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The Heroes With Hearing Loss
Panel Discussion


Held at various veterans and hearing loss events across the United States, this engaging discussion featuring veterans and leading hearing healthcare professionals, is designed to raise awareness and initiate a meaningful dialog about the shared hearing loss experiences among veterans, their families and friends.

Often overshadowed by other challenges, a veteran’s hearing loss is frequently intertwined both physically and emotionally – as a trigger, every day frustration or constant reminder of what has been sacrificed while serving our country. It is a very unique, and often solitary personal challenge for many veterans.

Our featured panelists are committed to sharing their insight and experience with overcoming the challenges of hearing loss. Beyond hearing aids, we’ll explore individual circumstances, environmental impact and how advanced technology is working to improve the every day lives of veterans.

Our Panelists

  • RMC(SW) Ed Ball, USN, Ret.
    Ed Ball
    During his nearly 21 year Naval career, Ed has worked a myriad of assignments as part of carrier, destroyer and amphibious battlegroups. His shipboard experiences and exposure to their inherent noise hazards have provided him particular insight when it comes to veteran hearing loss and the results of impulse noise levels. Following his military career, Ed has continued his public service as a County Veteran Service Officer where, for more than fifteen years, he has helped veterans across the nation obtain benefits they have earned through their service. Ed, his wife Elsa, and son EJ currently live in Sidney, Ohio.
  • Steve Benton, Au.D.
    Steve Benton
    Dr. Steve Benton has spent 22 years serving those who’ve served as an Audiologist for the Department of Veterans Affairs. For the past twelve years, Steve has been at the Atlanta VA Medical Center as both a Staff Audiologist and the Tinnitus Program Manager where he helps veterans manage their tinnitus and mitigate its effects on their quality of life. His doctorate in Audiology combined with a master’s degree in Healthcare Administration gives Steve a valuable perspective on the provision of audiological services. As a respected researcher and authority on the management of tinnitus and its relationship with mental health status, Dr. Benton has presented his research at state, national and international events.
  • CPT Mark Brogan, USA, Ret.
    Mark Brogan Play the video
    After being critically injured by a suicide bomber while on a foot patrol in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, Mark suffered a severe penetrating traumatic brain injury (TBI), incomplete Spinal Cord Injury, multiple shrapnel wounds and severe hearing loss. In the seven years following his injuries, Mark’s recovery has been miraculous. Although both the brain injury and severe hearing loss continue to be daily struggles in his life, Mark uses these experiences to educate himself and fellow veterans. Mark is active in many veteran and civilian service organizations and regularly speaks as a national advocate for veterans with hearing loss.
  • Sunny Brogan
    Sunny Brogan
    When Sunny got the call in April 2006 that her husband Army Captain Mark Brogan was critically injured by a suicide bomber in Iraq, her role immediately shifted from wife to caregiver and advocate. Mark suffered a severe, penetrating traumatic brain injury (TBI), hearing loss and an incomplete spinal cord injury. Seven years later, Sunny continues to shoulder the emotional burden and time-consuming efforts required to ensure the quality of her husband’s care through five different medical and rehabilitation facilities. As the Director of Peer Support: Caregiver Services with the organization American Veterans with Brain Injuries, Sunny is dedicated to assisting other families dealing with the military and veterans medical systems and the inherent challenges associated with traumatic brain injury.
  • MSgt Donald Doherty, USMC, Ret.
    Donald Doherty
    Don is an Education Specialist at the National Chaplain Center in the Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC), Hampton, Va., where he supervises educational technology evaluation and analysis in the facility’s training center. As a retired Marine Master Sergeant with almost 23 years on active duty, training and helping fellow military members and veterans is Don’s focus today. His personal experience with the challenges of hearing loss spans 40 years and he is always willing to share what he has learned along the way. Don holds a master’s degree in Education and Human Development from George Washington University.
  • MSG Bobby S. Ehrig, USA, Ret.
    Bobby S. Ehrig Play the video
    Critically injured by the blast of a suicide bomber in Iraq, Bobby was severely burned as a result. Still unable to properly regulate his own body temperature after enduring 17 surgeries since the explosion in 2006, he views his hearing loss as an added challenge to an already difficult on-going recovery process. Since his retirement from the Army as Master Sergeant, Bobby has tirelessly advocated for veterans as President of the San Antonio Coalition for Veterans. He is a Veteran Care Specialist with the Alamo Council of Governments (AACOG) and has served as a Wounded War Advocate and Mentor for the US Army Warrior Transition Battalion. In 2012, the Disabled American Veterans named Bobby the Texas Disabled Veteran of the Year.
  • 2LT Allen M. Ford, USA, Ret.
    Allen M. Ford
    An Assistant Professor in NTID Business Studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y., Allen heads the RIT/NTID “Veterans with Hearing Loss” Project. After receiving an All-Army scholarship and commissioning in 1979, Allen served as a regular Army officer in Military Intelligence until he was medically retired with hearing loss and related injuries. Since then, he has worked to counsel, educate and support fellow veterans with hearing loss. Allen’s efforts, built from overcoming his own challenges, have furthered the education and careers of countless veterans. Allen holds an MBA, a graduate degree in fine art photography and an MSSE from RIT.
  • Catherine Ford
    Catherine Ford
    Catherine was born and raised in California’s Bay Area, living in a town with a high deaf population. As a result, she took classes in sign language, deaf history, deaf culture and educating the deaf. This career path took her to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) on the campus of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) where she met her husband, Allen Ford, a veteran with hearing loss. Her work in RIT/NTID’s Department of Access Services providing access to all students, faculty and staff on the RIT campus who are hard of hearing or deaf gives her the perfect tools when partnering with Allen to advocate for veterans with hearing loss. Allen and Catherine live in Rochester, New York, which was recently named the tenth most “Military-Friendly City” in the United States.
