How do you go about helping 360 million people world-wide* who have a disabling hearing loss? One person at a time.
No matter age, social status, race, or religion, the ability to hear and communicate is what connects people to each other and the world around them. With the common mindset, “so the world may hear,” Starkey Australia and some of our wonderful customers were able to team up with the Starkey Hearing Foundation, renowned for their work worldwide. With a group ranging from seasoned Audiologists all the way to teenagers, we were able to fit over 620 children at the National Deaf School in Jimbaran, Bali, Indonesia in a matter of two days.
Skeptics may think that with numbers that large something must be forfeited along the line – whether quality or care. However, rest assured, not a single person was over looked or pushed to the side. While numbers can be remarkable, what was truly incredible was the dedication from every person on the team to treat each person as if they were their own patient in their clinics back home. Though conditions were hot and humid and often long hours at a time, it’s as though that didn’t even matter because of how rewarding the experience was.
Often a child with as little as a mild to moderate hearing loss may be placed in a Deaf school, taught in Sign, and never learn to communicate through verbal language. Many times the parents don’t have the opportunities to learn Sign, therefore making it difficult to communicate with their own children. It was very emotional getting to see a child smile and laugh at getting to hear their own voice, as well as their parent’s voice, for the first time ever. A whole new world of opportunity and communication has now been opened for these families. What some may have thought might only be a life changing event for the person being fit with hearing aids, easily turned into a life changing event for every party involved – from the child, to the parents, to the clinician and translator – everyone was affected in the most rewarding way possible.
“It was such a privilege to play a small part in the wider Indonesian hearing mission in Bali. Fitting these children and adults with free hearing aids and seeing their faces light up when they heard for the first time was amazing and heartbreaking all at the same time,” first-time hearing aid fitter, Phesephony said. “I'm glad they're given the opportunity to experience life to the fullest now. I can't wait for the next mission!”
If you would like to help support the missions the Starkey Hearing Foundation undertakes, you can do so by donating your old hearing aids to your local Audiology Clinic. Find out who is closest to you here. We accept hearing aids regardless of age, make or model. These hearing aids will be salvaged for parts to build new hearing aids to be used on future missions.
You can also donate directly to the Foundation here.
*World Health Organization - Deafness and hearing loss, Fact sheet N°300, Updated March 2015