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Training expands hearing healthcare in Middle East

March 03, 2017

Starkey Hearing Foundation’s first-ever training for the Middle East Region in Amman, Jordan, epitomized the human emotion of caring – transcending borders, religion and cultures.

A team of Starkey Hearing Foundation staff from the United States, Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland, Palestine and India spent a week teaching 12 trainees from Lebanon, Mauritania and Palestine on the WFA® Community-Based Hearing HealthCare Model.

The trainees received hands-on training on the first three phases of the model – from identifying hearing aid candidates in Phase 1, to fitting patients with devices that reconnect them with the hearing world in Phase 2, and providing follow-up care for patients in Phase 3. The community-based hearing health professionals will now deliver ear and hearing healthcare services in their respective countries.

Brendan O’Gorman, who serves as International Development Director for the Middle East Region along with Jessica Flynn, called the training an historic moment for the Foundation.

“We are not just helping one country, I see a whole region,” Brendan said. “We will be helping each other and cooperating to bring better hearing to thousands of people in the Middle East Region.”

Many of the trainees said the program will provide much more than better hearing for people in their communities. Ibrahim Abudalo, a volunteer coordinator for the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, said the teams will be able to give hope to people who are enduring unimaginable situations of war, persecution and conflict. Hearing loss due to effects of explosions and torture is prevalent in some Middle Eastern countries.

“I think we can change a lot of lives around the world,” he said. “There are too many problems in the Middle East and there are too many people with cases of hearing loss from the war. We can fix this and we can help. This is just the beginning.”

 Hala Mohamed, Country Coordinator in Lebanon, said she is inspired to return to Lebanon to help Starkey Hearing Foundation provide hearing aids to thousands of Syrian and Palestinian refugees living in camps who have never had access to ear or hearing health services.

“It was very important for me to be at the training. I came as Hala, but I am going back a new person,” Hala said. “I am going back with a message to do the work in Lebanon. I want to go back and help every single person in Lebanon who cannot hear because I am very passionate, especially after fitting patients with hearing aids and seeing people start to hear again. It was the greatest experience of my life.”

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