Starkey Hearing Institute Opens in Zambia

Starkey Hearing Foundation made history with the opening of the unprecedented Starkey Hearing Institute on May 17th, 2016. Esther Lungu, First Lady of Zambia, Richard Brown, Foundation board chair, Tani Austin Foundation co-founder, Keith Becker, senior director of operations, and Dr. Alfred Mwamba, audiologist and executive director of Starkey Hearing Institute Zambia lead the ribbon cutting marking the milestone event as the entity that will deliver hope and hearing to Africa where there has been little to no professionals to help the more than 36 million with hearing loss.

Starkey Hearing Foundation has been dedicated and worked diligently to bring hearing health care to the developing world where no help has existed. This effort continues the vision and legacy of William F. Austin of providing hearing to those who cannot hear.  The opening is a capstone event of Austin’s more than 50 years of work to bring the message of peace and understanding through hearing health care to the world with his simple, sustainable, and scalable WFA® community-based hearing health care model. 

This model is precedent-setting, establishing and shifting the paradigm that all the world can hear is possible, especially those who live in underdeveloped countries. Inspired by Albert Schweitzer’s missionary work when he was a young man, Mr. Austin set a course to change the world by giving the gift of hearing, creating Starkey Hearing Foundation with the goal; “So the world may hear.” To date, the Foundation has a global reach of more than 100 countries, providing more than 1.8 million hearing devices to over 500,000 patients. Moreover, Starkey Hearing Foundation has 40 sustainable hearing healthcare programs around the world, with 94.4% of the workers living in the communities they work in, which is unprecedented in global hearing health care today.

To further provide more hearing health care in Africa, the Foundation partnered with Dr. Mwamba to create an educational program designed to equip students with the academic rigor, resources, and tools to advance hearing health care services. Starkey Hearing Institute in Zambia is opening by training 12 students from nine African countries, with the goal of providing hearing health care to more than two million people in Africa by the year 2030. 

“900,000 Zambians don’t have hearing care,” Mwamba said. “That is a scary number. Being in this position where I can be of service and be part of some very revolutionary work is very exciting.” 

Upon receiving a one-year education in hearing instrument sciences, accredited by International Hearing Society, these specialists will return to their communities to identify, diagnose, and treat people who have hearing loss and advocate to prevent hearing loss. The result is sustained and measureable support of hearing health in communities worldwide.

“Any time we can get more partners involved, it adds to amount of impact we can have around the globe. That’s what Starkey Hearing Institute is all about,” Foundation co-Founder Tani Austin said.

This pioneer Starkey Hearing Institute initiative was chosen to take place in Zambia because of the strong partnership with the government and incredible support from Zambia’s First Lady, Esther Lungu.

“This Institute is going to serve all of Africa, and because of Starkey Hearing Foundation the whole world will be helped,” Mrs. Lungu said.

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