Cape Coral hearing doctor’s mission is to help patients just like him

Many doctors do good things for their patients. But few are able to relate to their patients and help them the way one Cape Coral audiology doctor can.

Dr. David Shropshire feels his patients’ pain and their frustration because he’s lived what they live. He’s experienced hearing loss for years.

“To have them sit across the table, you know, I can tell them and say, “I’ve been where you are. I’ve been in your shoes,’” Shropshire said.

When a hearing aid wasn’t enough, Shropshire felt he had no choice but to get a cochlear implant. His life’s work now is to help others just like him.

“I needed to read lips. I needed to know what we were talking about,” Shropshire said. “I need to be in a controlled environment, you know, kind of reducing the background noise.”

Shropshire began to lose his hearing when he was 3 years old, so he wore hearing aids growing up. Then, the summer before he started graduate school, Shropshire woke up to silence.

“So I go see my doctor, and she looks at me like, ‘The hearing aid’s fine. You’ve lost the rest of your hearing,’” Shropshire said. “And it was that moment where I was like it sunk in.”

Shropshire knew the only option was a cochlear implant. When he could hear again, he knew helping others like him was his calling. That’s when he decided to become an audiologist.

“It’s a process. This is not something I can put on your ears and you walk out of this office perfect,” Shropshire said.

Dr. Maura Chippendale, the owner of the office Shropshire works at in Cape Coral, told us she tried to get one of her patients to get a cochlear implant for years and couldn’t do it. That patient had one conversation with Shropshire and now says it’s the best thing she’s done.

“When they see that he has a hearing aid, a cochlear implant, they feel like they’re understood even better,” said Chippendale, the owner of Chippendale Audiology. “You know, I can understand from years and years of working, but he gets every day what they experience, all the challenges of speech and noise.”

Shropshire told us he never saw his hearing loss as a curse. He calls it a blessing.

“It kind of gave me that skill that you gotta work hard if you want to go far in life,” Shropshire said. “I would not have it any other way. I really enjoy what I do.”

Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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