From an early age Angela Loucks-Alexander has been interested in hearing. "I used to spend a bit of time at the audiologist as a kid, and was really interested in anything to do with the senses" says Angela. As she progressed through her schooling, Angela started to realise that there was something amiss. "I was always being told I needed to concentrate more and pay attention. I really struggled in noisy environments and found it hard to hear the difference between similar words. I was a good kid and wanted to do the right thing, but often I couldn't understand what people were asking of me" says Angela.
Then Angela attended a life-changing university lecture on Auditory Processing Disorder (APD). "The lecturer described all the hearing difficulties I was experiencing on a daily basis. Finally I had a name for my symptoms" says Angela. Auditory Processing Disorder affects up to 10% of children, and symptoms include difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments, following instructions, and distinguishing between similar sounds. It is not commonly identified but can have a significant impact on a child's ability to learn.
Angela, who has completed a doctorate in audiology, owns the Hear Better Audiology clinic in Taupo. She also runs an online APD training programme for audiologists from around the world, helping them to correctly diagnose and manage the disorder. "This is a specialist field. There are just three audiologists in New Zealand and 250 worldwide that work with APD clients. My goal is to double this number in the next three years" says Angela.
Enterprise Great Lake Taupo's business development programmes have been a strong part of Angela's business growth journey. "The team at EGLT have always been on-hand with good advice. and their training courses have been really helpful" says Angela. She is currently a member of the Alternative Board, which offers a mix of one-on-one coaching and group sessions. "We each bring a specific business problem to the Board, and we work through a structured approach to identify solutions together. It's a safe space to share issues, and we learn a lot from each other through the process" says Angela.
Local business support has been strong for Angela, who loves the easy lifestyle of Taupo. "There are many entrepreneurial businesses in Taupo and people make an effort to get behind new ideas. It's not an old-boys club, and success is genuinely celebrated. There are lots of opportunities here as long as you're willing to reach out and grab them. Establishing and growing my business in Taupo has been a life-changing experience, and i'm really grateful for all the support i've received along the way" says Angela.
Audiologists Sami Lenz and Angela Alexander, outside their Taupo audiology clinic