ONE Awards


Hearts for Hearing is one of twenty-one Oklahoma organizations that are now finalists for the prestigious Oklahoma Nonprofit Excellence (ONE) Awards, presented annually by the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits (OKCNP). Out of almost 19,000 nonprofits statewide, only twenty-one were named finalists.

What is Tinnitus?

the word tinnitus is spelled out with wooden blocks

Tinnitus is defined as a perception of sound when no external noise is present, most often noticed during quiet activities.

Joanna Smith stepping down at Hearts for Hearing

Hearts for Hearing CEO and co-founder, Joanna T. Smith, is stepping down from her role after a 47-year career serving individuals with communication needs and helping babies and children born deaf learn to listen and talk.

Zoe’s Story

a young girl smiling with a bow in her hair

Mom describes the pregnancy and delivery as nothing out of the ordinary. Looking back, she remembers being comforted by the fact that a nurse mentioned how well Zoe slept that first night – even though other babies were crying all around her.

Nelson’s Story

A young boy in a transformer costume with a hearing aid smiles at the camera.

-year-old Nelson is the baby of his family. It is fair to say that he is doted over by everyone, especially his big sister Shade. Mom tells us Nelson loves the attention his big sister gives – even if it comes by him annoying her – and he’s definitely very good at it. “Still,” says Mom, “Shade is his best friend.” Mom loves hearing the sounds of her children playing or reading together, but at one time, she was not certain it would ever be possible.

Maverick’s Story

Maverick Hunter

Maverick tells us he doesn’t know how to compare himself to his hearing friends because he feels he is the same. When a stranger asks him about his technology, he tells them he was born deaf, that he has cochlear implants, and he needs the processors…

Michael’s Story

Michael Goldbeck smiles in his white coat

Michael was diagnosed with bilateral, profound hearing loss in February of 1998 at 18 months of age. At the time, his family was living in New Mexico however his father had just accepted a faculty position at OU College of Dentistry in Oklahoma City. His mom immediately began researching hearing care services in Oklahoma City, and her search led her to Speech-Language Pathologist, Joanna Smith (our founder), who was with an organization that in 2003 became Hearts for Hearing.

Tyler’s Story

Tyler Sams sitting on stairs outside

“Being deaf never really held me back on the court, except during the hottest times of the year,” says Tyler, who recalls, “I did sweat through many Nucleus-5 processors before I started using a waterproof sleeve, which helped.” According to Tyler, the Nucleus-7 handles a lot more sweat than older models, and he’s learned to dry-off his hair more often when playing, and he wears a cap. “He adds, I also keep my hair cut short on the sides and I use toupee tape to help keep processors in place.”

Carter’s Story

Carter walking while holding mom's hands

When Carter was born in early summer 2022, Mom and Dad say they were “blind-sided” when he was born with bilateral microtia. This is a condition defined as underdevelopment of the ear, which means the ear is either too small or not shaped as it should be, or both. Carter also had a cleft lip on the corner of his mouth. “The pregnancy and delivery had been perfectly normal,” says Mom, “we had no idea he would be born with these conditions until the moment he arrived.”

Hadley and Dennis’ Story

a man kneeling next to a young girl in a dress. They both have hearing aids.

11-year-old Hadley helped inspire her grandfather – and still does every day. At 3 ½ years of age, at a Mother’s Day Out class, Hadley referred for additional follow-up at a routine hearing test. “It is probably sinus pressure and fluid in her ears,” thought Mom and Dad. They felt certain her hearing was fine because they interacted with her and watched her relate with family members as a toddler. Still, Hadley had experienced many ear infections, and the parents wanted to be certain everything looked okay.

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