Hear the World reaches another country with needed support
On behalf of the Hear the World Foundation, a team of six volunteers from Phonak US completed a recent hearing health mission in impoverished Haiti. Over the course of the five-day mission, the Phonak team completed hearing assessments on more than 30 children and many adults in Leveque, a community of hearing impaired residents where the Hear the World Foundation sponsored solar lights in 2012. They also conducted field repairs on existing hearing aids and collaborated with community leaders to gain greater insight into the lives of these people struggling with hearing loss.
Their outreach efforts were not without challenge, as Haiti represents one of the poorest countries in the world, with a population of more than 11 million people and an annual income of just $480 per person.
“I got to travel alongside other Phonak employees, many of whom I wouldn’t have had the opportunity of working with and share a meaningful experience, enforcing our passion for audiology and helping,” commented Brandy Heckroodt, Phonak US mission volunteer. “We were able to connect with many different types of people, do some really good work, and I am enthusiastically looking forward to seeing Hear the World Foundation continue its support of this community.”
Overcoming the challenges
They also had the opportunity to visit the Haiti Deaf Children’s Home and get acquainted with many of the community’s children to learn firsthand about life in Haiti and the opportunities that the Leveque community represents for them.
“The practice of Audiology in a troubled country requires much improvisation”, explained Marisa Breslin, another Phonak US mission volunteer. “One cannot understand this until they actual witness how little resources these people have. It is through such fantastic opportunities like Hear The World that we have the chance to impact the lives of those with hearing loss living in a troubled country and to begin to plan the institution of a viable hearing healthcare program.“
What’s next? To create the framework for a sustainable hearing healthcare program to be executed and managed by volunteer teams and eventually by the local community in Haiti.