International Week of the Deaf

International Week of the Deaf

International Week of the Deaf 2017

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.

Click here to donate now

 

Construction has begun for new deaf units in two Primary Schools in Zambia

Construction has begun for new deaf units in two Primary Schools in Zambia

    

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

 

Our Bankside Gallery Fundraising Event raised £6,535!

Our Bankside Gallery Fundraising Event raised £6,535!

  

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.

THANK YOU

Congratulations to Matt, Maya and Rona on their 10k London run!

Congratulations to Matt, Maya and Rona on their 10k London run!

We would like to say congratulations to Matt, Maya and Rona on their Vitality British 10k London Run last Sunday 10th July 2016.

They have fundraised £640 altogether and we really appreciated their support.

If you are interested in taking on a running or challenge events, please contact us to find out more!

First comprehensive audiology clinic in Southern Malawi is officially opened by Minister of Health, Dr Peter Kumpalume

First comprehensive audiology clinic in Southern Malawi is officially opened by Minister of Health, Dr Peter Kumpalume

Press Release 5th May 2016 – Sound Seekers, a UK charity dedicated to helping deaf people in some of the poorest communities in Africa, announces the official opening of a comprehensive purpose-built and state of the art audiology clinic at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, the first such clinic in Southern Malawi.

Sound Seekers has worked closely with the Government of Malawi and other partners to design, build, equip and staff the new clinic with funding from UK Aid Match Fund Scheme and the people of island of Jersey. The clinic will provide hearing aids that will enable patients to hear and therefore be better able to participate in family life, with improved access to education and the workplace. It is anticipated that the clinic will be able to treat approximately 35,000 people over the next ten years.

The Minister of Health in Malawi, Dr Peter Kumpalume, comments on the impact this new facility will have for local people suffering the effects of hearing loss: “I am delighted to preside over the opening of the magnificent Audiology Clinic at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital which has been supported by Sound Seekers and provides the first comprehensive audiology service in Southern Malawi incorporating ear and hearing health, outreach clinics, training Malawians to become the country’s first audiologists, and training teachers’ to ensure inclusion of deaf children in education.  With all of these activities working in harmony with each other, we will have created a holistic programme to support the deaf and we should be very proud about.”

The opening of the new clinic marks a major milestone in Sound Seekers’ four year project in Malawi that began with the arrival of American volunteer audiologist, Dr Courtney Caron in 2014. She has launched and developed the clinical audiology service at the hospital, working closely with Dr Andrew Gonani, Director of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and Dr Wakisa Mulwafu, Head of Ear Nose and Throat Department and she has overseen the building of the new clinic, which began in March 2015. The clinic is fitted with a comprehensive range of equipment for measuring levels of hearing loss of patients of any age including two sound-proofed booths, audiometers, tympanometers, otoacoustic emission screeners, hearing aid programming and verification equipment as well as auditory objective measurement equipment for testing patients that may be unable to respond themselves such as newborn babies or someone that has suffered from a brain injury.

A building and equipment alone cannot provide a service to deaf people without skilled and trained medical staff to run the clinic. Emma Judge, CEO of Sound Seekers, explains: “Sound Seekers’ core principle is to support truly sustainable projects where local people are enabled to deliver medical services in their own country. To that end we are very pleased to be sponsoring four Malawian audiology officers who are currently studying for an MSc in Audiology at the University of Manchester in England. When they return to Blantyre in September this year they will be the first fully qualified audiologists in the country and they will ensure that this clinic continues to thrive and serve the people of the local community well into the future.”

Deafness is a very isolating disability that can have a devastating impact on education and the potential for employment and economic independence. The Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital’s Dance and Drama group are putting on a special performance during the opening bringing to life the effects of hearing loss and demonstrating how audiology can make a real difference to those affected by this disability.

Many people affected by hearing loss in Southern Malawi live a very long way from the clinic in Blantyre but Sound Seekers endeavours to ensure access to specialist audiology services even for those in remote communities. The charity has recently secured a new and improved HARK (Hearing Assessment and Research Vehicle) for the audiology clinic, funded by the people of the island of Jersey through JOAC (Jersey Overseas Aid Commission). This specialist 4×4 vehicle has an audio trailer fully equipped with soundproof booths. Using this vehicle, specialist teams can reach remote communities preventing hearing loss wherever possible by treating infections and illnesses and helping those already deafened with the fitting of hearing aids.

