Who we help

Who we help

Our projects help children and young people who are dealing with hearing loss. Many of the children we help are struggling in school and are without the hearing aids and equipment they need to learn. We provide appropriate hearing aids improving the opportunity to learn and significantly improving their life chances and employability.

Case-Study-Happy-12

Happy is no longer held back in school

Happy is a little boy who has hearing loss. He was not doing well in school and was having some behavioural problems. He had been stuck in the same class for three years because he couldn’t hear anything. Last year, our audiologist volunteer, Dr Courtney Caron, fitted him with donated hearing aids. Happy has finally moved up a year and is thriving in school.

 

 

Tele-audiology-2

Mervis had her remote hearing aid fitting via tele-audiology

Mervis is a 15 year old Zambian girl with severe sensorineural hearing loss bilaterally, which was caused by meningitis which she contracted in 2008.

The Sound Seekers team in Ndola identified her hearing loss during 2014 at the audiology clinic at Ndola Central Hospital and recommended that she be fitted with bilateral hearing aids as soon as possible. Aural impressions were taken of both ears and earmoulds were made on site. In June 2014, the Sound Seekers tele-audiology platform was used to have her hearing aids programmed and switched on by Shannon Kruyt, an audiologist located in Cape Town, South Africa.

The session was supervised at the remote site by Alfred Mwamba, ( currently the only Zambian audiologist) who was able to evaluate the session and provide necessary feedback to Shannon. As far as we know, this was the first remote hearing aid fitting of its kind in Africa.

Shannon travelled to Ndola in March 2015 to meet Mervis face-to-face and to assist with her hearing aid follow-up appointment. Although there were a few technical issues to attend to, Mervis is happy with her hearing aids and finds them extremely beneficial, both at home and at school.

Case Study Innocent and Courtney Caron 1

Innocent is back in school and thriving

Innocent is a little boy in Blantyre who lost most of his hearing through malaria and was already starting to withdraw, and fail at school. We fitted him with hearing aids, and he started laughing and responding straightaway. He’s now back at school and thriving. Innocent is now a boy with a chance of an education, a job and of self-sufficiency.

Case Study Mpunga

Mpunga from Zambia kept her job thanks to her new hearing aids

Mpunga is a 36-year-old mother of three who works as a general nurse in her hometown of Mufulira. It took three hours each way for her to travel to the clinic in Ndola to have her hearing loss checked. Moping noticed her hearing ?problems when she was pregnant with her youngest child. This made it very difficult for her to hear her patients and her young children at home and her job was at risk.

Mpunga has a hearing condition called Otosclerosis in both ears. Otosclerosis affects the tiny bones (ossicles) in the middle ear, preventing sound vibrations from being conducted efficiently. This has left Mpunga with a moderate to severe hearing loss on both sides.

Whilst we didn’t have the facilities or expertise to conduct the corrective surgery, this is where hearing aids can make a real difference.  You can see from the smile on Mpunga’s face that the long journey to the clinic was worth it. She is now able to properly communicate with her patients and children again and keep her job.

Case Study Hajiri (1)

Hajiri is happy to hear her friends again

Hajiri is ten and from Malawi. She was doing well in school, until 2012, when the teachers noticed she wasn’t hearing well in class. In 2013 she failed her year, and had to repeat it. Hajiri had her hearing assessed in the audiology department at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Malawi. Hajiri’s audiogram showed that she had moderate hearing loss in both ears. Hajiri has suffered repeated ear infections throughout her life, which has resulted in perforated eardrums on both sides. She needed a bone conductor hearing aid, which bypasses the damaged middle ear completely and stimulates the intact inner ear (cochlea) directly.

Mwanaisha (pictured left with Hajiri) was sponsored by Sound Seekers to do a diploma in audiology in Nairobi and is now studying for a Masters degree at the University of Manchester. Rebecca, an Australian Audiologist based in Lilongwe, over 200 miles away supports Mwanaisha and her colleagues in Blantyre with hearing aid fittings. After Mwanaisha sent her Hajiri’s audiogram in December, Rebecca selected the correct hearing aid for her – a bone conductor conductor hearing aid which is worn over the head like a hair band – and brought it with her on a visit to Blantyre.

