Everyone who comes through our clinic is impressed with what they see, including the level of training for all of the staff. It was on one of these visits from a group from CBM (Christian Blind Mission) a long time supporter, that we were given a grant to provide even more help to people in need.
Our driving force was based around how much different life would be for the hearing impaired on this island if we could identify them at birth or by the age of three? The average age of the students found and brought into our Prep classes is 9 years old. Last year we found one woman at the age of 30 who had gone her whole life never knowing she had a name! Even learning sign language now she will never catch up to what could have been her full potential. We see such a dramatic difference in the student’s capacity to learn and retain information based solely on the age in which they were found and began to learn a language. It breaks our hearts to know that so much more could have been done for them if only we had found them earlier. We HAVE to identify them sooner!
With the grant provided by CBM (Christian Blind Mission) we are begining an Island Wide Hearing Screening Program. Jopeth Laguna, our hearing specialist from IDEA’s Hearing Clinic now goes out daily and tests the hearing of babies born at the lay-in clinics. These clinics are for women who can’t afford to deliver at a hospital. JaJa Pusta our Nurse, will be going to the Day Care Centers (Preschools), Elementary Schools, and Barangays (Neighborhoods) throughout the island to provide free hearing screening. The goal is to screen at least 10,000 individuals per year.
Once a child is identified as hearing impaired we can then bring them into our clinic for further diagnostic testing to find the cause and or extent of the loss. If a child can benefit from the use of a hearing aid one will be provided for them on an ability to pay basis, providing the child the opportunity to learn speech if possible. If they are profoundly deaf then we will provide sign language materials to their parents so they can begin teaching them at home. We will then contact them at age 5 to have them enroll in our schools.
Part of this grant also provided a 3D Printer which can be used to make new hearing aid cases from used hearing aids which gives us the opportunity to take donated hearing aids, remake them, and provide them at little or no cost to those in need. We are working together with Rotary World to set up collection sites for used hearing aids. If you would like a box to set up for collection please contact us.
These refurbished hearing aids will be used not just at IDEA but shared among 10 other CBM partners that work with hearing impaired individuals throughout the Philippines. Some of these organizations have waiting lists of over 200 people hoping for a hearing aid.
To bring the level of care up throughout the Philippines we are partnering together with these organizations and offering calibration of their hearing equipment, training and resources. This helps to multiply all of our efforts and help so many more people.
Who would of thought that when Brian first took a job in Boulder, CO calibrating audiometers that this is where he would end up? To read more about the services we offer at Bohol Hearing Aid Center please visit our website at www.boholhearingcenter.com.