Marble Falls resident wins gift of sound after two years of hearing loss

Richard Zowie/The Highlander
Dr. Jake Keup, Audiology at Estes Audiology, fits Lucio “Roy” Atkinson, with a pair of Phonak Bolero B hearing aids.




By Richard Zowie
Staff Writer

Lucio “Roy” Atkinson arrived at Estes Audiology on Dec. 26 to receive a belated Christmas gift.

Jake Keup, Doctor of Audiology at Estes Audiology, inserted Phonak Bolero B hearing aids into Atkinson's ears. The doctor used a computer to test the aids to make sure they work and, just to be on the safe side, scheduled a follow-up appointment in January to ensure the new devices were working properly.

It'll take you time to get used to the new sounds,” Keup tells the Marble Falls resident and his wife, Janie.

Atkinson and Janie talk back and forth as he gets used to the new sounds.

It sounds good to hear things again,” said Atkinson.

Janie said her husband's hearing started to go a little over two years ago. Atkinson recalled that he hunted years ago without ear protection when using firearms, something that likely didn't help.

Hearing aids don't make loud sounds louder, but they keep things sounding natural,” said Keup. “The goal is to hear better, hear life differently. all for the good.

The aids, which provide a lot power to Atkinson's ears, work well for him.

I can hear myself breathing,” he said.

Atkinson was the recipient of the Estes Audiology’s Gift of Hearing this Christmas.

He is extremely touched and emotional about receiving this gift, as is his family,” said Rayleen Nelson, executive administrative assistant with Estes Audiology. “He has had hearing loss for a good while.”

Nelson submitted an application on Atkinson's behalf, as she could tell he wasn't hearing well.

In social groups and at sporting groups, and around his grandkids, or at home with his children, it's affecting him being able to communicate,” she said. “It's affecting his happpiness, and I want him to have a better life.”

Atkinson began working at an early age to support his family, and Nelson describes him, now retired, as “all about family.”

That means a lot to me,” she said. “Whenever I go see his children or see them and his grandchildren at a sporting event when I'm there with my children, he's always there. He's very important to the family. And so, we need him to hear.”

Nelson added: “Roy's life is filled making visual memories; however, he is missing out on the auditory memories. Not only has Roy been missing out on hearing his grandchildren's names being announced at events, hearing how everyone's day has been at the dinner table, but he is also missing out on the one-on-one meaningful conversations, like hearing, 'I love you Grandpa!' His life has not only been affected by the loss of hearing but now by the other effects that are associated with hearing loss, like depression, dementia, and the loss of balance.”

Nelson added that Atkinson is “kind and compassionate” and has been a blessing to her as a friend.

Atkinson is 71, and Janie, his wife of 41 years, said this is the first time her husband has worn hearing aids.

“Lucio is the kindest, caring person I am blessed to know,” she said. “He has worked all his life raising, supporting our four children, and making sure there were taken care of. He is very involved in their lives, especially the grandchildrens' sports activities, which now with hearing loss has made it so vary hard for him and has affected his socializing with everyone. He knows no strangers, so that depresses him. Lucio has had a lot of bad luck in his life. This would improve his life tremendously.”

Family speaks

Other family members have expressed how hearing aids would benefit Atkinson.

Albert Valdez, his son-in-law: “It's harder for him to hear and join in on conversations, and that gets him very frustrated. I lost my dad to cancer, and my father-in-law is my gift as a father. it hurts me that he suffers and can't hear.”

Amy Valdez, his daughter: “[My dad] has been through so much...The greatest gift that he could get is to hear. He loves to be at all of his grandchildrens' sports and is devoted to his family.”

Lisa Atkinson, daughter-in-law: “ a very giving man and has always given to all and will go without to make sure his famioy has. The 'gift of hearing' would mean so much to Lucio and is deserved.”

About Estes

Estes Audiology is at 304-B Highlander Circle in Marble Falls and online at

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