Ear Community is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization. Ear Community helps children and adults who are born with Microtia and Atresia (when someone is born missing one or both of their ears and has no ear canal(s) resulting in hearing loss). Ear Community began as a global support group on Facebook on May 20th, 2010, called the “Microtia and Atresia Support Group.” Since then, we knew we had to help more and in 2012, the Ear Community Organization was founded as a nonprofit organization. While Ear Community is head quartered in the United States, we try to help as many Microtia and Atresia loved ones as we can around the world. Since inception, we have been able to help thousands of individuals who are born with Microtia and Atresia. Ear Community has a board of directors and also an advisory board made up of individuals who understand Microtia and Atresia. Ear Community’s board of directors may include members who were born with Microtia and Atresia, who have loved ones who were born with Microtia and Atresia, or who simply would like to be a part of our community and show support for the Microtia and Atresia community. Below are current board members for Ear Community:
Melissa Tumblin, Executive Director
Melissa is responsible for managing the day to day business duties of the organization.
Melissa is founder of the Ear Community Organization. Melissa founded Ear Community
after her youngest daughter was born with Microtia and Atresia of her right ear.
Heidi Jeffs, Adminstrative/Events Manager
Heidi is responsible for coordinating Ear Community’s events, managing our online support
group, and writing stories for the organization’s website recognizing hearing device recipients,
college scholarships, and Ear Community’s events.
Board of Director Members
Melissa Tumblin – Executive Director and Founder of Ear Community. Melissa’s daughter, Ally, was born with Microtia and Atresia of her right ear. Ally still has her lucky little right ear and wears the Oticon Medical Ponto Plus w/streamer on the soft band along with the Phonak Roger FM System in the school classroom. (term: 2012 – )
Dr. Summer Heard – Board of Director Member for Ear Community. Dr. Summer Heard is an audiologist living in Alabama and also a mother to a child born with Microtia and Atresia. Summer’s son, Hayden, was born with Microtia and Atresia of his right ear. Hayden has had Medpor surgery and is unaided. (term: 2013 – 2019)
Scott Newcomb – Board of Director Member for Ear Community. Scott is a business owner living in Colorado. Scott’s daughter, Siena, was born with Microtia and Atresia of her right ear. Siena has had Medpor surgery and is aided with the Oticon Medical Ponto Plus w/streamer on the soft band along with the Phonak Roger FM System in the school classroom. (term: 2013-2019)
Melissa McClellan – Board of Director Member for Ear Community. Melissa is a radiology technician and an amazing hearing loss advocate in the state of Kentucky. Melissa’s son, Jamison, was born with Microtia and Atresia of his left ear. Jamison still has his little ear and is aided with the Cochlear Americas Baha 5 Connect on the soft band. (term: 2015-2018)
Cindy Stewart – Board of Director Member for Ear Community. Cindy is an amazing advocate for hearing loss in Hamilton, Canada. Cindy’s son, James, was born with Microtia and Atresia of his right ear. James has had Rib Graft surgery and canalplasty and is has been implanted with the Cochlear Americas Baha 5 Attract. James is now implanted with the Cochlear Baha 5 bone conduction hearing device. (term: 2016-2019)
Dr. Leslie Gonsette – Board of Director Member for Ear Community. Leslie’s daughter, Sofie, was born with Microtia and Atresia of her right ear. Sophie is aided with the Oticon Medical Ponto Plus on the soft band. Leslie is a board certified physician in both internal medicine and pediatrics in Alaska. (term: 2016-2019)
Dottie Czerny – Board of Director Member for Ear Community. Dottie is a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing in California and has taught all ages from birth to transition over the past 36 years, including students who have Microtia and Atresia. (term: 2016-2019)
Kristen Hale – Board of Director Member for Ear Community. Kristen is a professional therapist specializing in autism services in Colorado. Kristen’s daughter, Karis, was born with unilateral Microtia and Atresia. Karis is aided with the Cochlear Americas Baha 5 Connect on the soft band. (term: 2016-2019)
