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Ear Community

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: Promote educational and public awareness about Microtia and Atresia and hearing loss, in an unbiased manner, while promoting advocacy and connecting individuals in the same situation.

Results: The Ear Community Organization has donated nearly 70 hearing devices to the needy who have Microtia and Atresia, has awarded nearly 10 college scholarships and has hosted dozens of picnics bringing families together all over the world helping educate them about all of their options for Microtia and Atresia where medical professionals and hearing device companies join together to help educate everyone about hearing loss and so families realize they are not alone with Microtia and Atresia.

Target demographics: provide support and information for families and individuals affected by Microtia and Atresia all over the world. We are a global organization.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1500 people personally at the family events we hosted during the summer of 2013. Our foundation has helped thousands of people all over the world, including updating medical professionals with current information about all options for individuals affected by Microtia and Atresia.

Geographic areas served: Broomfield, Colorado

Programs: Educational events that help families learn about their options and about Microtia and Atriesia and hearing loss. Educational webinars and presentations that help educate and promote awareness to medical professionals, medical facilities, and families across the world so they will know how to help someone who has Microtia and Atresia. The Ear Community Foundation grants college scholarships, donates hearing devices to needy individuals born with Microtia and Atresia, and may be able to help with financial assistance toward travel costs when planning for surgery. We also provide an entire website that contains anything and everything anyone would ever need to know about Microtia and Atresia. Our website has videos, testimonials, life stories, pictures of individuals from all over the world who have Microtia and Atresia, information about surgical procedures, books, hearing devices, helpful accessories, school and financial information and more.

Community Stories

22 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Sheila L.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My grandson was just born with microtia and atresia. I cannot even tell you how greatly happy we were to find this page. The ability to know other people were going through the same thing, the advice, and the ability to find information and know there was help out there. After reading the page and going to links and carefully reading what to do next we feel ready to get through this. My grandson is almost 2 weeks old and in a couple days we will be at Uof M for our appointments to the audiologist and ENT. With this page I felt like a better advocate to ask the peditrician to send us to the important specialist ASAP. We are a grateful family and recommend this page!! Thanks Again!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We LOVE Ear Community! The information has been awesome, we went to a picnic and I was brought to tears to see other children just like my little girl. This organization is a godsend and I am so glad to have found it!

1 Jen H.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 3yr old daughter Lily has unilateral Microtia and Atresia of the right ear. I found your organization on the internet after she was fitted with her softband at 6 months and I just wanted you to know it has been an absolute blessing to me and my daughter! Being able to share and read other families trials, successes, and experiences has made all the difference in the world when often times we feel so alone or that others around us do not understand. I was able to attend the Nashville conference and family picnic thanks to you and this foundations efforts so again THANK YOU! It was such a wonderful, educational, eye opening experience.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

As most other parents of a child born with Microtia Atresia we were clueless when she was born as were the doctors and nurses we came in contact with. I found out about Ear Community (EC) while searching online and it has been a wonderful experience for us.

Many parents feel like they are on an island and Ear Community has made us and our daughter realize there are children all over the world like her. EC hosts picnics internationally as well as in the US, educates medical professionals and advocates for our children. Working with hearing device manufacturers, we are able to donate hearing aids to need-based children worldwide. Without this organization, parents would have to spend countless hours searching for answers that aren't readily available.

Our founder, Melissa, works tirelessly to grow the organization while searching for funding. While Ear Community may not be as well know as other causes, it is vital to parents and any size donation will have an amazing impact on our children.

1 Alma H.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Ear community has been a blessing in our son's journey with dealing with Microtia/Atresia. When I first had my baby I was totally clueless. Luckily after only a few weeks, I found the group online and I joined the support group on FB. Ear community has helped so many encounter advice, help, support and even their own aids. Through the organization we have been able to meet others in our same situation. We were lucky enough to make it to one of the picnics and we were able to meet many families with kids with Microtia. Ear community has also done a wonderful job in trying to share Microtia Awareness. Truly a blessing!! Thanks Ear Community!!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Ear Community is an invaluable resource for everyone wishing to know more about all aspects of Microtia/Atresia. It is sincerely appreciated and well-respected by audiological/medical communities, educators, counsellors, and among related professionals. One of Ear Community's chief priorities is to be a complete resource for families and individuals managing Microtia/Atresia. I have been acquainted with Ear Community for many years. I use them as my GoTo for anything related to Microtia/Atresia. So thankful for this great amazing group doing such important work. Dr. Linda Cox, Florida Audiologist

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Ear Community is a nonprofit organization /network for those who have and know loved ones with Microtia and Atresia. This is a place of immense knowledge and a great to seak information and advice. The Ear Community is an amazing community, they care and support whenever and however the can.

