Jenny Buckley is our new Volunteer Teacher of the Deaf in Malawi. Jenny will be in based in Blantyre until June 2018 as the technical lead for the education component of the Comprehensive Audiology Services in Blantyre, where she will train Itinerant Special Needs teachers on the inclusion of children with hearing loss in mainstream schools and basic awareness on Primary Ear and Hearing Care.
“This is a time of first’s for me, my first trip to Africa, my first long haul flight by myself, my first encounter with catching a connecting flight and my first volunteer placement to mention but a view. I am grateful for the opportunity and will continue to go with the flow and enjoy each moment.”
Our Volunteer Paediatric Audiologist in Zambia, Bhavisha Parmar, tells us about the first hearing aid fitting for 8 year old Emmanuel, at the newly established Children’s Hearing Clinic in Lusaka, Zambia.
“Since I arrived here in Zambia in January so much work has gone towards creating a clinic to assess the hearing of children at risk of hearing loss and providing the necessary hearing aid fittings, follow up and rehabilitation. Since the Children Hearing Clinic’s opening in June 2017, I have been inundated with patients, questions about hearing loss/ear health and I have now seen 40 patients for audiological assessments. As I sit here now, in what used to be a storage unit, I am overwhelmed at the response and the interest and I just hope it continues to grow as we raise awareness of the impact of hearing loss.
“Today marks the beginning of International Week of the Deaf. Today is extra special as I completed this clinic’s first hearing aid fitting. Emmanuel Mubiana is 8 years old and struggling significantly in grade two of primary school. His parents heard about this clinic and made an appointment as it was becoming increasingly difficult to communicate with their son. Emmanuel was very shy and reserved and getting bullied at school as a result. I assessed Emmanuel 2 weeks ago and found he had a bilateral moderate to severe sensorineural hearing loss, his parents assume this was from birth. Today he was fitted with bilateral digital hearing aids from the hearing aid refurbishment programme (HARP) and he was able to have a conversation with his father without the help of lip-reading for the first time.
“My work since January was meant for moments like today. Emmanuel enjoyed learning how to use his hearing aids and the family understood that this is the start of a new journey for them. They will be back to see me in two weeks’ time for a follow up appointment to check Emmanuel’s progress. It is wonderful to see a project come together and I am really enjoying the day to day clinical life here in University Teaching Hospital’s first audiology department”
John’s Story: Watch new video from our work in Zambia
On Day One of International Week of the Deaf (18th to 24th September 2017) , Sound Seekers are delighted to launch a new video, thanks to our Volunteer Tim Ringger from Sonova and The Hear the World Foundation who helped tell John’s story.
Watch the incredible moment when John, aged 88, gets his hearing back.
Meet John Kaonga from Zambia. He is 88 years old and has 12 children and too many grandchildren to count. John used to work on the farm but is now at home with his family and enjoys gardening at home. John had difficulty hearing for the past year, but didn’t seek any medical help. He relied on lip-reading to understand his family, and people often had to shout to speak to him. His 22 year old grandson heard about the Audiology Services at Ndola Central Hospital in Zambia, established by Sound Seekers. He brought his grandfather in to have his hearing checked.
John had his hearing tested by Anita Lungo, whose training as a Hearing Instrument Specialist was sponsored by Sound Seekers in 2016. This was the first time John had his hearing tested. He was diagnosed with severe sensorineural hearing loss in both ears. Within the same morning, Anita was able to take impressions, make ear moulds, and fit and test John with two new hearing aids, donated by Hear the World Foundation. John was amazed he could hear again and said:
“I am very happy and I can now talk to my grandchildren. Now I don’t feel jealous that other people are talking and I was unable to take part in the conversation.
“I can’t believe this!”
Before Sound Seekers’ support there were no audiology services in Ndola. There is a now a fully equipped audiology clinic and an ear mould lab within Ndola Central Hospital, and two trained Hearing Instrument Specialists to deliver much needed ear and hearing health services. The audiology services at Ndola Central Hospital also include a HARK vehicle (Hearing Assessment and Research Clinic) which provides mobile outreach services to remote and rural areas. This year the HARK is focusing on weekly outreach visits to primary schools in Ndola District to screen children for hearing loss. In addition, we have trained 96 community workers in Primary Ear and Hearing Care (PEHC) in Ndola where PEHC training and awareness has been delivered in local schools and health centres.
Sometimes it only take a little to make a huge impact.
Please help change the lives of more people like John.
We are delighted to share the news of our new project increasing access to education for children with hearing loss in Ndola, in the Copperbelt Region of Zambia.
