In 2017 our audiologist Paula Cook joined a hearing mission to Armenia, to provide technology and expertise to people in need. Paula was part of a 17 strong contingent from the UK who travelled to the Armenian capital, Yerevan. This was the first time a UK team has fitted devices in an overseas mission as part of the worldwide Starkey Foundation initiative – run by manufacturer Starkey Hearing Technologies. The Foundation has provided over 1.9 million hearing devices in more than 100 countries.
This trip to Yerevan saw the actual fitting of the hearing instruments, counselling and aftercare to 1806 individuals. The volunteers worked closely with a local medical team to ensure long term support is in place for the future.
“I have had the most amazing experiences of my life, I was lucky enough to be one of the audiologists that went to Armenia to help provide 1806 Armenians with hearing aids. Many of these people have not had a pair of hearing aids until this point in their life, others would have had hearing aids as a child but once their hearing aid broke they were not replaced by their government. It was so amazing to see people’s faces light up when they could hear once again or for the first time. The thanks the individuals gave was with a smile and the giving of simple gifts of sweets and apples to show their appreciation – this was extremely humbling.” – Paula
Hearing aids help bridge the gap at school, work and life for children and adults with hearing loss.
The Foundation works to empower the people it helps toward a better life and knowing how they too can improve the lives of others. By freely sharing expertise and time, Paula and the team aimed to help establish an ongoing community-based hearing service in Yerevan. According to the World Health Organisation more than 360 million people have disabling hearing loss, with the greatest number living in developing countries. Unfortunately, less than three per cent can afford hearing aids or access to care.
It is our mission at Aston Hearing to support similar projects annually. The experience gained impacts so positively on our practice in the UK whilst making a difference, albeit in a small way, to promote better hearing healthcare world-wide.