Hajiri is very happy that she will now be able to hear her friends, family and teachers properly again and succeed in school.

Case Study Emma

Emma is achieving well in school

Emma is 9 years old.  She has eardrum perforations in both ears and had a history of chronic ear discharge since early childhood. She was struggling to hear her teachers in school.

Due to her history of chronic discharge, she was not a candidate for traditional hearing aids. Emma was fitted with a Unitron Max E SP bone conduction hearing aid in May 2015 provided by our partners at ABC Hearing Clinic and Training Centre in Lilongwe, Malawi and made specially for her specially made by Unitron in Canada.

When Emma came for her follow up appointment with her grandmother at the end of the school year, she excitedly shared her latest report card. Her grandmother reported significant improvement in Emma’s school scores, she earned all Excellent or Good marks this term. Emma is very grateful for her new hearing aid which she received from QECH Audiology in Blantyre, Malawi.

Enert and her mother

Enert can now participate fully in class

Enert is a 12 year old girl who lives about 2 hours outside Blantyre in a township called Mesongwe. She had normal hearing up until 2013 where she had a sudden hearing loss from an unknown cause. She was tested at QECH in February 2015 and was diagnosed with moderate to profound sensorineural hearing loss in the right ear and a moderate to severe sensorineural hearing loss in the left ear. Enert was fitted with Phonak Naida Q30-SP hearing aids in June 2015, which were donated by Hear the World.

Enert  is in standard 7 in school which is advanced and she started school early. Her mother reported that during the period that her daughter’s hearing loss was untreated (2013-2015) school was much more difficult for her and because she could not understand the teacher during lessons. She relied heavily on notes from friends in order to pass her classes and advance in school. She had to work so much harder because she couldn’t hear her lessons but that didn’t stop this determined young girl from advancing in school. Her mother is heavily involved in her child’s life and education and wants to see her daughter succeed. Ebert is very bright young girl who has aspirations to become a physician one day. She told her mother that since she received her hearing aids, she can now understand her teacher again and can answer questions in class – her favorite subjects are English and Science and Technology.

Enert loves to listen to music at church and dance with her friends. Her mother says that it is so much easier to communicate with her now that she is wearing her hearing aids and she no longer has to raise her voice to talk to her.

case stufy 10

Sorie and Ada are back in school after losing their hearing due to Ebola

Two pupils from the St Joseph’s School in Sierra Leone, Sorie (aged 10) and his sister Ada (aged 6) recovered from Ebola but both lost their hearing, very likely due to the disease. It’s been a very difficult time for them, both their parents died and they are now in the care of their 22 year old sister. They have since been fitted with hearing aids and are doing much better. The school has now re-opened and the children are returning to continue with their education.

Case Study Courtney and Edith1 2

Edith, a nurse from Malawi is able to hear her patients again

Edith is a nurse and a health visitor at a hospice. She came to the audiology room in Blantyre, Malawi with hearing loss. It was severely affecting her job: she could only visit patients with someone accompanying her. This was often impossible. Edith is the only nurse in her local area who makes home visits so this meant that patients were simply not getting help.

Dr Caron (a Sound Seekers volunteer Audiologist) and Mwanaisha, the audiology nurse, diagnosed bilateral atelectasis. Her eardrums are severely retracted and had attached themselves to the bones of the middle ear. Surgery wasn’t an option. Her right ear was  too far gone to be helped, but Dr Caron and Mwanaisha fitted her left ear with a powerful hearing aid, donated to Sound Seekers from a Specsavers customer in the UK. Edith can now help her patients on her own again. Edith cried after her first hearing aid fitting and provided many hugs to the team after her follow up appointment.

Aka doing a hearing test in The Gambia

Yaka is acquiring the skills she needs

Yaka Faal is a nurse in The Gambia where there are no native audiologists. Sound Seekers has sponsored her to do an audiology diploma in Zambia so that she can take these skills home with her.

“I’m so happy that Sound Seekers has brought me to Zambia (from The Gambia) to further my knowledge in audiology. I’m looking forward to returning to my home country and applying my new skills – the needs there are great.”