by Cynthia Claxton, blog contributor for Leaping Butterfly Ministry

This article is the result of an interview with Robyn Upton, one of the 2017 Hearing Aid Scholarship recipients. This scholarship program assists those who have Turner syndrome.

Robyn Upton is extremely excited to have a new hearing aid that is compatible with her new cochlear implant.

“I was so excited to learn about LBM’s hearing aid scholarship program and was even more thrilled when my application was accepted for funding,” says Robyn after applying for the 2017 scholarship program.

I learned about the scholarship from the society and was able to meet and thank LBM’s Debbie Browne and others in person at the TSS conference in Denver.

2017 TS Denver Convention

Robyn’s Hearing Loss

Robyn was in 2nd grade when she received her first hearing aid and learned that she would need hearing aids for the rest of her life.

Robyn has had many aids in her right ear over the years, replacing them every 5 to 10 years. Up until now, however, she never had an aid in both ears; instead, she only had an aid fitted in the right ear … which is what they did during that time.

In the left ear, she has been deaf for over 30 years, losing her hearing in that ear when she attended college. Robyn graduated from Adams State University with a degree in Business Administration with a minor in math and computer science.

The Gift of Hearing

With the help of her existing audiologist Dr. Traynor of Audiology Associates, Inc. in Greeley, Colorado, Robyn was able to get a new hearing aid, along with the help of Leaping Butterfly Ministry Hearing Aid Committee Chair Dr. Cassie Clark who coordinated the funding for the hearing aid as part of the scholarship program.

Robyn was happy that she could get the new hearing aid from her same doctor that she has seen since she was 7.

Thanks to Medicare and Medicaid her surgery of the implant took place in Denver on December 6th of 2017 and it was activated on December 21st. She received her new hearing aid in January of 2018, thanks to LBM.

Donna, Robyn’s mom, learned that assistance for hearing aids can vary greatly from state to state. Colorado now covers implants through Medicare and Medicaid; but, as of yet, they do not help with hearing aids. Donna believes Colorado is working on a bill to change that.

Never having an aid in the left ear before and now having one, Robyn says, “I’m still getting used to setting the implant and hearing aid. But, overall, I truly enjoy having a hearing balance between both of my ears. It’s definitely helping me communicate better.”

When her audiologist in Denver tested me in November of 2017 with her old hearing aid, Robyn only heard 5% in the ear with the hearing and was deaf in the left ear.

When they activated the implant on December 21st, Robyn heard 37% in her previously deaf ear.

In February, 2018, with the newly added hearing aid from The Leaping Butterfly Ministry, Robyn could hear 37% with her new hearing aid and 47% with the implant.

In March, 2018, Robyn could hear 59% with the implant. Her doctor does anticipate that her hearing will increase to 70-80% in the ear with the implant and 37% in the ear with the new hearing aid from LBM.

“What a big change!” says Donna. “You can see by the smile on her face what a difference this hearing aid and the donation and support from Leaping Butterfly Ministry has made in her life.”

Robyn says she really appreciates hearing people communicate, especially her mom and dad. Robyn’s dad is 82 and her mom will be 80 in September. “I depend on my parents and it’s amazing we can all communicate since we all have a hearing loss,” says Robyn.

Donna comments, “It’s been an amazing transformation. We are so appreciative of everything LBM has done to make Robyn’s life better (and ours as well). What a blessing this is to have her be able to hear again.”

Upton Family 2008

Previously, Robyn worked part time at the Greeley Center for Independence. She is looking for a new job opportunity where she can possibly use her degree. “I’m confident I’ll find the right job and I’m open to seeing what happens next with my career,” says Robyn.

Robyn plans to stay close by her parents and looks forward to hearing more conversations between the two of them, as well as having many more conversations with them. Donna comments, “We can no longer talk about her with her in the room.”

Congratulations Robyn!

Thank you to those who donated funds to LBM’s hearing aid scholarship program. What a difference you have made!

Leaping Butterfly Ministry relies on donations to change lives, to create awareness of Turner syndrome, contribute funds for research, and support for those touched by TS. Click here to see how you can help.