Sonus Hearing Care Professionals in Harrisburg, Illinois is operated by Dr. Nicholas Oldham and his wife Terrah (Hankins) Oldham. Dr. Oldham is the son of Roy and the late Haleen Oldham, as well as the Grandson of Ralph and Joan Gray in Eldorado. Dr. Oldham grew up in Eldorado as well as graduated from Eldorado High School in 2003, his wife Terrah grew up and graduated high school in Galatia. Terrah is the daughter of Ben and Michele Hankins of Galatia. Dr. Oldham later attended SIC for two years and transferred to Eastern Illinois University to receive his bachelors in Communication Disorders and Sciences. Dr. Oldham obtained his Doctorate of Audiology (Au.D) at the University of Louisville in 2011. During his graduate program, he fulfilled his externship requirements by working at the Louisville VA medical center.
Upon graduating, Dr. Oldham and Terrah currently live in Harrisburg with their daughter, Elle. Dr. Oldham decided very early on in his Graduate program that he was going to return to Saline County and open up an Audiology Clinic. “I have seen and know first-hand how underserved our community is when it comes to hearing health care. Currently, the next closest Audiologist is 30 miles away. While our local hearing aid dispensers do the best job they can of finding the right hearing aid to sell a client, only an audiologist is qualified to diagnose, treat, habilitate and rehabilitate someone who has a hearing loss. Because of that, I have always felt a sense of obligation to return home and provide a diagnostic and intervention service that will help take care of the same community that has played a huge role in helping raise me.”
Diagnosing hearing loss and providing intervention for hearing loss is a very personal matter to Dr. Oldham. It was discovered at the age of 3, that Nicholas had a significant and permanent hearing loss in both ears. Since then he has worn hearing aids, and has personally dealt with any and every stigma that can be attached to hearing loss and hearing aids. Dr. Oldham feels that his own hearing loss allows him a special insight to what his patients are experiencing, thus allowing him to truly empathize with his patients’ concerns and needs.
Dr. Oldham’s hearing loss has also been very beneficial in helping break the stigmas attach to hearing loss and hearing aids, such as hearing aids are too noticeable and will make me look handicapped, or I am too young to have hearing aids, they are only for older people. “Many of the stigmas attached to hearing loss and hearing aids simply are not true. In today’s society you can’t walk down the street without seeing something in a person’s ear, also many times I have to point out my own hearing aids to the patient before they notice them. If truth be told, an unaided hearing loss is much more noticeable than a hearing aid.”
Dr. Oldham’s overall goal is to bring awareness of the effects of hearing loss to the community. “The negative effects of hearing loss going untreated are very real. Many times individuals with hearing loss avoid social settings to prevent embarrassment. They isolate themselves from social activities that they enjoy, and in turn it reduces their overall Quality of Life by leading them to depression, anxiety, ease to anger, and fatigue.”