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Foundation trains volunteers, to give out free hearing aids

| by: Cris Lanie Delos Reyes

Some 100 volunteers gathered for the Phase 1 of Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO and Starkey Hearing Foundation’s mission to provide hearing aids for individuals with hearing impediments.

With Starkey’s vision of helping people around the globe receive the gift of hearing, they also aim to provide excellent training for their volunteers.

The assembly of the volunteers and partners of Starkey Hearing Foundation was organized by the PSWDO with the Provincial Health Office (PHO) last July 27 at the Capitol Social Hall.

The volunteers were taught to perform correct ear examination, assessment and identification of present symptoms of infections. They were also trained to recognized primary health services that their future patients might need.

During the training, the volunteers were encouraged to carry professional responsibility in handling their patients.  Their discernment is needed in the decision-making aspects in times when patients need to be referred to or undergo further testing.

Most of the volunteers were nursing students from the University of San Jose Recoletos (USJR), Cebu Doctor’s University (CDU), and Cebu Institute of Medicine (Velez).

Representatives from Starkey showed and discussed the step-by-step process of getting the custom-made earmolds.

Getting the ear molds is usually done by an audiologist by placing a special cotton or foam dam in the ear canal to protect the eardrum, and then a waxy material is placed in the ear canal. When the wax hardens in about 5-10 minutes, the wax cast, along with the cotton, are removed from the ear.

This procedure was shared by the representatives from Starkey to the volunteers.

“I have learned a lot of things from the training. This is a good opportunity for us to have a learning experience,” said Cheriss Caudor, 20-year-old nursing graduate who braved the training alone after learning about it from a teacher.

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In the afternoon of the training, 50 patients were pre-listed for the earmolds or ear impressions.

The volunteers were able to perform the procedure of getting the exact earmolds with the supervision of the representatives from Starkey.

Carmen Zamora, 55, from Cabreros, Basak of Cebu City, passed the hearing assessment thereby excluding her from having ear molds since she does not need one.

The volunteers were able to identify a formation of fungi in the external part of Zamora’s ear causing her hearing ability to suffer. It was removed and her internal and external ear were cleaned.

The ear experts from Starkey prescribed medicine for Zamora to avoid another infection.

Meanwhile, Angelito Gabucan, 58, an employee of the PHO volunteered himself to have an ear assessment to acquire a hearing aid.

Gabucan who has been working for 22 years said that his hearing impairment sometimes causes communication problems between him and his officemates.

“Kung naa ko sa office, dili gyud ko motubag og telepono kay di gyud mi magkasinabot sa pikas linya. Dili ko makadungog kaayo labi na sa telepono (When in the office, I do not answer telephone calls because I could not understand the person on the other line. I  could not hear them),” Gabucan said.

The data of the individuals who had ear impressions will be sent out to the US for their personalized hearing aids. The distribution is expected to happen in the last quarter of the year.

Aside from the Cebu Provincial Government, Starkey Hearing Foundation has received support from Philippine Accessible Deaf Services (PADS), Department of Social Welfare Services (DSWS), and Quota International of Southwest Cebu.

The team, with the volunteers, also had a mission at the Mandaue Sports Complex on July 28 and 29, in Brgy. Pajo, Lapu-Lapu City on July 30 and 31. Another mission will be held at MCWD this weekend. These schedules are bound to change.