April 2018 Daily Commercial
Doctor of Audiology Laura Pratesi was recently featured in the University of Michigan DocsWithDisabilities social media campaign. Pratesi has been a hearing loss patient herself. As a result, she was inspired to help others. The campaign is to celebrate doctors who are excelling in their fields of medicine despite their disability, she said. She also recently opened a hearing facility called Citrus Hearing Clinic in Clermont.
Pratesi was born with unilateral hearing loss, but not diagnosed until she was in school. She did not receive a hearing aid until graduate school. The experience left a deep impression on her and she chose to help others with hearing problems. Pratesi graduated from Auburn University in 2012 with a doctorate in audiology. Until recently, she worked with The Villages Health. “My son recently needed a hearing test because of a slight speech delay,” Pratesi said. “The closest place I could be referred to with a paediatric specialist was Florida Hospital. I started researching and realised that there were no independent paediatric specialists within about a 50 mile radius of Clermont — even farther in some directions.” After considering her everyday commute of two hours — time that could be spent with her son — she came to a decision. “I did my residence with kids and I miss seeing kids,” she said.
She opened an office in Clermont on April 1 and recently had an open house. While she specialises in children, she treats all age groups. “I personally feel that my hearing loss has enhanced my ability to be a good doctor to my patients,” she said. Dr. Pratesi understands that she has a big impact on her patients and their families, “My hearing loss allows me to connect with my patients on a personal level, in a way that schools cannot teach.”