Our winner announced!

Life Improves for Another Hear for the Holidays Winner

by | Feb 2, 2023 | Hear for the Holidays, Patient Resources

November 2022 brought another chance for the Utah Ear Institute to improve someone’s hearing.

Our Hear for the Holidays initiative gives premium hearing aids and hearing healthcare to a community member in need.

Dr. Mary Markovich started this annual tradition in 2009. As the Director of Audiology at Blue Ridge Hearing Center, she found the perfect way to give back to her community.

The positivity didn’t end there. Hear for the Holidays spread around America and even into Canada.

I’m Dr. Joshua Luekenga, audiologist and founder of The Utah Ear Institute. My team and I recently had the pleasure of announcing this year’s winner!

The 2022 Hear for the Holidays winner receives ReSound OMNIA hearing aids. You couldn’t ask for a better way to combat severe hearing loss.

Our team is thrilled around this time of year, but choosing a winner isn’t simple.

We read submissions from family members, friends, and colleagues. All nominations are worthy, but we can only select one. Our team finds the nominee who needs our support the most.

I’m overjoyed to share this year’s winner…

Life-Changing News for Mary and Her Family

“She helps everyone in our life, always has,” said Mary’s husband, Scott.

Mary Martinez has moderately severe hearing loss and embodies the spirit of this competition. As a foster mother, she goes above and beyond to give back to her community.

She nurtures at-risk children and youth, helping them navigate their complex lives. Hearing problems shouldn’t stand in her way.

The people in Mary’s life had no shortage of reasons why she deserved our help. It was heart-wrenching to read the letter from Mary’s sister, Andrea.

“Her lack of being able to hear as well as she wants to is affecting her daily life, and she has fewer educational, sometimes job opportunities due to this impairment.”

Andrea also states that Mary is “socially withdrawn” and suffers emotionally from hearing loss. Here’s one of the things we admire about Mary: despite her social struggles, she shoulders the responsibility of raising foster children.

Mary’s son, Dylan, wrote eloquently about his mother’s situation:

“She seems so young to have not had the opportunity to hear as well as she can, with what the world around her truly sounds like…”

About Mary winning the competition, Dylan said,

“It has to be a life-changing event to have this type of a gift of hearing.”

Mary’s Reaction to Winning the Competition

I told Mary we were interviewing finalists and asked her to meet me at my office. Truthfully, she’d already won. Instead of telling her over the phone, I planned a little surprise.

From the moment they entered my office, Mary and Scott couldn’t keep the smiles off their faces. While I read the letters from Mary’s family in my office, I think she suspected she wasn’t just a finalist. All she could do was cover her face with a piece of paper when she heard the news.

About her husband, Mary said,

“He’s got so much patience, but I know I wear on him a little.”

She made an important point. These hearing aids don’t exclusively benefit Mary. She’s already a positive force in her community but was restricted by hearing loss. With these incredible ReSound hearing devices, and support from a team of audiologists, I’m hoping we can take away her limitations.

This year, we’ll schedule several appointments to fine-tune the devices and evaluate Mary’s hearing.

Selecting One Winner Is Never Easy

The Utah Ear Institute takes the selection process very seriously. Every applicant is worthy, so it’s heart-wrenching to select just one.

On behalf of everyone at UEI, I’d like to thank all applicants for taking the time to enter. Each nomination helps Hear for the Holidays spread awareness of hearing loss.

We’re honored to support Mary, and we hope to improve the lives of many others in the future.

The holidays aren’t straightforward for those struggling with hearing loss. There are more social gatherings, and that can be overwhelming and stressful. Family and friends need to be supportive and thoughtful during this time.

The Utah Ear Institute’s priority is caring for our community’s hearing health. It’s our mission to break down some of the obstacles caused by hearing loss.

We encourage you to get in touch for guidance and advice. Get in touch with our team for a no-obligation conversation about your hearing – we can’t wait to meet you!

Do you know somebody that needs to see this? Why not share it?

Dr. Joshua Luekenga, Au.D., F-AAA, CCC-A, Audiologist

Dr. Joshua Luekenga is an audiologist and founder of The Utah Ear Institute which is comprised of 5 comprehensive clinics throughout Utah and Wyoming. He specializes in vestibular and balance diagnostics. He also evaluates and treats hearing disorders, Tinnitus, Auditory Processing Disorders (APD), Misophonia and Hyperacusis.

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