Callier Center Audiologist Fulfills Father's Wish to Help Daughter
When 4-Year-Old Girl Had Trouble Adjusting to New Hearing Aids, Dad Asked for A Pair of His Own
March 27, 2017
Dr. Kenneth Pugh (right), audiologist at the Callier Center, helped ease Truly Urso's transition to hearing aids by handling a special request from her dad, Joe.
The UT Dallas Callier Center for Communication Disorders provides, adjusts and modifies hearing aids for hundreds of adults and children each year. But one recent pair is different from all the others.
The hearing aids do not work. And it wasn’t a mistake; it was the way they were supposed to be.
Last summer, Joe Urso approached Dr. Kenneth Pugh, audiologist at the Callier Center, wanting to get a pair of hearing aids, without the electronics, that would match those of his daughter Truly, who had received hers only a few weeks earlier.
As one might expect with a 4-year-old, Truly initially didn’t want to wear her hearing aids as often as she should. So her father took the extraordinary step of getting his own pair.
Urso said sometimes Truly’s hearing aids get uncomfortable, or she just doesn’t want to wear them. But without hearing aids, his daughter tended to withdraw from social situations, he said. He wanted a pair of nonworking hearing aids for himself, so he could demonstrate good behavior for Truly, while highlighting how “cool” the hearing aids were.
“Our rule is they have to be worn all the time to make sure she's hearing everything properly. So I show her that I have mine on and it becomes easier for her to accept that; ‘Daddy does it, so I need to do it.’”
Urso realized that Truly might have a hearing problem when she was about 3 years old. After a few starts and stops, he brought her to the Callier Center last year. Truly has trouble hearing some sounds at high frequencies, but hearing aids fitted by Pugh have helped her hearing improve.
“I think it’s an extremely good thing. He is a typical dad, trying to do everything he can to ensure a successful outcome.”
In addition, Truly’s devices include an FM “streamer” function, which allows teachers to speak into a microphone that carries the sound directly to Truly’s hearing aids.
“The hearing aids have changed her life,” Urso said.
Urso’s hearing aids look like Truly’s — the same style and the same color. They just function differently.
Lisa Dyre, territory sales manager for hearing aid company Phonak, said it is rare for the company to receive such requests for nonworking hearing aids for parents.
Dyre gave kudos to the father for encouraging his daughter to wear her hearing aids. But she also congratulated Pugh for taking the time to ensure that the special request was handled.
“The audiologist is the person who makes kids successful with their hearing. When you have clinicians who are dedicated to taking the extra time to help fulfill wishes like this, it’s pretty extraordinary,” Dyre said.
Pugh, also clinical associate professor and master clinician in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, said he was simply pleased to work with the Ursos and help facilitate the father’s special hearing aids.
“I think it’s an extremely good thing. He is a typical dad, trying to do everything he can to ensure a successful outcome. Most parents want to do their best for their children,” he said.