On a slow day, Laura Picton-Hildreth converses with half a dozen administrators and board members. In her job managing the local school’s insurance program, she can’t afford to miss a detail. She’s responsible for protecting the school’s assets, and a serious mistake could be costly to school district.
In her spare time, Laura is devoted to her children and competitive bodybuilding, which she became interested in 5 years ago. She is a single mom of a 19 year old and an 8 year old, so she’s super busy between work, parenting and exercising.
What makes Picton-Hildreth’s story unique is her sense of hearing: she’s legally deaf. Due to a condition called otosclerosis, in which there is abnormal bone hardening in the middle ear, she is irrevocably deaf in one ear. She needs a hearing aid to hear well in the other ear. Doctors believe Laura inherited the condition that began manifesting in her 30s. She was 32 before doctors understood her condition and gave her a diagnosis. For many years, Laura lived with mediocre hearing aids that she believed were the best available.
By the time she was close to 40, Laura had lost most of her confidence. She’d become shy in public, uneasy interacting with people and afraid to meet new people. As her hearing impairment began controlling her life, she also feared the loss of her job.
Luckily, the situation changed. Robyn discovered that Laura wasn’t imagining the situation at all: the hearing aids she was wearing just weren’t working for her. Her hearing devices were unsuitable for her condition. We set her up with devices that really worked for Laura’s needs. “Before that time, I hadn’t believed it was possible to match a product so well to a person’s degree of hearing impairment and lifestyle.”
When Laura wanted to swim with her 8-year old son, Robyn provided devices that are water proof. Now Laura sees us every few months for a check-in. She lets us know what’s working and what’s not. Robyn provides adjustments, cleaning and information about the newest hearing aid technology on the market. And that’s important to Laura with her lifestyle. She tells us how great it is to have a hearing aid provider who cares about her story and listen to her issues with hearing, rather than one who was only concerned with selling the next best hearing device.
As a teen, Laura weighed nearly 200 pounds. In 2009, when doctors discovered a tumor in her femur, she vowed to lead a healthier lifestyle if she survived the surgery to remove the tumor. Fortunately, the tumor turned out to be benign but with her new vow, her life changed.
Working with Robyn returned Laura’s confidence in more ways than one. She’s no longer afraid of talking with people. She took an interest in fitness and, as her body responded, soon turned to intense, competitive bodybuilding. In competition, it’s crucial that she hear her name called when it’s her turn to show her strength … and even more so when it’s time to announce the winners, an announcement not unfamiliar to Laura.
At Hearing Associates of Las Vegas, we work with all types of hearing loss. Our patients lead varied lifestyles. We strive to understand each situation and prescribe devices that work best for you. If you experience hearing loss or would like to have your hearing assessed, call Hearing Associates of Las Vegas.