Melissa Shemanski – Board of Director Member for Ear Community. Melissa is an amazing advocate for hearing loss in Indiana. Melissa’s daughter, Sophia, was born with unilateral Microtia and Atresia of her right ear. Sophia has been implanted with the Cochlear Americas BP100. (term: 2016-2019)
Katie Jacob – Board of Director Member for Ear Community. Katie’s son, Owen, was born with Microtia and Atresia and has Goldenhar Syndrome. Owen is aided with the Oticon Medical Ponto Plus w/streamer on the soft band. Katie is an immigration attorney. (term: 2016-2019)
Kristy Smith – Board of Director Member for Ear Community. Kristy Smith is a business owner in Arizona. Kristy’s daughter, Olivia, was born with unilateral Microtia and Atresia. Olivia is aided with the Cochlear Americas BP100 on the soft band. (term: 2016-2019)
Past Ear Community Board of Director Members:
Angela Sabal (Virgina – parent of a child born with M/A)
Tiffany Wilke (Wisconsin – parent of a child born with M/A)
Melanie Mendoza (Texas – parent of a child born with M/A)
Justin Bays (Ohio – born with M/A)
Kathryn Goings (Colorado – parent of a child born with M/A)
Camilla Gilbert (Ohio – born with M/A)
Tina Siskoff (Illinois – parent of a child born with M/A)
Robert Valdez (Colorado – parent of a child born with M/A)
Heidi Jeffs (Idaho – parent of a child born with M/A)
Ear Community Admins/Volunteers
– for our online support group, the “Microtia and Atresia Support Group” on Facebook: click here for our support group
Elia Wooten (elementary school teacher) – born with Microtia and Atresia, had rib graft surgery, is unaided, has a daughter and a nephew with M/A. Elia’s daughter is unaided and has not had reconstructive surgery.
Shannon Gordon (early intervention therapist) – her son, Davin, was born with bilateral Microtia and Atresia, has had Medpor surgery and canalplasty and is implanted with (2) Oticon Medical Ponto Plus BAHS and uses the Phonak FM system with the Ponto Plus streamer at school.
Tara Medina (emergency response dispatcher) – her son, Tai, was the first child to receive a 3D printed prosthetic ear in the United States. Tai is aided with the Oticon Medical Ponto Plus BAHS on a soft band. Tai has not had any surgery.
Heidi Jeffs (her daughter, Rosalee, was born with Microtia and Atresia of her right ear. Rosalee is aided with the Cochlear BP100 on the soft band. Rosalee has not had any surgeries yet.
Melissa McClellen (Radiology tech and advocate for hearing loss) – her son, Jamison, was born with Microtia and Atresia of his left ear. Jamison is aided with the Cochlear Baha 5 Connect on the soft band and uses the mini-microphone at school. Jamison has not had any surgeries yet.
Melissa Tumblin (Founder and Executive Director of both our online support group(s) and our nonprofit) – her daughter, Ally, was born with Microtia and Atresia of her right ear and is aided with the Oticon Medical Ponto Plus w/streamer on the soft band and uses the Roger Phonak FM System at school. Ally has not had any surgeries yet.
Advisory Board Members
Dr. Arturo Bonilla, M.D. is a board certified Otolaryngologist ENT. Dr. Bonilla represents the option for outer ear reconstructive surgery regarding the Rib Graft surgical technique on Ear Community’s Advisory Board. Dr. Bonilla is a pediatric Microtia repair surgeon and is also the Founder of the Microtia Congenital Ear Deformity Institute in Texas (USA). Testimonial – “The Ear Community family and nonprofit has transformed the way parents who have children with Microtia and Atresia communicate with each other. Ear Community offers extremely informative and unbiased options for families seeking help. I am honored to be on the advisory board.”
Dr. Linda Cox, Au.D, CED is an educational Pediatric Audiologist and Deaf Educator (ToDHH). Dr. cox represents professional educational audiologists and educators for the deaf and hard of hearing on Ear Community’s Advisory Board. Dr. Cox is a member of and the Treasurer for the Educational Audiology Association (EAA), an international organization of Audiologists and related professionals who deliver a full spectrum of hearing services to all children, particularly those in educational settings. Dr. Cox is also the owner of Audiology Services in Florida (USA). Testimonial – “I wholeheartedly endorse the Ear Community as a warm and supportive community for individuals who were born with Microtia and Atresia and hearing loss. All Audiologists should consider making the Ear Community website the “GoTo” place for a support community for individuals regarding their options for managing hearing loss and minimizing its negative impact on daily life through technology and/or reconstructive surgical options.”
