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From Silence to Sound: Our Founder's Journey to Changing a Million Lives

Jaime with daughter, Lexi Vernon, former House member, Rep. McKinley and hearing loss industry leader, Au.D. Bill Dickinson.


When our founder, Jaime Motes, finally received the diagnosis that her daughter was deaf, knowing very few people throughout her life with hearing loss, she sat there and recounted those words in her head for about 30 seconds: “Your child is deaf.”

Growing up in a very small, rural community, Pataskala, Ohio, Jaime also came from humble means. The daughter of a forklift driver and a mother who worked in that same company’s office, neither going to college, Jaime knew what it felt like to come from humble means and to always work hard for what you have.

Jaime recalls being very compassionate about the less fortunate, something that was deeply instilled in her as a child by her caring and giving mother, Phyllis. Jaime remembers how her mom worked tirelessly every week as a single mom, cleaned the house every Saturday morning, taught children’s church on Sundays, cleaned the church, and even gave up countless Saturday afternoons to cut family and friend’s hair—all for free.

As Jaime navigated her childhood, she recalls being exposed to incredible missionary stories such as Lottie Moon, even being encouraged by her mom to give some of her allowance to Lottie Moon’s ministry. She remembers being drawn to those who dedicated their lives to change the world and help those who cannot help themselves.

It’s no surprise that in second grade, she rallied her friends to host a carnival raising support for children with muscular dystrophy; or leading a boycott in middle school when school lunch prices increased, hurting some families in need; or in high school when a notable teacher passed away and school officials wouldn’t allow students to miss school for his funeral—Jaime coordinated a sit-in with press on-site to emphasize the issue.


So when Jaime heard those life-changing words about her baby girl, “your child is deaf,” all she could do was ask a myriad of questions running through her confused mind.

“I couldn’t believe it,” recalls Jaime. “How in the world did this happen? Lexi wasn’t given a newborn hearing screening. Upon noticing that the test was missed, Lexi was tested at 10 weeks of age and failed both ears, yet we were told ‘just wait and come back in 6-9 months... Lexi is just fussy’.”

“Because of that information, we waited. She seemed normal, until she didn’t. Around 10 months of age, we noticed she wasn’t responding to loud noises. She wasn’t trying to say first words at 12 months, and when she tried to make a noise, she sounded like she couldn’t hear herself,” shares Jaime. “When I revisited the pediatrician for the referral Lexi needed for further testing, the pediatrician retaliated with a ‘let's wait’ mentality and sentiments.”

Jaime persisted, and while sitting in the testing room at Vanderbilt, finally watching Lexi be given a full hearing test at just under 14 months of age, she finally learned that Lexi was profoundly deaf. She could not hear anything.

Jaime will tell you her world went very dark that day. For about 30 seconds, she recalled every moment leading up to hearing those fateful words, and she pictured a school with trees with no leaves. She pictured Lexi playing by herself outside of that school. “I was picturing isolation,” Jaime details.

That day, Jaime and the family learned about cochlear implants, an implanted device that restores sound to the deaf.

“Lexi’s story was suddenly changing before my eyes. I went from darkness to HOPE. I kept saying ‘you can do what? Bring back sound to the deaf? Why didn’t I know about this? What do we need to do?’”

Now, Lexi is thriving as a high school sophomore, excelling as a student-athlete and radiating as a vibrant young lady who cherishes sounds, laughter, and music.

“One thing that struck me after I returned home while we waited for her surgery for four months: I cradled a little girl who I now knew couldn’t hear anything. I realized she never heard my lullabies. I understood that our lives were forever changed because of her and her story,” Jaime shared.

“Then, on July 31, 2009, EVERYTHING CHANGED THE DAY I WATCHED HER HEAR A WHISPER FOR THE FIRST TIME. Her activation day marked the beginning of something immensely powerful. She was a miracle and a gift from God,” Jaime recalls.

Jaime recounts reading her Bible and pleading with God for answers every day leading up to Lexi’s surgery and every day thereafter, asking, “Why, God, why? What did I do to cause this? I am so sorry for anything and everything. Please let her live a normal life.”

About six months after her diagnosis, and two months after hearing her first sounds, Lexi began to hear everything and was ‘learning to listen’. The entire family was tasked with catching up on the language and listening Lexi had missed for nearly two years. Jaime remembers a very fateful morning, one she will never forget.

She was reading her Bible and seeking clarity and answers from God. And there it was.

John 9: 

“As Jesus went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the miraculous works of God might be displayed in him.” 

Jesus went onto heal the blind man and advised him “Go tell.”

Jaime recalls uncontrollably crying. She shared it was a cleansing cry. 

She knew what she was to now do. GO TELL. 


