Lucas Borgman was 12 years old the first time he knew something was wrong with his vision. “I couldn’t see to find my way from our barn to the house in the dark,” he said.
Shortly after, Lucas was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that causes blindness. He was only in his early teens.
As time went on, Lucas developed other serious medical conditions, including type 1 diabetes, a heart rhythm disturbance, paralysis of the muscles within his eyes and hearing loss. Eventually, doctors confirmed he has a rare mitochondrial disorder that affects all these body systems called Kearns-Sayre syndrome.
As a result, by the time Lucas was in his mid-20s, he was losing more and more of his hearing. Concerned, his mom, Debbie Borgman, scheduled an appointment for Lucas to see Tim Steele, Ph.D., President and CEO of Associated Audiologists.
“The first time we met Dr. Steele, I was worried Lucas might lose his hearing all together,” Debbie said. “I thought, ‘Lucas has lost so much already. He can’t see. What will he do if he can’t hear?’”
Fortunately, Dr. Steele had good news for Lucas and his family. “He told us there was still a lot they could do to help Lucas.”
“Lucas has a mild to moderately severe hearing loss, poor speech understanding, and his hearing is slowly declining,” Dr. Steele confirmed. “His hearing is his one connection to the outside world. I felt strongly that we needed to do something to help him.”
And so he did. To assist the family with finding a cost-effective solution, initially Dr. Steele fit Lucas with a pair of refurbished hearing aids. Lucas wore them faithfully and took excellent care of them, but eventually they needed to be replaced.
“When I saw Lucas last fall, his ability to hear had declined, plus his hearing aids were 10 years old and just weren’t getting the job done any more,” Dr. Steele said.
Now in his mid-30s, Lucas works a full-time job, but was concerned about the cost of replacing his hearing aids.
“Hearing aids will allow Lucas to keep working and will help him maintain his connection with the world around him,” Dr. Steele said. “He is always so upbeat and such an inspiration. I wanted to be able to help him again.”
This time Dr. Steele fit Lucas with two new Widex Evoke 440 Fusion hearing aids at no cost. The new hearing aids are equipped with the latest Bluetooth technology, making it possible for Lucas to pair his phone with his hearing aids, and to use them to listen to phone conversations and music. They even learn his listening preferences.
“Evoke seemed the perfect fit for Lucas,” Dr. Steele said. “He has seen a substantial improvement in his hearing, and is experiencing better speech processing, connectivity and accessibility features that give him a sense of autonomy.”
Lucas has adapted quickly to his new hearing aids, using them to function better at work, at home, with family and with friends.
“I am so grateful for all the office has done for me,” Lucas said. “I love to come here, and I’ve never said that about going to any doctor! I am so thankful for everyone at Associated Audiologists!”