1 Viviana G.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The day my son was born we learned he had bilateral Microtia/ Atresia. Since then I found the Ear Community online/ Facebook and I sent a message seeking advice not knowing what to expect or what to do next. The founder (Melissa Tumblin) sent me a long reply with tons of information, what to expect, what specialist I should set appointments with and most important of all gave us hope and encouragement to be the best advocates for my son now (4 months old). I'm so grateful I found this organization early on to get the resources, support and peace of mind we needed. They've been a Godsend

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Hi Everyone,

This is Arkin, a Bilateral Microtia Atresia from Philippines. Since Arkin was born Ear Community was became my most favorite web page. It's became my Dictonary, My Reader's digest, and My Magazine.

Most of all, I am very thankful to this generous Organization. They donated 2 bone anchored hearing devices to my son just right it time when he is learning his speech skills . Ear Comm. You are the one who introduce the beauty of music and sounds. It was an answered prayer for us! Getting Aid here in my country is like playing Mission Impossible! I was devastated then but Ear Comm has became the God's way of helping us. All this Amazing works happen last Aug 2015. And now, Arkin is 2 yrs old. A happy kiddo who love to sing and dance. Love to say hello with a pretty smile in every people he meet along his way. I am sure you'll be proud on him!

Thank you so much!
And I will be forever grateful!

Happy Mom,
Jhoan

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

When my son was born with Microtia and atretia, at first I didn't know what it was so I felt devastated I had no one to turn to, I felt alone confused about my sons future. I did several google search until I came across the Ear Community. I sent them a message asking for help, they reply right away with tons of information and support. Today thanks to the Ear Community I know a lot more about my sons condition.

1 Beth M.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I LOVE Ear Community! I have gotten so much support, and education from this organization's website. Truly a life-changer for my family!

1 Aaron55

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Amazing people and amazing network of volunteers! They helped me in my time of need and I am forever grateful! I help and donate what I can!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Ear Community and it's creator, Melissa Tumblin, have truly been a lifesaver for my family from the very beginning of our journey with a child with Microtia and Atresia. Our daughter was diagnosed with right-sided Microtia and Atresia at birth and our pediatrician had very little to no knowledge about her condition. The emotional roller coaster that accompanied specialist appointments, and navigating the very scary territory of figuring out how to raise our special needs daughter, was greatly calmed once I reached out to the Ear Community for help. I searched the website and found so much helpful information that I wished I had found earlier. Not only was I better able to understand my daughter's condition better but I was able to connect with other parents of kids with Microtia and create great supportive friendships that have latter over the years. The Ear Community also holds numerous picnics over the summer in a variety of locations to help gather families and people effected by Microtia, Atresia and other facial deformities and syndromes. These picnics allowed us to talk to specialists and learn the latest procedures available as well as try out devices and talk to people to find out about their experiences. I cannot express how incredibly wonderful and helpful these picnics are to attend. My daughter LOVES meeting other people with a BAHA and little ear like hers. The Ear Community also provided my daughter with a new hearing device last year and words cannot express how grateful we are for the generosity that the Ear Community has shown us. We will forever be grateful for the comfort and knowledge we received from this wonderful site and Melissa personally.

1 Erin111

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Ear Community is such a fantastic organization. They offer support, resources, and information and provide a community to feel a part of. We are so thankful to have the Ear Community to rely on.

1 Misty H.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We love the Ear Community!!!!! ❤️❤️❤️
So thankful for an amazing group that is so full of support and information for the Microtia/Atresia community.
Thank you for all that you do!! ❤️

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Ear Community is the best resource for anyone with Microtia and Atresia. When my son was born the Doctors didn't even know what was wrong with my sons ear. I spent countless hours that night in the hospital researching why it could be. That is when I found Ear Community. No better resource nor support group out there! The work they do with hearing device donations is amazing! Th support provided by the organization from advice to moral support is unheard of these days! I wish more people would step up and help this organization with donations so they can continue to help others!

