Mullett credits faith, God’s grace for recovery from deafness

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 20, 2016

“As my sorority sisters, Lauren, Heather, and I headed for college service, chatting about whatever popped into our heads, I couldn’t help but think how blessed and happy I felt that I had made the decision to join Phi Lamb,” Ashtin Mullett said recently. “There were a lot of sororities to choose from at LSU, but ‘Phi Lamb’ had Christian values and encouraged me to look to Jesus to help me become my best self.

“It had been a busy day as all of my days seemed to be. With my classwork, my sorority, my work on campus, and church activities I never had time to get bored. When I joined Sigma Phi Lambda I wondered if I would be adding too much to my already heavy schedule, but the wonderful Christian friends I made have added so much to my life. I smile when I think of how we help each other to walk with Christ and hold one another accountable. It was a good decision.”

Mullett, who lives in Sun, said that these were her thoughts on the evening that her life would change forever. She had come a long way, emotionally, spiritually and literally since her diagnosis — the diagnosis of otosclerosis, a progressive disease that would one day claim her hearing.

Since the news came at the tender young age of 12, after years of doctors poking and prodding her ears, she had adjusted to her lot in life. Mullett accepted Christ as a young girl, and came to the realization that God was with her and had a wonderful plan for her life helped when she hit a rough patch.

A friend of hers at school laughed and joked, “Well Ashtin I won’t have to talk about you behind you back!” And she laughed back, “At least I don’t have to pretend like I’m paying attention anymore.” She was accepted for who she was, a beautiful, witty young girl who just happened to be slowly, but surely losing her hearing. When she dated a young man who was also hearing impaired they were referred to as “the deaf couple.”

Dr. Timothy B. Maloney, Mullett’s audiologist, shared some exciting news at her regular checkup in 2010. Ashtin and her family learned about a new surgery that was producing good results in others with otosclerosis, and it was soon decided that surgery would be in her future. The procedure was first tried on her right ear.

When the doctor checked her hearing after her ear had time to heal, the results were good. Things were looking up for “the deaf girl.” It seemed like a no brainer to also surgically repair the left ear the following year.

But then, disaster hit! Not only was this surgery unsuccessful, but also both ears were left in worse shape than before. The left ear was now so impaired that her right ear, in its struggle to take up the slack, lost ground as well.

It was hard for Mullett to get her hopes up only to have them dashed, but it didn’t get her down for long. The Lord gave her a peace about her circumstances and a love for others. This peace and love from the Father resulted in an urgency in her heart to go and tell people about His great love for them.

Mullett has traveled thousands of miles around the world, telling people in India, Africa, and Guatemala that Jesus loves them and has a plan for their life. Most of her trips have been with Multiply Global, an international Christian outreach organization.

“When I traveled to Ethiopia and saw the orphans running around the streets with scabies and other serious diseases it broke my heart in a way it had never been broken before,” Mullett said.

Mullett strolled into the building for college service with her friends and enjoyed the worship music with the help of her hearing aids. Before too long, she slipped silently out of her seat and left to take care of a prior commitment.

“Lucky for me it’s in the same building so I can at least catch the last part of the service,” Mullett said that she thought.

It’s amazing the changes that a moment can bring. Little did she know that God would soon line the stars up in her favor, and her heart would almost burst with joy. She slipped back into her seat as quickly and quietly as she left it hoping no one would notice or be disturbed by her movement. The college pastor asked for people who needed healing to raise their hand.

Long ago, Mullett had come to terms with her hearing impairment and emending deafness. The only time it really bothered her was when she thought of children — her children — with a strong possibility of deafness in their future. She would not take that chance, and the thought of never holding her own newborn child and counting his or her little toes and fingers still caused her to choke up. She basked in the music of life, and tried to store up every lovely note to hold securely in her heart for the day when the music would be silent.

Mullett put her hand up just a little bit thinking no one would see, just God. But immediately a young lady nearby noticed and began to pray for her. Then, the pastor said, “Is there anyone here who has a hearing impairment? Is there something wrong with the bones or your eardrum? Come down, and let’s pray.”

Mullett started to raise her hand higher, but her newfound friend told her to go to the front. She gulped hard and walked slowly to the front with her hearing aids securely in her shirt pocket. She didn’t want to have them echo and hurt her ears if someone touched close to them. She was also curious to see if her hearing would really be restored.

A woman placed her hands on Mullett’s ears and began to pray. Soon, it was as if the volume in her ears was slowly being turned up. Mullett said that she heard people praying around her, she heard the band playing softly in the background, and she heard people breathing.

After a ridiculously crazy evening of laughter and tears her life has returned to normal. Mullett and her mother decided not to tell the audiologist what had happened. They wanted to get an accurate reading with no bias either way. The tests showed that Ashtin’s hearing had been extended for 30 years.

There were shouting and tears of joy in the office that day, from people who had seen the downward spiral of Mullett’s hearing over the years and knew her prognosis.

Life has changed for Ashtin Mullett. Her hearing has been restored, and she wants to tell the world that the God of miracles lives.