  • Amanda E. Jones, Au.D., CCC-A
    Amanda E. Jones
    Dr. Jones joined the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center Adult Audiology team in 2012. She completed her undergraduate studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, before receiving her Doctorate of Audiology (Au.D.) from the University of Louisville in 2005. Her clinical specialties include diagnostics, adult hearing aids, assistive listening devices and tinnitus management. With eight years of experience in adult aural rehabilitation, Dr. Jones is dedicated to improving the quality of life for her patients by offering expertise in hearing technology, counseling and by focusing on each individual’s particular lifestyle needs.
  • MSgt Sean Lehman, USAF, Ret.
    Sean Lehman
    Moderator
    Sean is a communicator and public relations professional with more than 25 years of international experience as a spokesperson and broadcaster. During his Air Force career he worked at the highest levels of the United States government as a journalist, news anchor and liaison between the Defense Department, the public and members of Congress. Most of Sean’s career was spent as a journalist reporting in dozens of countries around the world during which he served alongside Special Forces units documenting Desert Storm operations in the first Gulf War, was one of the first newsmakers to film inside Camp Delta in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and deployed as a combat journalist during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
  • Susan Logan, Au.D.
    Susan Logan
    Dr. Logan Susan Logan, M.S., CCC-A, has been an audiologist for more than 40 years, 35 of which have been with Vanderbilt’s Bill Wilkerson Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Susan’s commitment to audiology revolves around being patient centric as she feels patients bring meaning to both her professional and personal lives. Dr. Logan has worked with veterans in most age groups. She’s cared for many younger veterans exposed to IEDs who suffer from hearing loss and tinnitus and ultimately required ear surgery due to blast injures. In addition to providing care and counseling for these veterans, Dr. Logan has also treated veterans from the Korean conflict, Vietnam and World War II who suffer high frequency hearing losses.
  • CPT E. Anthony Seahorn, USA, Ret.
    E. Anthony Seahorn Play the video
    Following his tour in Vietnam, during which he sustained a number of critical injuries, Tony’s 35-year journey of recovery has been fraught with constant challenges. However, the physical and mental scars of combat have not kept Tony from achieving success as both a father and businessman. Tony continues to share his decades of experiences with fellow veterans as he still perseveres the daily struggles of severe hearing loss and tinnitus intertwined with PTSD. Tony and his wife Janet have written a book entitled Tears of a Warrior, chronicling their shared life and experiences in dealing with these silent injuries of war.
  • Janet Seahorn
    Janet Seahorn Play the video
    Janet has been a teacher, administrator and consultant for thirty years. Her background in understanding human development and neuroscience research has been invaluable in coping with the severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and hearing loss that her husband, Army Captain Tony Seahorn, has been struggling with since his service during the Vietnam War. Combining his wartime experiences and her Ph.D in Human Development and Organizational Systems, Janet and Tony have written a book entitled Tears of a Warrior, chronicling their shared life and experiences in dealing with the silent injuries of war. Janet currently teaches several classes on neuroscience and literacy as an adjunct professor for Regis University in Denver and Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. She has recently completed two books: When Crap Happens Grow Zucchini: A Book on How to Live with Dying and Appreciate the Crap and Foul Wisdom: Identifying the Turkeys and Eagles in your Organization and your Life.
  • Kimberly Springer
    Kimberly Springer
    Kimberly was born and raised in Ingram, Texas, where after graduating from high school she attended Texas A&M University and earned both her Bachelors and Masters degrees. As an Occupational Therapist, Kimberly uses her background and experience to support her husband, Marine Captain Stephen Springer, as they face the challenges of hearing loss. No stranger to the trials of military life, Kimberly has gone through three deployments while Stephen served his country during Operation’s Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
  • Capt Stephen M. Springer, USMC, Ret.
    Stephen M. Springer
    Stephen’s eleven-year Marine Corps career and his subsequent life out of uniform have been dedicated to helping his fellow service members. As a member of the Defense Department’s Joint Task Force – Full Accounting, Stephen participated in the recovery and identification of POW / MIA remains – an effort to achieve the fullest possible accounting of all Americans missing as a result of the nation’s past conflicts. Stephen is now the owner of SpringCorps, Inc., a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, specializing in General Engineering and General Building construction. His other assignments include Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Stephen holds a BS degree in Agriculture from Texas A&M.
  • Kelly Wacker, Au.D., CCC-A
    Kelly Wacker
    Kelly is an Assistant Professor of Practice / Audiology Clinic Coordinator at the University of Nebraska Lincoln Barkley Memorial Center. She received her Doctorate of Audiology from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry-School of Audiology. Dr. Wacker has been a licensed audiologist for more than ten years and has practical experience in a variety of professional settings that include the Veteran Affairs Medical Clinic and the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, NE; Bloomington Normal Audiology in Bloomington, IL; Ear, Nose, Throat Medicine and Surgery in Lincoln, NE and her current position at UNL Barkley Memorial Center.

For more information on how you can join the conversation or share your insight and expertise, email Info@HeroesWithHearingLoss.org.

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