LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - 26-year-old Ashley Duty has struggled with severe hearing loss her entire life. She says her hearing has only gotten worse in the past six years.
It’s an exciting day for this Mount Sterling woman, who got hearing aids that allow her to hear clearly for the first time.
She was born with a rare genetic disorder that left her mom, Elsie Cole, searching for a cure for her daughter's entire life.
"I guess Facebook likes to follow whatever you search on the internet, so it brought up the Miracle Ear Foundation," Elsie said.
Duty applied to get the hearing aids and treatment.
"We're up to 14,000 children and 25,000 adults that we have fitted," said Melissa Wilson, a hearing care professional.
Growing up, Duty used sign language. Now, she solely relies on reading lips.
"I don't hear the cars running, I don't hear cats purring, I don't hear ceiling fans, engine running, water running," Duty said.
She says her hearing loss makes it hard to talk to her daughter, be outgoing in social situations, and even order at restaurants.
After an entire life of what Duty calls silence, she can now hear everything-- even the buzz of the fluorescent lighting.
She says she's amazed something so small can do something so big.
Her first stop: Walmart, to talk to the cashier and take in the background noise.
Duty's hearing specialist said it will take time for her to adjust to her new hearing aids, but her care at this facility will come at no cost for as long as she needs it.
Duty's hearing specialist says she will need to come in periodically to get her prescription updated. She says it's more of a rehabilitative process than a quick fix.