Oh my gosh, what an amazing May and it couldn’t be more appropriate since May was Better Hearing Month. So, to catch you up, last month I shared the story about Yvonne who lives in Rwanda and is in need of a new hearing aid. Krista Wooly, who is the executive director for the Community Care Clinic of Rowan, contacted me about her situation. Her son Carter spent a year in Rwanda and received a text from the pastor from her village requesting help in getting Yvonne a new hearing aid. She is a young woman who has no hearing in one ear and a severe to profound hearing loss in the other. Her current hearing aid broke, and Pastor Mulisa thought Carter would know where to get her a new one.

As a partner of the clinic, Krista thought I may be able to help. At that time, she was unaware of our relationship with Hearing the Call, the non-profit we support as part of our membership with Entheos. We joined Entheos, an audiology co-operative, two years ago. Part of our mission is “to give back”.
Hearing the Call receives strong support from Oticon, one of our major hearing aid suppliers. I was hoping Hearing the Call had a contact person in Rwanda, but, at this time there is no one to help. I did, however, receive approval to get a power Oticon hearing aid from Hearing the Call’s supply closet of donated hearing aids. Krista was able to get a copy of Yvonne’s hearing test so I could pre-program her NEW hearing aid. Krista picked up the hearing aid last week. Someone she knows who lives in Arizona is going to Kagali Rwanda and will hand carry the hearing aid to the Humanhood Clinic so their audiology department can fit Yvonne with her NEW hearing aid. This process began March 20, 2023, and I am glad to say by mid-June Yvonne will be able to hear again!

The “give back” continued as Jane and I participated in our first humanitarian trip. A small group of Entheos members were invited by the Turks and Caicos government to screen the hearing of the children of the small island of South Caicos and the students at the S.N.A.P Center (Special Needs Associations of Providenciales). Our group of ten consisted of five audiologists and five support people representing North Carolina, Nevada, Florida, Wyoming, and Nevada.
We started our mission in South Caicos. Principle Paulette was amazing, getting all the parents to sign consent forms so we could evaluate all the children in elementary, pre-school and high school. The students lined up outside to have someone look in their ears. While I like being outside and don’t mind the heat, I volunteered for that initial job. Jane and I brought our own otoscopes which I was glad to have. My job was to determine if the students could go directly to have their hearing screened or to Jane (and her helper Ann) for ear cleaning. Jane is truly the “master earigator” and did a fabulous job washing out a bunch of waxy ears.

Once their ears were cleaned, the student would then go to screening. They came to us class by class so after all the ears were looked at, I would go help with the screening. If they failed the screening, a complete hearing evaluation was performed. We identified a student who experienced sudden hearing loss and tinnitus in one ear. Since we did not have her preferred purple hearing aid, she picked pink so she could be just like Ms. Jane. Jane’s heart melted, of course. After all the children were tested and treated, we saw the adults of the community. We fitted several folks with hearing aids and tested many of the power company workers.

Once our work was done in South Caicos, we flew back to Providenciales to work in the S.N.A.P center. In the small lobby, at one point there must have been over 25 people, parents and interpreters since many adults spoke Creole. The children were absolutely precious, and the adults were very appreciative of the services we provided. I am waiting for the final count, but I think we fitted about 30 hearing aids, looked in and tested hundreds of ears. It makes our heart happy to know we were able to help so many that otherwise would not have been able to receive the gift of better hearing.

If you would like to partner with a team that shares the gift of better hearing to others, give Jamie or Diane a call at 704-633-0023 to schedule an appointment. Be sure to visit our website: hearingsolutionsofnc.com and like us on Facebook. Jane, Cheryl, and I look forward to seeing you soon.