October Newsletter: Giving the Gift of Hearing in Shangri-La

In fiction, Shangri-La is a mystical, harmonious place of peace and beauty, located somewhere in southwest China. During our recent hearing mission, we found it … in Yunnan Province. Home to more than 56 ethnic minorities, each with their own distinct language, cultural dress and religious traditions, Yunnan’s incredible diversity was on display as the team delivered the gift of hearing. With the help of dedicated and skilled sponsors ON Semiconductor, LSTN, Dennis and Leslie Hansen and many others, we worked side-by-side with the Chinese government to open up the world of sound to more than 6,000 children and adults in need.

From Kunming to Chuxiong to Dali to Lijiang, with each stop word spread throughout the province that we were changing lives with the gift of hearing. We had organized transportation for all of our pre-registered patients, but walk-in patients began traveling from hundreds of miles, often for days and on foot, to reach us. One father traveled from his mountain village home where he works as a sheepherder to bring his 10-year-old daughter, Longli, hoping we could help her. Longli was born with hearing loss, and due to the limited resources in her community, her school was unable to accommodate her. Therefore, she never had the opportunity to go to school. In spite of this, Longli learned to write her name and taught herself to read lips. As soon as Tani Austin met her, she knew Longli was capable of so much more. Tani helped to give her the gift of hearing and then promptly secured a promise from Longli’s father that he would enroll her in school.

As the team was wrapping up a successful hearing mission at a farewell dinner hosted by the Chinese government, Bill Austin noticed that the Yijiang Special Education School dance troop performing for the crowd needed hearing aids. As soon as the meal was over, he invited the entire troop back to his hotel room, where he set up shop. Still wearing their formal attire, he and Tani worked late into the night to make sure each student was connected to the world of sound. 

The team is currently changing lives in Kenya. 

Watch Matt Nathanson’s Headphones and Support the Gift of Hearing

For his new music video “Headphones,” Matt Nathanson joined us in Peru to help people with hearing loss.  He captured his experience for his new single, and he is donating all proceeds from the video to help give the gift of hearing.

Giving back has never been more fun and easy! Watch the video!

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