Greg Gion, MMS, CCA is a certified clinical Anaplastologist representing professionals and the option for prosthesis on Ear Community’s Advisory Board. Greg is the Founder of the Medical Art Prosthetics Clinic and is on the Baord for Certification in Clinical Anaplastology (BCCA) and in recent years has served as chairman of the Committee on Eligibility. Testimonial – “Ear Community founded by Melissa Tumblin fills a large whole in the body of information that is currently available to individuals with Microtia, young or old. Real experiences and feelings, shared by patients or families faced with the same decisions about treatments or by others who really live with the outcome of a particular treatment provide that additional dimension that helps make a more comfortable well-informed decision.”
Dr. Brad Kesser, M.D. is a board certified Otologist, Otolaryngologist, and Neurotologist ENT. Dr. Kesser represents the option for canal repair (atresia repair/canalplasty) for Ear Community’s Advisory Board. Dr. Kesser is a member of the faculty in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Virginia (USA) where he specializes in congenital ear disease (aural atresia), hearing loss, dizziness and balance disorders, skull base tumors, acoustic neuroma, and chronic ear disease including cholesteatoma including the implantation of hearing devices. Testimonial – “Words of Wisdom….Ear Communtiy is just that – both virtually and physically – to discuss experiences, joys, disappointments, options, and technologies in the arenas of hearing rehabilitation, microtia surgery, and atresia repair. Thank you, thank you for providing this support to families. It is through sites like yours and people like you that families get accurate and important information about how best to take care of their little loved ones. My sincere appreciation to you for what you have done.”
Dr. Sheryl Lewin, M.D. is a board certified Plastic Surgeon for Microtia repair. Dr. Lewin represents the option for the outer ear reconstructive surgery regarding the Medpor/Supor surgical technique on Ear Community’s Advisory Board. Dr. Lewin is the Founder of Earicles, Miracles for Ears, a nonprofit organization that helps children with surgery who are born with Microtia. Dr. Lewin also has her own practice called Aesthetic Ear Reconstruction in California (USA). Testimonial – “I am honored to serve on the Board of Advisors for Ear Community. Prior to the development of the Ear Community website, it was a very difficult process for someone with Microtia/Atresia or their loved ones to become educated about all of the issues and options surrounding this condition. The Ear Community took on that challenge in a thoughtful and all-inclusive way to create a true online community providing support and education to fill the large void that currently exists in the medical community with respect to information about Microtia and Atresia.”
Dr. John Reinisch, M.D. is a board certified Plastic Surgeon for Microtia repair and is the pioneer of the Medpor surgical technique for outer ear reconstruction. Dr. Reinisch represents the option for outer ear reconstructive surgery regarding the Medpor surgical technique on Ear Community’s Advisory Board. Dr. Reinisch has his own private practice called Reinisch Plastic Surgery in California (USA). Dr. Reinisch’s work is further supported by a wonderful nonprofit organization called the Small Wonders Foundation (founded by parents) by helping finance surgeries and provide emotional support to families who need surgery that Dr. Reinisch can help accommodate. Testimonial – “What Melissa is doing with Ear Community will revolutionize how the world thinks about Microtia and Atresia in the future. What Melissa has done is just incredible. I applaud her efforts and what she is doing for the Microtia and Atresia community. Thank you for your commitment to these families and to the medical professionals everywhere.”
Dr. Joseph Roberson, M.D. is a board certified Otologist, Otolaryngologist, and Neurotologist ENT. Dr. Roberson represents the option for canal repair (atresia repair/canalplasty) for Ear Community’s Advisory Board. Dr. Roberson specializes in congenital ear disease (aural atresia), hearing loss, dizziness and balance disorders, skull base tumors, acoustic neuroma, and chronic ear disease including cholesteatoma and including the implantation of hearing devices. Dr. Roberson is CEO and Managing Partner of the California Ear Institute (USA). Dr. Roberson is also the Founder and President of the Let Them Hear Foundation, a nonprofit medical organization that is passionate about bringing the gift of hearing to those living in silence in the U.S. and around the world. Testimonial – “Parents and patients are almost always faced with a need to efficiently gather accurate facts in treatment decision making regarding A-M. Fortunately, for all of us, new options are available and will continue to emerge for years. Ear Community is a wonderful place to discuss ideas, experiences and options with other parents and patients undergoing treatment – a valuable and wonderful resource for you. I am honored to facilitate that process for any family or patient partnering with EC.”
