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. Smith, a Speech-Language Pathologist, co-founded Hearts for Hearing in 2003 and has served as the CEO for the organization since 2011. The organization is one of the leading hearing health care centers for children and adults in the United States.  

“When we began, our goal was raising funds to help pay for the first set of hearing aids and to provide the necessary therapy to children born deaf,” says Smith,who adds, “I am proud to say our mission continues stronger than ever and Hearts for Hearing has expanded well beyond our original goals and team of four people to establish itself as a comprehensive hearing care center of excellence employing more than 160 professionals with clinics in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.” Including its newborn hearing screen services division, the organization served more than 37,000 patients in 2023.  

Hearts for Hearing’s Board of Directors has engaged a professional search firm, and a national search is underway to fill the role Smith is vacating. She has agreed to remain in an advisory role through June 30, 2024, to help facilitate a smooth transition.

Hearts for Hearing offers a unique service delivery model that includes both an audiologist and a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist working together with a child and family. The organization also conducts leading edge research with universities, health care entities, and manufacturers helping to advance greater understanding of hearing loss. Hearts for Hearing providers offer device management, support group and patient care therapy services to families, an early childhood classroom, Bridges, to help children using cochlear implant and/or hearing aid technology prepare for their neighborhood classroom setting, and hearing screen services to people of all ages. The Adult Clinic at Hearts for Hearing delivers comprehensive hearing evaluations, device prescription and management, and specialty care services for hearing loss, tinnitus, misophonia, and vestibular and balance conditions.  

 “My focus is and always will be sustainability of Hearts for Hearing’s important mission, delivery of exceptional patient care and customer service, and finding solutions to help ensure every baby born deaf or hard of hearing has an opportunity to access sound and an ability to reach their full listening and talking potential,” says Smith, who concludes, “It has been a privilege to lead Hearts for Hearing, and I will continue to support  the organization as it brings sound to children and adults for years to come. 

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