Let’s Hear It For Audiology!
The Audiology team is joined by five students and five interpreters from Berkeley City College interpretation program. The team sees children, adolescents and adults. Many of the adults have a hearing deficit as a result of being near an explosion or gunfire. Children often experience an infection or birth injury which leads to deafness, and some have inherited disorders, the origin of which will never be determined. The team assesses each patient’s hearing loss, makes molds of their ears, and manufactures hearing aids on the spot. Afterwards, patients receive counseling on how to care for their new hearing aids. This is a part of the process when the interpreters are so valuable. To enhance communication and understanding, the interpreters were trained to teach patients about proper care of their new equipment.
Another key player on the team is Annika who is returning for her second year of service. Annika lives in Denver and just finished high school. She visits her mother’s entire family inGuatemala every other year. Because she has always loved to volunteer and has been interested in a career in medicine, she looked for a medical volunteer experience in Guatemala, and her Google search led her to us. After Medical Missions Foundation contacted Annika, they realized what a valuable asset she would be. She is a fluent Spanish speaker and also has a moderate to severe threshold of hearing loss in her right ear. According to Deb Nicklaus, she “rocks her hearing aid”, which helps the adolescent patients feel less apprehensive about wearing one, and shows them just how cool it can be. Annika has also helped reorganize the clinic, allowing the team to increase the efficiency of patient care. The patients can have a life changing experience in 90 minutes or less.