Dr. Carolyn Smaka, Au.D. is the Editor-in-Chief for AudiologyOnline, a recognized leader in online professional development and career center resources for audiologists and hearing care professionals worldwide. Dr. Smaka represents professional audiologists on Ear Community’s Advisory Board along with the philosophy of helping children and adults who have hearing loss with emotional support and educating individuals on the latest options in hearing device technology that can help provide a better quality of life. Testimonial – “Ear Community is a one-of-a-kind resource that empowers families and gives professionals insight into the patient and family journeys and the psychosocial impact of microtia/atresia. Fueled by the limitless passion and enthusiasm of its founder, Melissa Tumblin, Ear Community advances our collective understanding of microtia/atresia to help ensure the best possible outcomes for each individual.”
Dr. Summer Heard, Au.D. is a professional audiologist, certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing-Association. Dr. Heard has held positions on professional boards at the state and national level, including with the AAA (American Academy of Audiology) and has a sterling reputation among her colleagues. Dr. Heard has a wide range of diagnostic and rehabilitative experience with patients of all ages – pediatric, adult, and geriatric and is employed at Hearing Life. Dr. Heard represents professional audiologists on Ear Community’s Advisory Board and also happens to be a mother of a child born with Microtia and Atresia of his right ear. Testimonial – “I am so excited to find this site! I was looking for CEU courses on Audiology Online and Poof, there you were! My son has unilateral microtia and atresia. He loves his “Nemo Ear.” It is so refreshing to speak with another mother who has a child with M/A and can understand personally and professionally where I am coming from.”
Dr. Leslie Gonsette, M.D. is a board certified physician in both internal medicine and pediatrics and a proud mother of Sofie, her daughter who was born with Microtia and Atresia of her right ear. Testimonial – “I want to thank you again for all that you’ve done to help parents of children with MA. It’s been a blessing having the connection, resources and support.”
Katie Jacob, Esq. is an Attorney located in Cincinnati, Ohio practicing in the area of Immigration and Compliance Law. She has developed a niche practice area, representing international physicians and healthcare professionals such as audiologists, speech and language pathologists, medical researchers, and other specialties with their immigration needs. She is also a member of the International Medical Graduates Taskforce, a professional organization focused around lobbying and advocating for the unique needs of international medical practitioners as well as increased access to healthcare for patients in rural and under-served communities. Through this organization and other healthcare advocacy groups, Katie is able to meet, network with, and represent many of the top healthcare professionals located within private practices and academic health centers throughout the country. Testimonial – “I would like to compliment you on the Ear Community website. I have read a LOT about our son’s condition over the past years and always felt like there was no real comprehensive source that really described our issues. Your site does all of that and more! I especially liked the surgery info and related conditions sections. Thanks again for the work you put into this. I only wish I had found it sooner!”
Dottie Czerny is a teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She has taught all ages from birth to transition over the past 36 years. Currently Dottie is teaching for Long Beach Unified School District in Southern California. She has worked with many students with Atresia/Microtia through out her career.
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.
It is the policy of Ear Community and its online support group, the Microtia and Atresia Support Group on Facebook, that it offer a community of emotional support that is free of discrimination, harassment or verbal abuse to anyone without regard to race, religious creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, disability, veteran status, military obligations and marital status. It is also the philosophy of Ear Community and the Microtia and Atresia Support Group that each and every individual (child or adult) be informed of “all” options that are currently available to them regarding Microtia and Atresia, including hearing loss, and regarding the latest in medical device technology and surgical options . It is also the belief of Ear Community and the Microtia and Atresia Support Group that no matter what decision you make, that decision is the probably the right decision for you. This is a community where all individuals living with Microtia and Atresia are in the same or similar situation and therefore, all should offer encouragement and support for one another in a positive manner regardless of the decision that has been made. Ear Community prides itself on providing helpful information that is presented in an unbiased manner, hoping that the information provided will help each and every individual to make a decision that is best for them.
All Form 990’s since 2012 for Ear Community have been publicly filed per IRS guidelines and can be found on the GuideStar website.
The Ear Community Organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Federal Tax ID # 46-0923897
280 E. 1st Avenue, Unit 704
Broomfield, CO 80038 USA