Can you imagine total silence or hearing only muffled conversations?  “You adapt,” says recent CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy graduate Lauren Kirchner.  “But there is an advantage.  Patients think I am really engaging with them because I am concentrating on their lips and hearing what they have to say.”

And in a career that requires patient interaction, being attentive is a plus.

Kirchner was born hearing impaired with 90% deficit compared to normal. “My parents didn’t know that I couldn’t hear until I was about two or three years old,” says Kirchner.

But even though she’s had hearing aids for most of her life, there is a big difference between really good ones and those that are just so-so. “For years I could hear maybe one of 10 words with background noise.” About a year and a half ago, Kirchner purchased new aids and it was a “miracle for my ears.” Now, she hears eight out of 10 words that are said (with background noise).

Because of her hearing impairment she thought long and hard about a career in pharmacy where listening to patients is a requirement. “I struggles with my decision to pursue pharmacy. I thought about being on the phone a lot and the importance of getting every single detail right. Could I do it?” She toyed with pursuing accounting, the path her parents took.  “I didn’t want to pick a career just because it would be easy. So, I picked something I wanted to do,” Kirchner recalls.

“I’m proud to be in the medical field,” says Kirchner who will be staying in Colorado and has a position with Kaiser post-graduation.


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