In the News: Gilbert Mother Gets Surprise Help for Son’s Hearing Loss Due to MRSA (just in time for Better Hearing and Speech Month)

Bary E. Williams Au.D. Better Hearing and Speech Month, Community, Ear Health, Family & Relationships, Hearing Health, News

The month of May, better known around here as Better Hearing and Speech Month is one of the most exciting times for us at Exceptional Hearing Care. We love celebrating improved speech, hearing and communication all year long – but in May it becomes even more important. Every year, the American Speech Language and Hearing Association apply a theme for Better Speech and Hearing Month (BHSM). This year, the theme is “Communication for All”.

We love the inclusiveness of this theme, and when thinking about communication for all, we thought about communication and hearing for one of our most vulnerable populations, our children. This brought us to a beautiful story we heard a few months back about a boy named Joshua and his mother Shealynn.


Meet Joshua and Shealynn

Shealynn is a single Gilbert mother of three young children – one of which is four-year-old Joshua. Unfortunately, Joshua contracted a skin staph infection called MRSA that ended up literally eating away the young boy’s eardrum. Shealynn says of the distressing situation, “my son had tubes in his ears, he had chronic infections and he ended up getting MRSA in his right ear … I ended up taking him to the doctor and she said, ‘His eardrum is gone. We’ve never seen anything like this’” (

Doctors told a terrified Shealynn that surgery was the best option to preserve her son’s remaining hearing. During the surgery, doctors used a graft from behind his ear to make an eardrum. “I cried”, Shaelynn admits, “I tried to be strong for him, but it was tough” (

Once surgery was finished, the journey was not over for Joshua and Shealynn. The price tag of a hearing aid loomed over Shealynn, “as a single mother, it’s hard”, she stated. Luckily for the mother and son duo – they were in for a big surprise. “Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad” and Ear Foundation AZ surprised Shealynn and Joshua at their home with the promise of a loaner hearing aid immediately, and their advocacy for a permanent hearing aid in the near future.

To further help with the cost of Joshua’s hearing loss, Ear Foundation AZ and Valley Toyota Dealers teamed up to present Shaelynn $3000 to help with further medical expenses.

There is no doubt the support and advocacy from Ear Foundation AZ, new hearing aids and financial assistance for medical expenses will help Joshua obtain better speech, hearing and communication!


Communication for All

The brainchild behind Better Hearing and Speech Month is the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA). ASHA’s mission is to make effective communication – a human right – accessible and achievable for all. The purpose of Better Hearing and Speech Month is to improve awareness of speech, language, hearing and communication disorders and how to overcome them. The initiate also aims to encourage people to assess their own hearing and speech, and take action if necessary. BHSM aims to connect people with the means and supports necessary to help improve their hearing, speech or communication – and drastically improve their lives.

There are many ways to get involved in Better Hearing and Speech Month. Like or follow ASHA and BHSM on Twitter (, Facebook (, and Instagram ( You can also use social media to post about your experience with speech, hearing or communication using the hashtag #bhsm. There is also an opportunity to share your inspirational stories about these issues to be published on the BHSM website here:


How Exceptional Hearing Care Can Help

If you think you may be experiencing some of the early signs of hearing loss, what better time than Better Hearing and Speech Month to schedule your first comprehensive hearing assessment? May is our favorite month of the year and it may become yours too if it is the month you finally take that first step towards better hearing and an improved quality of life. Reach out to us today and our friendly team will walk you through the quick and painless process, and will work with you to help you better understand your own personal hearing abilities, profile and needs. We look forward to celebrating Better Hearing and Speech Month with you!

Bary E. Williams Au.D.
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