More than a Mission
September 15, 2019
We fit patients with hearing aids and make sure they’ll be taken care of in the future. Our WFA® Community-Based Hearing HealthCare model empowers local communities to continue caring for people with hearing loss through our AfterCare program. We train local partners and health workers and to date, we’ve established sustainable hearing healthcare programs in 64 countries. As part of our Phase 3 AfterCare program, those who receive hearing aids have access to services such as additional counseling, batteries, hearing aid repair and replacement of hearing devices and ear molds when necessary.
During these AfterCare visits, our teams around the world often have the chance to reconnect with patients and learn about how hearing aids have impacted their life. From old to young, there are many ways that better hearing and receiving the appropriate ear and hearing services can make a difference in someone’s life. Patients share stories about being reconnected with sounds they have missed out on in recent years due to hearing loss, including their families and communities they are a part of. For younger patients, we often see progress in the ways they interact with those around them and they frequently share the growth they have been able to make in their classrooms. Reading these stories brings us great joy as we are able to connect with the impact our mission has in the lives of others and we wanted to share seven of these stories with you!
Sita – Congo
Sita was born deaf. She visited AfterCare for batteries and shared what her experience has been like. Before being fit with hearing aids, it was difficult for her to communicate and interact with people. She had to read people’s lips to be able to communicate somewhat effectively. Since being fit in October 2018, Sita shared that wearing hearing aids has made communicating much easier. She has become aware of all the glorious, everyday sounds around her, like the sound of a car.
Bruce – St. Vincent & Grenadines
Bruce has had a history of prolonged hearing loss since age 10 and previously had several visits to a doctor for help. He was treated for chronic ear infection but there was no solution to his hearing problem. Over the years, communicating with his peers and coworkers became a challenge so he would shy away from having long conversations. Bruce learned about Starkey Hearing Foundation from a friend. He was referred to a clinic to have his hearing screened and tested. During the visit, they discovered that he has some degree of hearing loss in his right ear. He was fit in early 2019 by Starkey Hearing Foundation and is very grateful for his hearing aid. In his recent AfterCare visit, Bruce shared that he is now better able to communicate with his colleagues.
Maribel – Guatemala
Maribel first received hearing aids from the Foundation in June 2018. She expressed to us that she is happy because she can now hear when her name is called and she is even starting to vocalize some words. Her mother shared with us that she can see how much the hearing aids have changed her daughter's life because of how much she smiles now and how she has made new friends to play and have fun with.
Sumana – India
Sumana, a student of Ichapur Deaf and Dumb school, was fit with hearing aids by our team in November of 2017 during a Phase 2 mission in Kolkata. She has been hearing impaired since birth. We visited her school in August 2019 for regular follow-up and our team was excited to see that Sumana has now become more active in school activities than ever before. She has even developed some speech. Her school teachers and parents are happy with her hearing and social growth.
Sayed – Afghanistan
Sayed is a young boy from Kabul. Since being fit with hearing aids in October 2018, he is extremely happy that he can hear all kinds of sounds around him. Sayed’s family says that the hearing aids have changed his life and have brought a smile to his face.
Alice – Brazil
Alice is very glad to be able to receive hearing aids from Starkey Hearing Foundation. She shared that she would have been waiting a long time for hearing assistance through the unique health system of the Brazil government. Alice said that she now can understand her family and have great conversations with her friends and neighbors. She also said that she feels as though she has come back to life again.
James – Philippines
James was born with normal hearing, but his hearing started deteriorating when his ears got infected after swimming during elementary school. He graduated elementary school as a valedictorian but as he moved up to his secondary level, his hearing problem began affecting his studies which caused him to fall to the second top spot of the graduating class. James went on to attend college, and the school helped him to undergo tympanoplasty of the left ear. However, he felt like the procedure did not improve his hearing. He was able to obtain one hearing aid from another charitable organization, but he needed two, and eventually the one hearing aid he received broke. Luckily, someone informed him of our upcoming Phase 2 hearing mission where he was able to receive the two hearing aids he needed. James said he is so delighted having hearing aids in both ears, allowing his hearing to be balanced at last. Since being fit, he has had much more confidence which has inspired him to pursue his master’s degree. He even received three of the highest awards when he graduated. Now, James plans to pursue another master's degree in the United Kingdom.
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