Zambia is a country with 16 million people - and only one practising audiologist. Not everyone who needs a hearing test or a hearing aid fitting can get one. Otometrics – in cooperation with the UK-based charity Sound Seekers – is helping to change that.
Otometrics teams up with Sound Seekers to help school children and hospital staff in Zambia
Earlier this year, Otometrics volunteered time, equipment and two employees to help train hospital staff in basic audiology and fitting in Zambia. Lillian Huang, audiologist from Otometrics China and Kris Philips, senior service technician from Otometrics US/Audiology Systems, Inc. spent a week assisting and training the local Zambian hospital staff in screening school children and calibrating hearing care equipment.
Lillian Huang, audiologist from Otometrics China helping children in Zambia
Sound Seekers is a UK based development charity that helps deaf and hearing impaired people in some of the poorest communities in the world. They are well-established in Zambia as the need is great. According to Sound Seekers, every day 5-10 babies are born with hearing loss in Zambia.
“It’s no secret that hearing loss in children affects social and educational development,” says Trine Marqvard, marketing manager and CSR coordinator at Otometrics. “We are proud to be able to help the local clinics in Zambia learn more about hearing loss, prevention and the importance of hearing care in children through projects such as this one.”
There was plenty to do for the two Otometrics employees. One of the challenges healthcare professionals face in Zambia is old equipment.
Kris Philips, senior service technician from Otometrics/ASI calibrates equipment in Zambia
“Most of the equipment is in pretty sad shape,” says Kris Philips, senior service technician from Otometrics. “Although it seems well cared for, it’s just really old. My first priority was to try to get a couple of hearing aid fitting devices working so they can have air/bone/speech at all the clinical testing sites. Currently they are using air/bone only.”
In addition to visiting a local school, Lillian and Kris spent time at Ndola Central Hospital – the largest hospital in the north central region of Zambia. Lillian met with the ENT doctor, visited with nurses to answer their questions, and provided a brief lecture about audiology for the interns at the hospital.
Both Kris and Lillian agreed that the trip was amazing and definitely something they will never forget. And if the smiles on the children’s faces are any indication, the trip was a success for everyone.
Learn more about Sound Seekers