Au.D., CCC-A, F-AAA
Born with hearing loss in one ear, Laura Pratesi fell through the health-care cracks for 25 years before receiving a proper diagnosis and a hearing aid. She never knew what she was missing. She vividly remembers the day in college when she was first fitted with the device.
“I just cried,” she says. “To me, the sound quality difference was like I had been underwater with how muffled and distorted things were, and now suddenly how sharp and crisp and clear everything was.”
The moment was so life-changing, Laura switched her major at Auburn University and earned a Doctor of Audiology degree because she wanted to help others with hearing loss. This year, she opened her own practice, Citrus Hearing Clinic, in Clermont after previously working for The Villages Health and the ENT Institute of Atlanta.
She found that convenient, affordable audiology care, particularly for children, was in short supply. She is the only pediatric audiologist in this area, but she treats patients of all ages.
“I wanted to make audiology services more accessible to people,” Dr. Pratesi says. “It’s made such a big difference in my quality of life that I want to make that same difference in the quality of life of my patients.”
At Citrus Hearing Clinic, she provides hearing tests, including screenings for newborns; dispenses hearing aids and adjusts them to proper volume levels through Real-Ear measurements; does cochlear implant mapping and maintenance; tests for and treats tinnitus and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV; removes earwax; and makes custom earplugs and in-ear monitors for musicians.
She offers a cash-pay discount to patients if she’s out of their insurance network, and helps patients get hearing aids for market price by unbundling the anticipated costs of future appointments and therapy.
“Wherever they go to get their hearing aid, I recommend that they consult with a doctor first because we’re concerned with medically managing hearing-balance disorders,” she says. “My job is to make sure that if they need a hearing aid, they walk out the door with the right one and it’s going to do what they need it to do.”
Since she was fit with a hearing aid as an adult, Dr. Pratesi has been able to look at her situation as both a patient and a doctor.
“I don’t think you have to have hearing loss to be a good audiologist, but I would say it has definitely made me a better one.”
Citrus Hearing Clinic, LLC // 835 7th St., Suite 2, Clermont // 352.989.5123 // citrushearing.com, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter