Laura Muller was born with 50 per cent hearing loss but she has never let it hold her back. BEING a professional sky-diver is a challenge for anyone but when you only have 50 per cent hearing the challenge is all the greater. Laura Muller’s lack of hearing wasn’t diagnosed until she was 15. Up until then they thought she had selective hearing which meant she only heard what she wanted to. “Because you don’t know anything else you don’t realise that something is wrong,” says Laura. Once she was diagnosed she was fitted with an NHS hearing aid. “It was a strange feeling being suddenly able to hear things you haven’t heard before, but I found the hearing aids very dificult to get on with. I was never happy as I had to take them off in loud places and didn’t really end up wearing the devices very often.”
This caused problems during lessons as Laura couldn’t wear the aids as all they picked up was the background noise from the other people in the class.
“I got teased for not being able to hear very well.”
When she started at Lancaster University Laura, from Yeadon, began to wear the hearing aids permanently. “I wasn’t very confident talking amongst large groups of people as I wouldn’t be able to hear individuals very well with all the background noise.”
It was during her first year at university that Laura took up skydiving, although she decided to keep it a secret from her family.
“I’d always wanted to try skydiving but my mum really wasn’t keen on the idea. But when I went to university and got the chance I gave it a go and was hooked. I’ve always been into adrenalin sports and skydiving seemed like the ultimate adrenalin sport.”
But it wasn’t until she left university that Laura thought about making it her career.
“My hearing problems hadn’t been too much of an issue while I was at university, but when I left to try and get a job in the ‘real’ world you needed to be able to hear properly. I didn’t plan to go into skydiving as a career I just went to help out at a training centre over the summer and then offered me a job. I absolutely love it.”
In the last year Laura estimates she has done around 200 jumps, many from as high as 15,000 feet.She competes competatively in a four-way team, but at one point she feared her hearing problem could jeopardise her future.
One thing is for certain, this adrenalin junkie is showing that a disability need never stand in your way when it comes to realising your dreams.
If you have any questions about Hearing Loss or Hearing Aids please contact Hidden Hearing.