From: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Laurie grew up in a family of people with hearing loss, and her father even ran a small hearing aid dispensary out of their home. Even though she became very familiar with hearing loss at a young age, it was not always easy for her to accept her own loss. When she first began wearing hearing aids at the age of 25, she grew her hair long so she could hide them. It wasn’t until years later that she found empowerment with hearing loss.
After getting married and having two children, Laurie decided she wanted to go back to college to help the small family business grow. She had previously helped her father with paperwork and bookkeeping, but she went back to school to become an audiologist.
Days were spent working as a specialist while nights were spent studying for her degree with both kids by her side. In 1996, she graduated with her Master’s degree in Audiology and was ready to help the hearing impaired of Baton Rouge the best she could.
In 1998, Laurie suddenly became ill and lost all hearing in her left ear. In 1999, she received her first Cochlear implant with great success. After falling ill again and losing all the hearing in her right ear, she received her second Cochlear implant in 2010, and again had great success with the surgery.
Laurie’s daughter, Melissa, talks about her mother’s bravery in the face of great challenges. She says,
"Since receiving her cochlear implants, she has never once complained about her hearing loss, but took it as the hand she was dealt and would not let it stop her. She used her loss to help others understand the science of hearing loss as well as the person behind the audiogram.
She will take all time necessary to explain to someone new what their loss means as well as how to adjust to a new life with hearing aids even if it means running late for a personal appointment. If someone comes into the office whom we are not able to help, she has told us that we are to always point them in the direction of someone who can because her number one concern is the hearing health of others whether or not it comes from her."
Laurie is a HearStrong Champion because in addition to overcoming her own challenges, she has dedicated her life to helping others with hearing loss too. She even worked with lobbyist to help pass a law that requires insurance companies to cover hearing aids for minors.
"Most importantly she has changed many people's perceptions on what someone with a hearing loss can do," says Melissa. "She is kind, funny, and has the patience of a saint (trust me I've tested it.) If anyone can show the strength that can be found in a hearing loss, it is her."
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