“Soon, I had a profound loss and was wearing the strongest hearing aids available. Even with them, my hearing was very poor. It was challenging, especially with three young sons who were involved in many activities. Hearing loss affects entire families.”
Robbi and her husband, Steve Grogan, former New England Patriots quarterback, were living in Boston, Mass., at the time, but they are originally from Kansas where Steve was a standout athlete at Kansas State. In fact, the number he wore for the Wildcats, #11, is the only number retired by the university.
Robbi’s audiologist in Boston recommended she see an ear, nose and throat specialist who diagnosed her with hereditary hearing loss. “He said there was nothing that could be done, so I accepted his diagnosis,” she says. “Because I struggled to hear, I began to withdraw from the activities and groups I had always enjoyed. Hearing loss was very, very isolating for me.”
Initially, Larry Ruder, who has since retired from the practice, saw Robbi and conducted a complete hearing evaluation, including bone conduction testing. “Larry told me he thought I might have otosclerosis. He recommended I see Bradley Thedinger, MD, a neurotologist.”
Otosclerosis causes an abnormal sponge-like bone growth in the middle ear. This growth prevents the ear bones from vibrating in response to sound waves. These vibrations are necessary in order to hear.
Dr. Thedinger agreed with Larry’s assessment, and recommended Robbi have a surgical procedure called a stapedectomy to remove the spongy growth, and the stapes, which were replaced by metal implants. She had the first surgery in 2009, and the second on her other ear the following year.
To her delight, her hearing greatly improved, and when supplemented by hearing aids, returned to near-normal. “It was like a miracle to me!” Robbi says. “After all these years of struggle, I had my hearing back. I could hear the water running in my bathroom and talk on the phone even without hearing aids. With aids, I was able to participate in conversations at restaurants and enjoy meetings. It brought tears to my eyes.”
Today, Robbi wears two small behind-the-ear hearing aids with receivers in the canal that Associated Audiologists prescribed for her. She enjoys socializing with friends and family, and volunteers with her two therapy dogs working with patients at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, Ozanam Home, and Crittenton Center.
“My audiologist worked hard to find the best technology for my hearing loss,” she says. “I never would have had the motivation and nerve to adopt, train and volunteer with my dogs if I hadn’t been able to hear.
“For anyone struggling with hearing loss, I would definitely recommend you get a second opinion. I have always been treated with respect, compassion and thoroughness at Associated Audiologists. I feel blessed that my hearing is so much better in great part thanks to Associated Audiologists, and I am enjoying my life even more!”