Starkey Hearing Institute, a program of Starkey Hearing Foundation
The World Health Organization estimates that 136 million people in the African region live with hearing loss. With a growing population, it is projected that by the year 2050, 337 million people, many of whom are school-aged children, will have problems with their hearing.
To help address the dire shortage of hearing healthcare professionals in Africa, in 2016, the first Starkey Hearing Institute was founded in Lusaka, Zambia.
The institute’s groundbreaking hands-on training program has been designed to meet not only the current ear and hearing care needs on the continent, but also to prepare a new generation of professionals for the future. The program features a concentrated, 10-month curriculum that focuses on primary ear and hearing care training, as well as public health training.
To date, 67 students from 16 African countries have graduated from the Starkey Hearing Foundation’s Starkey Hearing Institute and returned to their home communities to establish or improve the hearing amplification and hearing health care services within their health systems. The program is designed to provide exponential benefit, as each Starkey Hearing Institute graduate establishes a presence in their community, engaging and providing additional hearing-specific training to healthcare professionals from existing systems. The utilization of professionals already integrated into a government’s healthcare system provides both financial and operational efficiencies, allowing hearing services to be rolled out quickly and economically.
Inspired by the success of the flagship Starkey Hearing Institute and its graduates, who return to their countries and communities as hearing healthcare champions, Starkey Hearing Foundation is committed to opening two more institutes in the next five years.