Thanks to the support of the People of the Island of Jersey, we are improving infrastructure at two mainstream schools with deaf units in Zambia and supporting targeted outreach screening to mainstream primary schools within the Ndola District to enable the early identification and treatment of hearing loss amongst children in Grade 1 at mainstream schools.
This project will:
Expand the current deaf units by constructing three new classrooms in each school at Kansenshi Basic School and Chilengwa Primary School, including teaching and learning materials.
Using our HARK Vehicle, the Audiology team from Ndola Central Hospital will provide weekly outreach visits to screen children in mainstream schools within Ndola District for hearing loss in Grade 1 (also accompanied by Optometrists to screen for vision-related problems).
Construction began last week, see the first photos below:
Watch this space for updates on the project!
Update August 2017: The photos above show an outreach visit with our HARK vehicle at Chilengwa Primary School, where 175 children in Grade 1 had their hearing screened. Our volunteer Audiologist Bhavisha was also there.
Huge thanks to the team in Ndola for their hard work on this project and to the People of the Island of Jersey for enabling this project to happen.
Sound Seekers would like to thank Bankside Gallery for hosting a fantastic fundraising event for us on Thursday 11th May 2017, and we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who attended the event and supported us.
We are delighted to tell you the event, silent auction and raffle raised an incredible £6,535.
Thank you to Bankside Gallery for donating 20% of sales on night The Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers’ Original Prints Exhibition, which featured and features new works by leading printmakers.
Thanks to Anita Klein, a past President of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, who gave a speech on the night, and everyone who donated our silent auction and raffle prizes, and a special thanks to Specsavers for sponsoring the event.
The money raised will help more children and adults with hearing loss in Africa to improve their lives.
We are delighted the Aston Audiology Society has nominated us as their charity for their Hear to Help 2017 Charity Gala next month in May.
The Aston Audiology Society was only established last month in March 2017, and is the first ever Audiology Society at the University. As a society, they aim to increase awareness of hearing disabilities within the community, support charities working towards this cause locally and in developing countries, and to promote links between University students and companies offering solutions for the hearing impaired.
This evening is open to all, and therefore please do not hesitate to invite friends, family, and colleagues to an enjoyable evening they have planned. There will be a three-course meal and performances on the night.
Please see below the details of the event:
Date: Thursday 4th of May 2017, 6.00 PM to 9.00 PM
Venue: Tipu Sultan, 43 Alcester Rd, Birmingham, B13 8AA
Chisomo is a 6 year old girl from Bangwe which is just outside of Blantyre. She has a twin sister named Chikondi. Both were born infected with Yellow Fever, and they spent several months in Kangaroo Care until they were healthy enough to go home.
Chisomo’s father Joseph reports that he believes Chisomo has hearing loss since she was born. She has normal development except her speech was delayed. Her father mentioned that Chisomo’s grandmother was born with hearing loss and never spoke.
Chisomo and Chikondi are in the same class at school where Chikondi is performing very well. While Chisomo is struggling, having behavioural issues and is quite shy – all of these issues could be related to her hearing loss.
She was diagnosed with a moderate to severe sensorineural hearing loss in both ears. Yesterday, on the 20th of February, she was fitted with two hearing aids that were donated by Hansaton Hungary and brought by a visiting ENT team from Budapest. Chisomo was very excited to get her hearing aids and was giggling at the new sound of her voice.
We are looking forward to hear about from Chisomo next month at her follow-up appointment.
We would like to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
This has been an exciting year for the organisation with the opening of the first ever audiology clinic in Southern Malawi and the first ever Malawian Audiologists now working at the clinic. We have also provided training to six hearing instrument specialists from Cameroon, The Gambia, Malawi and Zambia. In The Gambia, alongside audiology support, we have facilitated the training of 2,000 teachers to improve access to education for children with hearing loss.
We would like to thank you very much for your continued support.
We are delighted to say that we are in the early stages of developing a basic audiology unit at The Gambia’s main government hospital, Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) which currently does not have any such service. Such a facility is desperately needed in the capital city, Banjul; the only other audiology service is at St John’s School and that is principally for students, and the HARK outreach project has a predominantly rural focus.
This project will provide the EFSTH with the right infrastructure (revamped clinic and new equipment) to deliver audiological assessment, rehabilitation and management to adults and children over the age of five, as well as provision of custom made earmoulds. The service will be led by Yaka Faal, who completed the diploma course in Zambia last year.
We would like to say thank you to Jersey Overseas Aid (JOA) for their support over the years in The Gambia.