1/23/2012

Hear This

Have I ever mentioned that I write for the "school paper"? As in the weekly e-newsletter at my husband's medical school. Mostly, I go to random events, take photos, and write an article. Bing-bang-boom, cash in my pocket. I wouldn't say that it is the ideal job for me, but I'm pretty good at it and it helps give me a little spending money.

Where am I going with this?

The other day, I was asked to attend a seminar on Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids from visiting doctors. I know. Doesn't it sound like the perfect way to spend your Friday morning? Sitting in a lecture hall listening to a presentation on the inner workings of the hearing aid?

Let's just say that I'm glad I stuck it out. After the seminar I introduced myself to the presenters and asked for a short interview. We sat down and they told me about the work they had been doing in the community earlier in the week. Their stories were surprising and touching.

Before coming to the island, these doctors worked with their local Rotary Club to raise money for the trip. Between that money and old hearing aids donated by the patients at their practice, over 150 hearing aids (which cost upwards of $700 US each) were given to locals in need.

The doctors told stories of patients who complained of hearing loss and upon inspection the doctors found hardened black wax and other foreign objects (like dirt and bugs). Once thoroughly cleaned, many of these people had a complete restoration of their hearing while others were treated for hidden infections.

Any one who needed it was fitted for a hearing aid that was molded on the spot for them. For some, this was the first time in years they had been able to have a normal conversation.

I want to share the most touching story with you, as I wrote it for the article.
The team shared the story of Alex, a young boy about the age of 10 who was brought to the clinic by his mother. She explained to the doctors that the boy was completely deaf. After an initial exam, the audiologists put a body aid & hearing aid on him, and for the first time Alex was able to hear his own voice and outside noise. The expression on his face was of undeniable joy as he spoke syllables of noise into the machine. Stories like this are what make these Hearing Clinics so valuable to both the team members, and the members of the local community.
Not so long ago if I had seen a donation jar at a local coffee shop or church for a mission trip like this, I would have thought, "Let someone with money help them." But actually living here, in a developing country, I realize that I truly was and am blessed. I know it can be hard to tell whether charities are for-real or not, but I encourage you to donate when and where you can. You never know when your small gift might make a big difference in the life of someone else.

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