Dr Courtney Caron (drcourtney@sound-seekers.org.uk)

http://www.bespoke.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5111

Sound Seekers celebrates 21 years of life-changing hearing care

Sound Seekers celebrates 21 years of life-changing hearing care

PRESS RELEASE: Sound Seekers, a UK charity dedicated to helping deaf people in some of the world’s poorest communities, celebrates its 21st anniversary this month. Coinciding with ‘International Week of the Deaf 2015′, Sound Seekers is taking the opportunity to celebrate its birthday and to thank its supporters and patrons – or ‘hearing heroes’ – which include Specsavers, Prince Andrew (HRH Duke of York), Big Brother 2013 winner Sam Evans, and many more.

Extending this celebration, Sound Seekers is this week inviting anyone who lives and works within the deaf community to nominate their own #HearingHeroes, whether they be an organisation, audiologist, nurse, patron, supporter, friend, or parent. The campaign provides an opportunity to thank those people who make a huge difference to the lives of deaf people around the world.

With an estimated 100,000 people who have been helped by the organisation, Sound Seekers continues delivering practical solutions to children and adults with hearing loss in developing countries, helping them to realise their ambitions of achieving an education or finding employment. Although these are basic expectations in the UK and most Western communities, audiology issues are not only considered a disability in many communities across Africa, but are also associated with other stigmas such as witchcraft, leaving deaf people shunned by society with little or no prospect of leading a normal life.

Working in partnership with local organisations and institutions, Sound Seekers initiates sustainable and cost-effective projects which advance the understanding of deaf people’s needs and enable children and adults to avoid or help overcome the effects of deafness. They also improve access to health services, education and social support. One of Sound Seekers’ most recent projects in Malawi enabled over 7000 people with hearing loss to be treated, with over 2000 adults and children being fitted with hearing aids for the first time.

Sound Seekers’ focus on providing sustainable support has also led to their involvement in the training of audiologists in countries such as Zambia, where there is only one qualified audiologist for the entire population of 15 million people, and Malawi, a country of 16 million, where there are no audiologists at all. This September, Sound Seekers has given four Malawians the opportunity to study for an MSc in Audiology at Manchester University. If successful, the students will be the first qualified Audiologists in Malawi, with the knowledge and expertise to successfully treat patients on the ground.

Emma Judge, Sound Seekers CEO, comments: “We are extremely excited to kick off ‘International Week of the Deaf’ with a joint initiative with one of our #HearingHeroes supporters, Specsavers. Specsavers Hearing Centres all across the UK are holding an entire month of activities to support Sound Seekers by helping us to raise money and awareness, as well as collecting old and unwanted hearing aids. These hearing aids will then be cleaned and refurbished by us, before redistribution to hearing-impaired people across six countries in Africa – a fantastic initiative that could make a huge difference to so many people.”

“While we are incredibly proud of our achievement to date, we still have much work to do,” continued Judge. “Like any charity, Sound Seekers relies solely on donations and fundraising to support our activities. We are extremely grateful to all those who have supported us over the last 21 years, and to those who continue to do so.”
The #HearingHeroes Campaign

Get involved with the #HearingHeroes campaign by nominating your #HearingHeroes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to thank the organisations, audiologists, nurses, patrons, supporters, friends or parents who have made a difference to you. You can also let us know who you’re saying thanks to, or find out more information about Sound Seekers, by finding us at Facebook.com/soundseekersorg, Tweeting us @SoundSeekers, or searching for Sound_Seekers on Instagram.

For more information on this press release email help@sound-seekers.org.uk

Big Brother winner Sam Evans heads new BBC Radio 4 Appeal

Big Brother winner Sam Evans heads new BBC Radio 4 Appeal

Big Brother winner Sam Evans is this week set to present a BBC Radio 4 appeal on behalf of UK charity Sound Seekers, calling for donations to help improve hearing care in some of the poorest communities of the developing world. Evans, who is severely deaf, has worked with the charity since 2014, helping to raise funds and awareness to support people with hearing loss, particularly children, in countries across Africa.

