Jorge and Sandra’s Story

Two kids stand side by side hugging. The girl on the left has pigtails. The boy on the right has short hair. Both have large smiles.

Jorge, 10, and Sandra, 3, share a special bond that goes well beyond their family of five ties – a sound connection if you will – as both children were identified with hearing loss as babies, both fit with hearing technology by age two, and both participating in speech-language therapy at Hearts for Hearing.

Hearts for Hearing receives $5,000 grant from Oklahoma City Community Foundation

“In many cases, these campers – our patients – are the only children in their school classroom or friend group with a cochlear implant or some other type of hearing technology,” says Hearts for Hearing President & CEO Joanna T. Smith, who adds, “At our camp, all children – and many of the volunteer group leaders – rely on technology to hear. It is great to see all these campers interacting, having fun, and making friends with other students who experience the world just like them.” Smith said the iFund grant makes it possible to create such a high-quality camp experience for campers and expressed her gratitude to the Oklahoma City Community Foundation for its continued support.

Rodrigo’s Story

photo of a boy in front of a tree with cochlear implants and an off the ear processor

Rodri – as his family calls him – was born prematurely in Venezuela and spent the first weeks of his life in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and, according to his mom, survived thanks to oxygen support and antibiotics. She tells us, “We were told Rodri lost his hearing sometime in his first three months of life due to the antibiotics he had to be given to live.”

Dan’s Story

Photo of Dan Vestal

“We feel like he is aging backwards … everyday he experiences something brand new and exciting to him,” says Jonathan Vestal, son of our newest Patient Hero, Mr. Dan Vestal. As we celebrate our 20th anniversary year, we continue to highlight amazing Hearts for Hearing patient stories – and Mr. Vestal’s story is one that truly is incredibly special.

Josie’s Story

Photo of Josie sitting on a football field in a cheerleading uniform

Josie was born at only 25 weeks and weighed one pound, eight ounces when she was delivered. Sadly, her twin brother passed away at 18-days-old. Thankfully, Josie was able to survive her tiny beginning, and she remained in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit for 143 days.

Ava and Lilly’s Story

two girls stand in front of a fridge filled with soda. The girl on the left is leaning in to whisper a secret to the girl on the right.

Ava was two when she was diagnosed with bilateral hearing loss, and Lilly was diagnosed with deafness following her newborn hearing screen. Both sets of parents were independently referred to Hearts for Hearing and their little girls received their technology, audiology, and listening and spoken language therapy services through Hearts for Hearing. It was a teacher at their preschool who first introduced them and pointed out that they had something special in common, they each wear hearing technology.

Hearts for Hearing Receives $200,000 Grant from Masonic Charity Foundation

Masonic Charity Board President Neill Stiff (left) and Grand Master Glen Chaney (right) present an oversized check representing a $200,000 grant to support Hearts for Hearing’s Newborn Hearing Screen Services program and efforts to detect hearing loss as early as possible in the lives of Oklahoma babies. Accepting this generous gift on behalf of Hearts for Hearing are Chief of External Affairs, Kris Hopper, and Hardy Watkins, Chief of Strategy & Innovation.

Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma recently awarded Hearts for Hearing a generous grant of $200,000 to support its Newborn Hearing Screen (NBHS) programs across the state. The newborn hearing screen is a specialized screening performed shortly after birth to help diagnose hearing loss in newborns.

Henrietta’s Story

Photo of a girl with glasses smiling at the camera. She has dark hair and a light colored top.

Henrietta experienced hearing loss as a young adult. “Music is her love language,” says Mom, “and my vibrant, bubbly, gregarious child who loves everybody – and wants to sing and dance with you – found herself in an increasingly silent world. She was in depression.”

Elijah’s Story

black and white photo of a young boy with cochlear implants shaking a tambourine

When Elijah was born, he was “absolutely perfect” recalls his mom. “We didn’t think anything of it when he did not pass his newborn hearing screen, and we were told it was probably just fluid in his ear.” Elijah was referred for a routine follow-up which again he did not pass. “Even then, it wasn’t scary for me because we didn’t have any hearing loss in our family, so we didn’t think it was even a possibility.”

Lily’s Story

a black and white photo of a girl with dark curly hair infront of a window

“I’m told I was a feisty one,” says Lily Hernandez, “a stubborn one,” she adds. “Tami Elder was my Listening and Spoken Language Specialist. I remember all the games we played with my family in therapy. She was very patient and fun.” That’s how Lily fondly recalls her early speech therapy sessions at Hearts for Hearing when she was a toddler.

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