1 Melissa311

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter Sophia was born with bilateral microtia and atresia. When she was first born we were confused and had no answers on where to turn and directions on our next steps. When Sophia was 3 months old we saw an ent and learned what her birth defect was called. After learning the name we googled it and stumbled upon ear communities website. Honestly, we did not realize how life changing finding ear community would be for Sophia on her microtia journey. We have a great ENT but there was still information and options we were unaware of until we found ear community. Ear community is where we found out about the cochlear BAHA soft band that allowed Sophia to hear in her right ear. This sight is also where my daughter has found life long friends who are on their own microtia journey. I could go on and on. The founder of ear community has poured her time, energy, and heart into helping families and individuals with microtia in every way possible. For that we are forever grateful!
Melissa Shemanski

1 Kassandra O.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son was born with right sided Microtia & Atresia grade 3. He was baby number 3 for us! So never in my wildest dreams did I think my son would be born with a birth defect since my other 2 were born perfectly healthy. When he was born the Doctor’s hand was covering his little ear and when she placed him on my chest, it was little ear down. So for about 30 minutes or so we had no idea he was born with a fairly rare ear abnormality. When I flipped him over to get a good look at his cute chubby little face I noticed his ear was folded over….I thought nothing of it being my 3rd child because I know newborns cartilage is very thin. I tried unfolding it, but I couldn’t and it was then I realized something was not right. I asked both nurses in the room what it was & they stated they’ve seen this before- but did not know the medical terminology. I frantically looked at his fingers and toes to make sure there were 10 & thankfully there were.

I spent the next 12 hours in fear and tears wondering what I could have done to cause this. Ultimately, blaming myself…could it be the flu shot I got, could it have been the few drinks I had PRIOR to knowing I was pregnant, could it have been stress, food??? I wanted to google it so bad because I am the “Google Queen” says my husband- but he told me not to. He said I shouldn’t scare myself and I should wait for the doctor to come in and give the diagnosis. As soon as I got home I googled his diagnosis and found the wonderful Ear Community! Hands down the best google search ever! :)

I reached out to Melissa via Facebook messenger in hopes she could in some way ease my fears and worries and that is exactly what she did! She was kind enough to call me that same night. I’ll never forget that conversation. Melissa told me her story about her beautiful daughter Ally and how she blamed herself at one point which most mothers do in the beginning. I thought that was so kind of her. I knew right then and there this was a special organization.

For the next 6 months to a year I religiously followed every single post on Ear Community. It helped me get though my post-partum depression and lead me to realize even though my family and I have never met anyone with Microtia/Atresia, we were not alone and it wasn’t as rare as the doctors made it out to be. I was able to ask questions for all my sons future doctor’s appointments (there were a lot) & everyone was so responsive & supportive. When he got his BAHA at 3 months I couldn’t wait to share it with the group! How cool is that? I was able to feel proud after months of blaming myself. This organization is truly a gem! Ear Community is a support group of everyday parents just trying to raise their kids the best they can and it’s so nice that no matter your view on surgery or aiding your child is we can all relate and support each other no matter what and that is pretty special!

I also want to mention a very special family we connected with thanks to EC, The Bayan’s have become family to us and our boys will grow up together knowing they are not alone just as Christine and I did. So thank you Ear Community for the endless support and love!

1 Jay_49

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter, Eden, was born on September 19, 2010. The first time I saw her the nurses were around her and I said light-heartedly, "does she have 10 fingers and toes". The nurses assured me that she did, but they showed me that her ear was folded over. I had absolutely no idea what had happened and I had never seen or heard of a child being born with an undeveloped ear. I went back to our hospital room shortly after and starting researching on the Internet. Within an hour of Eden's birth I found the Facebook support page that evolved into Ear Community, and I was talking on the phone with Melissa. I've relied heavily on Ear Community the last five years while making decisions for my daughter. She is scheduled to have surgery on July 29. Without this group and the support and advice that I have received I would have been far less educated and confident moving forward with Eden's surgery next month. I can't thank Melissa and all of the members of this group enough for sharing their knowledge, experiences and stories with me. Eden and I are very fortunate to have found this group so quickly. Thank you, Ear Community!

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Ear Community is a great resource for people with the fairly rare condition of microtia and Artesia to get information that is hard to find, even from doctors, and even better...it's all on one website! The website also has tons of useful information for many others with hearing loss and craniofacial abnormalities. It's also a great way to meet people who understand what I go through and share support. They also do a great job of housing summer picnics around the world (although mainly U.S. since that's where they are located and have the most volunteers). I've been attending them for three years, and it's always a great opportunity!