Laura Pratesi

Laura Pratesi

Laura Pratesi

Doctor of Audiology • Mother

“Don’t be afraid to change your life for the better. Find a hearing healthcare provider who empowers you, and follows best practices. It will improve your quality of life.”

Laura’s Hearing Journey

Laura was about two years old when her mother first noticed signs of her hearing loss. One day she handed her the telephone and Laura held it up to her left ear. She quickly switched over to her right ear and began responding. Her mother, who has a master’s degree in early childhood education, immediately knew that something wasn’t right. She decided to bring her to a pediatrician and after passing a hearing test conducted with a noise maker, Laura was sent home. Two years later her mother signed her up for a voluntary hearing screening at her preschool and she failed. Laura was brought to a specialist who confirmed that she had moderate to severe hearing loss in her left ear. Laura was told she did not need hearing aids and after a few more visits over the following years, she didn’t need to return. It wasn’t until she was in college in her Audiology 101 class that she was fit with her first pair of hearing aids.

A year ago, after jumping on a trampoline for 30 minutes, her hearing suddenly declined. She decided to get checked out again and was diagnosed with bilateral Mondini malformation. Twenty-five years after being diagnosed with hearing loss, Laura finally had a differential diagnosis. Her hearing has gotten progressively worse since then and she is now a bilateral hearing aid user.

Importance of Hearing Better

Before Laura received hearing aids, she found it easier at times to keep to herself than to try and communicate in a noisy situation. She had been told by teachers that she was anti-social, didn’t pay attention, had trouble changing tasks, and was a day dreamer. Because she received good grades, her teachers often forgot that she had hearing loss. As a result, they would rarely use subtitles or closed captioning on videos. By the time she got to college, the only accommodations she knew to ask her professors for was preferential seating.

When Laura received her first pair of hearing aids, her quality of life improved tremendously. Not only could she hear better, but it led her to her passion. She changed her major from theater/opera to audiology. Today, she feels more connected in both her professional and personal relationships. She appreciates being able to hear her four year old son clearly. Because of the technology her hearing aids are equipped with, she is able to hear music more naturally. This allowed her to play her dream role as Belle in Beauty in the Beast at her local theater.

“Being fit with my first pair of hearing aids was earth-shattering. It was almost as if I had been living under water all my life and had broken the surface for the first time.”

Why Laura is a HearStrong Champion

Laura is a HearStrong Champion because she is passionate about getting others connected to better hearing. She knows what it’s like to go through life without hearing devices and wants to make sure that doesn’t happen to anyone else. She has learned how to advocate for herself over the years and believes that by doing so, she can motivate others to do the same. She is an incredible role model to her patients because she proves by example that they can still be successful with a hearing loss. She believes that educating her patients about their treatment is the best way to empower them to make well-informed decisions about their hearing healthcare. She also isn’t afraid to share her story and experiences to inspire others to take action to get the hearing help they need.

“I realized how I had fallen through the cracks, and I vowed not to let that happen to anyone else. Not being able to communicate, separates us from connection. I want my patients to be able to connect with others in their lives in meaningful ways. However I can aid them in that journey, I am happy to do so.”

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