep.

What insurances do you accept?

We take most insurances including Medicare and Medicaid. Please see our insurance page for some of the insurances that we take. This page also provides some information on when you need a referral from your primary care provider.

Paying for your visit

We offer online payment only–at this link. When you get to the invoice/statement, just enter in the date of your appointment in that section. Contact us if you have any trouble.

Are same day appointments available?

Yes. Our clinic and partners are often able to accommodate urgent needs. When necessary we see patients the same day.

What conditions require urgent evaluation?

An “urgent condition” in medical speak is something where delayed diagnosis could result in permanent health issues.

If you are experiencing these conditions, you should be urgently evaluated by our clinic. During clinic hours, we can evaluate and determine if your issues should be seen at an emergency department. This list is meant to be a guide and is not exhaustive.

  • Sudden hearing loss in an ear. Signs of sudden hearing loss: “Blocked” or “congested” ear without pain. If you hum, you hear it louder in the good ear. If it's wax or fluid, these usually make humming better in the bad ear. Wax and fluid need to be seen, just not within 2 days. Sudden hearing loss symptoms are often preceded by a cold, sniffles, or allergies. You can also use your phone as vibrator to test your hearing (e.g. iMassage app). Apply the bottom end of an uncovered phone to the middle of your forehead with the vibration on. If you hear it louder in the unaffected ear, this is suggestive of sudden hearing loss and should be urgently evaluated.
  • Severe ear pain in a diabetic or immunocompromised patient
  • Severe ear pain and swelling
  • Facial fractures
  • Foreign bodies in the nose, airway, or ears
  • Facial paralysis
  • Severe sinus pain
  • Ear lobe hematoma or swelling on the external ear after a blow to the ear. This is also known as an auricular hematoma.
  • Nosebleeds that do not respond to conservative measures
  • Severe sore throats
  • Room spinning vertigo lasting more than a few seconds

Parking & Directions

Parking: The address is 1625 19th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122.

There is free parking on the street directly in front of the Hearing Speech & Deaf Center building, but this is hit or miss.

Paid parking is available in the Mount Zion Baptist Church next door. This lot is free for those with handicapped placards.

Which building: Take the elevator to the 1st floor, Audiology Department (note that the elevator calls the 1st floor the ground floor). Let the receptionist know you're here. Here is the Google Maps listing to help you navigate.

We are located inside the Hearing Speech and Deaf Center.

When you arrive, please let the Audiology front desk you've arrived. They are separate from us, and are unable to answer questions about your appointment. So please call or text us for any questions or concerns.

Accessibility for handicapped patients

If you have a handicapped placard:

  • You may park in the loading zone in front of the building for any length of time.
  • You may park in the paid church lot across the street free of charge.

King County Access Transportation provides van transport for patients with mobility issues.

What happens during my visit?

We take care of all paperwork and payment before your visit. When you arrive, you simply let the Audiology front desk you've arrived. They are separate from us, and are unable to answer questions about your appointment. So please call or text us for any questions or concerns.

If you have an ear problem, you will be scheduled for a hearing test (audiogram). This is performed by one of the audiologists with Hearing Speech and Deaf Center.

From there Dr. Ruffin will escort you back to the exam room. When you meet Dr. Ruffin, he will let your story in your own words and rarely interrupts until you are done sharing your concerns.

After asking clarifying questions, he will do a complete exam of your ears, nose, and throat. He understands that patients have anxiety and keeps the patient informed each step of the way.

Some routine examination procedures that may be done in the office setting are earwax removal, microscopic ear exam, and endoscopic (scope) exam of the nose or throat.

These procedures are not part of the standard office visit and will show up separately on your insurance bill. They may even be classified as surgeries by your insurer.

Most patients do not require more intervention. Dr. Ruffin believes strongly in patient education and will answer any questions about your diagnosis.

After your visit he will provide you with patient education materials. You will then check out and schedule any appointments needed in the future.

If you need surgery, our surgery scheduler will contact you and guide you through the process to have surgery.

What in office procedures do you perform?

Below are some ENT procedures commonly done in the office setting. They will show up on your bill separately from the standard office visit. Some insurers list these as surgeries.


  • Earwax removal and microscopic ear exams
  • Myringotomy with and without tube placement
  • Intratympanic steroid injection for sudden hearing loss
  • Patch tympanoplasty for simple eardrum perforations
  • Draining ear (auricular) hematomas


  • Nasal biopsies
  • Endoscopy of the nose and sinuses


  • Endoscopy of the throat and voicebox (larynx)
  • Needle biopsies of neck masses
  • Drainage of peritonsillar abscesses

Why do I need a hearing test?

When you have an ear complaint, a hearing test is a vital sign. If you had chest pain, the cardiologist would be getting an EKG as that is important to check when you have a cardiac related symptom. So it is with hearing tests.

Hearing is connected to other structures in the ear. A hearing test gives us information on how the eardrum, middle ear bones, and balance centers are working. It give insight whether there is fluid or a blockage in the middle ear. For dizziness, a hearing test provides information on how the inner ear is working.

It is absolutely critical that we have a hearing test. We cannot make any medical decisions or medical recommendations without it. Here are some of the reasons when we get a hearing test:

  • Ear symptoms: Hearing loss, hearing noises in the ears, pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Monitor chemotherapy and other drugs toxic to the ear

Scheduling a hearing test in advance is more convenient. It also avoids the costs of a visit solely to follow up your hearing test.

Hearing tests are done with one of our partner audiologists and are billed to your insurance.

Ready to get started?

Dr. Ruffin is committed to providing every patient with outstanding care.