Working together the Ear, Nose & Throat doctors, the Audiologists determined the best course of treatment for the patients referred to them. Some patients ended up having surgery, while others were sent to Audiology for other treatments to help those with hearing loss. The Audiology team brought with them 150 hearing aids – some were donations, some bought, others refurbished. As of Friday evening, of the 185 patients seen, 140 hearing aids had been placed by Thursday evening. Children receive two, while adults get one, which help spread the supply out to as many as possible. It should be noted here that a hearing aid at the minimum cost over $1,000.00. And how grateful we all are to those who donated, or held fund-raisers to be able to purchase the hearing aids for this mission!
Audiology has been very busy through the week. There is always a number of clients waiting to be seen, by this nine member team. Whether an Audiologist or a student, all are hands-on, doing screenings and assessing the needs of their patients. Many of the team are taking on various roles. Of the five students, several are assisting in language translating others are collecting data and keeping records of all those they’ve seen during the course of the week. And, often when they think their day is done, another patient will come around the corner, and the team will pull out their equipment and go back to work without complaint, willing and ready to assist.
For other member of the mission team, it is always an experience to stop by and see Audiology at work. Often the Audiology will ask a patient if they hear a tone level, which is translated into Spanish, then maybe Sign Language or even Mayan, and back again. Patiently, they work to find what needs there are, and then if a hearing aid is required, they take the putty and specifically shape it to fit the patients ear, often letting the children have a small piece of putty to understand what the process is all about. The work can take an emotional toll, frequently there are smiles, but often there are tears, either of joy or sadness, because even though the team is willing, there is not a lot they are able to do for some patients. But, none the less, they stay with it, and have done an amazing job this week.
And for those clients that go through Audiology, either with or without hearing aids, they are given small bags of supplies, hearing aid batteries and protective cases if needed; toiletry items, and Beanie Babies. (And the donation of Beanie Babies was generous this year, enough that the younger children were able to pick out a Beanie Baby for siblings, as well, which also brought a lot of joy!).