Hearing & Speech Foundation Focuses on a National Vision
With hundreds of thousands of infants, children and adults in the U.S. suffering from severe-to-profound hearing loss, one Tennessee-based organization is looking to reach and help as many of these people as possible. For more than twenty years, the Hearing and Speech Foundation has been providing the gift of sound to the hearing impaired, with an intent to positively change the traditional way in which they are treated. And with the recent establishment of a national board of directors, the foundation is embarking on a national outreach effort with hopes of reaching thousands of others across the country.
“Our goal is to build a state-of-the-art campus focused on the unique needs of audiology and hearing impairment, creating a ‘Mayo Clinic-style’ center for hearing and speech in East Tennessee,” said John Berry, CEO and co-founder of the Hearing and Speech Foundation.
As the foundation begins undergoing this expansion, they continue to be recognized around the globe for their research and work with the hearing impaired, treating patients with a unique method, not commonly practiced in the U.S – the verbotonal method of aural rehabilitation.
“With this method, we work with patients on where they do have hearing and then train the brain to perceive speech,” explained Berry. “We have been extremely successful in our work with the verbotonal method, and our hope is that we can show more and more people in the U.S. just how effective it is.”
One believer in the use of the verbotonal method is former Fluor Corp. CEO and current Hearing and Speech board chairman, Alan Boeckmann. His son was diagnosed with a severe hearing impairment as a child, and after conducting extensive research, he learned of the work of John Berry in Maryville.
“We had to be patient with the verbotonal method, especially in the beginning, but we couldn’t be happier with the results and the work John did with our son,” said Boeckmann.
As a result of the treatment his son received from the Hearing and Speech Foundation, he has gone on to live a normal life and recently delivered the commencement address at his own college graduation ceremony.
Now recently retired from Fluor, Boeckmann is dedicating his time and energy to guiding and managing the foundation through a national outreach and fundraising campaign. “This is an exciting time for the foundation as we look to share the phenomenal success experienced here with the rest of the world,” added Boeckmann.