‘A Christmas miracle:’ Central Florida mom wins hearing aids in essay contest for her daughter

It’s the 5th year a Clermont audiologist has given away ‘Gift of Hearing’

CLERMONT, Fla. – The wrapping paper and boxes may still be filling your recycling bins, but a Central Florida mother and daughter have a story this Christmas about a special gift that can’t be wrapped.

For many people, it’s the time of year to get in the spirit of giving back. Some pause to wonder when was the last time someone asked why do you give?

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If you ask audiologist Dr. Kristen Weinbaum of Precision Hearing in Clermont, her idea of giving back hits close to home.

“I got into audiology actually because I have a hearing loss also, and it runs in my family,” Weinbaum said.

For the last five years, Weinbaum has sent out a call for anyone in need of hearing aids to send in an essay. One contestant is selected to win a free device worth thousands of dollars.

“I do always end up reading them, and I have my people that I’m fighting for,” Weinbaum said.

Laurelanne Hise of Sanford entered the essay contest for her 16-year-old daughter Amanda.

“I saw the contest on the news,” Hise said.

Hise’s daughter needed surgery after she was born and ended up with hearing loss. The teenager had been wearing one donated hearing aid because her mother said her insurance would not cover the cost of hearing aids for children.

“It’s been really hard, so when I saw the contest I thought right away this would be a life-changer. This would be such a blessing, a Christmas miracle if she could get new hearing aids,” Wise said.

This year the contest featured updated artificial intelligence technology included in the new hearing aids, worth over $5,000. Wise and her daughter were surprised to learn she had won the essay contest during a Zoom call with News 6.

“This totally gave me the Christmas spirit this year, I am just so thankful,” Wise said.