“I had the opportunity to visit Malawi with Sound Seekers last year and witnessed first-hand the devastating effects of suffering from deafness in the developing world,” commented Evans. “Having received all of the help and support I needed growing up severely deaf in the UK, I was shocked and saddened to see how different things are elsewhere in the world. Adults with hearing loss in developing countries across Africa are often unable to work, whilst children are isolated and ignored. I am extremely proud to work with Sound Seekers, who are really making a difference to these peoples’ lives, and building a future for audiology where previously there has been no hearing care provision at all.”

The charity is hoping that the BBC Radio 4 appeal will help raise funds to support activities like its ongoing project in Malawi, where the Sound Seekers team is currently working with the Government of Malawi to build the country’s first comprehensive audiology service. “We are very grateful to Sam for presenting this appeal on behalf of our organisation,” said Sound Seekers CEO, Emma Judge. “We have many projects which have the potential to change the lives of people with hearing loss, including increasing access to education for those excluded from school because they are deaf, however we are entirely dependent on funding to make these changes a reality. We are hopeful that people who hear the appeal will begin to understand the severity of the problem for developing countries, and will help us in providing the vital hearing care that is so desperately needed.”

The appeal is due to air for the first time on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday 13th September, at 7.55am, and is also available online via the Radio 4 website. Donations can also be made by calling 0800 404 8144, but only after the radio appeal has aired. Donations made before the radio appeal will not be received by Sound Seekers. Alternatively you can write a cheque to Sound Seekers and send it to Freepost, BBC Radio 4 Appeal, marking the back of the envelope ‘Sound Seekers’.

For more information on this press release email help@sound-seekers.org.uk

Sound Seekers project brings hope to Malawi

Sound Seekers project brings hope to Malawi

Sound Seekers, a national charity dedicated to helping deaf people in the world’s poorest communities, has recently returned from a week’s visit to Malawi, delivering vital aid to deaf communities. The visit also allowed the team to manage a number of ongoing projects and initiatives, and receive critical updates regarding their recent campaign with Specsavers Hearing Centres.

Sound Seekers’ current projects in Malawi are expected to provide hearing aids to around 2,000 adults and children, along with treating around 7,000 people for other causes of hearing loss. A further 3,500 people will be educated on ear care and hearing loss prevention, reflecting the charity’s commitment to providing sustainable aid and long-term solutions that will continue to benefit communities long after aid workers have returned to the UK. One of the biggest projects, however, is the construction of the country’s first comprehensive audiology service, based at Blantyre’s largest hospital. In addition to constructing the hearing unit, which is expected to serve over 10,000 people in three years, the charity is training African staff to identify and treat hearing loss so that deaf people can go to school and find work.

“We were amazed to see the developments since our last visit,” commented Lucy Carter, CEO, Sound Seekers. “With the help of some fantastic partner organisations and the Government here in Malawi, we are seeing real progress. Along with seeing the new audiology unit take shape, we were able to revisit children who received hearing aids and cochlear implants last year and watch them thriving. One of the children we met only months ago now has such good hearing that he is able to translate for his mother! It’s great to see the benefits of our services extending far beyond just those we are able to meet.”

The visit also provided an opportunity to get an update on the charity’s joint campaign with Specsavers Hearing Centres, initiated earlier this year. The campaign has so far seen thousands of old and unwanted hearing aids collected from Specsavers stores across the UK, before being cleaned, repurposed and redistributed to people in Africa with hearing loss.

“It is a very exciting time for Sound Seekers, as a number of our campaigns have come to fruition and are starting to make a real difference,” continued Carter. “Our recent partnership with Specsavers Hearcare has been hugely successful, and it is immensely rewarding to witness first-hand the benefits of the campaign. Our combined efforts are expected to change the lives of nearly 400,000 people in the community with hearing loss, and we are confident that we are well on the way to building a promising future for audiology in Malawi.”

Specsavers founder, Dame Mary Perkins, also commented: “Living in the UK, we are extremely lucky to have access to such robust hearing healthcare programmes. Overseas, charities like Sound Seekers are providing vital care to those who are not as fortunate. We are delighted to be supporting the great work that Sound Seekers provides in countries like Malawi.”

For more information on this press release email help@sound-seekers.org.uk

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