While working in Development at Vanderbilt and raising support for the University, Jaime realized she was being called to a greater mission: to help people all over the world hear. This is when Songs for Sound, a 501c3 charity helping people all over the U.S. and beyond to have awareness and access to hearing health solutions, while encouraging action, was born. 

Now, having survived a pandemic that has financially devastated thousands of charities, including Songs for Sound, due to the decrease in public, private, and donor support, Jaime fights every day to rebuild this meaningful outreach charity.

“I won’t give up. I’m leading differently, I’m better for the pain the pandemic caused our mission. But, the gift that was given to my daughter is priceless. So I WON’T GIVE UP,” Jaime emphasizes. “I want my legacy to be seeds planted that will grow for decades after I’m long gone. I want every veteran to know the great things being done within the VA to help them live a better life full of sound. I want every child to hear and learn well in the classroom. I want every senior citizen to hear the giggles of their grandbabies. I want every developing nation to have a hearing healthcare system. I WANT TO HELP ONE MILLION PEOPLE TO HEAR AND LIVE TRANSFORMED LIVES full of learning, literacy, employment, and CONNECTION to the world around them.”


To date, Songs for Sound’s outreach and mobile hearing health tour has reached 30 states in the U.S., providing nearly 32,000 individuals with free screenings and comprehensive guidance through a Care Team, followed by intentional follow-up. The organization has also assisted thousands of veterans in navigating the VA system and launched a proof of concept for a metro schools screening and guidance program. Additionally, Songs for Sound has aided over 10,000 children across more than 200 Boys and Girls Clubs and other children’s charities, as well as supported over 15,000 adults and seniors (serving over 250 YMCAs and 55+ communities) in understanding the importance of hearing health, exploring affordable options, and even donating dozens of hearing aids.

Songs for Sound has conducted hearing missions in Jamaica for several years and now aims to embark on more focused mission work to establish a successful model in all developing nations. “Hearing aid missions cannot be sustained in many countries that lack a system of hearing healthcare. There are few to no resources available to sustain such efforts. We need to assist these countries through awareness and outreach campaigns, infant screening protocols, free testing, and by encouraging young people to pursue careers in audiology and speech pathology,” explains Jaime.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to help someone hear life again… whatever it takes to help them ‘hear the music’ like my Lexi can now hear. I am deeply grateful to God for this calling, and I pray that donors, sponsors, and the government will support this cause for many years to come,” shares Jaime.

Songs for Sound aims to reach ONE MILLION PEOPLE by 2025 through the addition of LexCare Hearing’s online screening services, as well as through ongoing outreach and in-person services.

How you can help Songs for Sound reach its GOAL: 

  1. Consider a donation or a 12-month pledge HERE
  2. Consider sponsoring our mission (companies and larger donations) HERE by emailing Jaime Motes; Review the sponsorship opportunities HERE
  3. Take your free annual screening, share with a family member(s) HERE  (you’ll receive immediate help if needed)


Pediatrics: Upon doing research, Jaime realized children are often missed. In some rural communities, 58% of children who receive an at-birth screening do not return for follow up.1 It’s referred to as “loss to follow up”. Even a mild hearing loss can cause a child to miss up to 50% of classroom instruction and puts them at greater risk for speech and literacy delays.2

Seniors: In a study that tracked 639 adults for nearly 12 years, Johns Hopkins expert Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D., and his colleagues found that mild hearing loss doubled dementia risk. Moderate loss tripled risk, and people with a severe hearing impairment were five times more likely to develop dementia.3

Veterans: The Songs for Sound outreach and mobile health “Hearoes Tour” has screened over 3000 veterans and revealed 85% of senior veterans and 65% of all-age veterans have some level of untreated hearing loss. Of those, 47% report they do not want to get help due to a lack of trust in the system as a whole. 

Global hearing loss: Deafness and hearing loss are widespread and found in every region and country. Currently more than 1.5 billion people (nearly 20% of the global population) live with hearing loss; 430 million of them have disabling hearing loss. It is expected that by 2050, there could be over 700 million people with disabling hearing loss. 

Globally, 34 million children have deafness or hearing loss, of which 60% of cases are due to preventable causes. At the other end of the lifespan, approximately 30% of people over 60 years of age have hearing loss.

Many of the impacts of hearing loss can be mitigated through early detection and interventions. These include specialized education programs and sign language instruction for young children and their families. Assistive technologies, including hearing aids, cochlear implants, closed captioning and other devices can help people with hearing loss at any age. People may also benefit from speech therapy, aural rehabilitation and other related services.

Low- and middle-income countries bear a disproportionate burden from hearing loss. WHO estimates that global hearing aid production covers just 3% of the need in these countries.4