Open Ears is following a group of Sonova team members as they head to Armenia with theHear The World Foundation. Nazan Yakar and Christiane Schubert, who volunteered for the project, are both Audiologists with Phonak Germany. This is their account of the Hear Armenia 2015 project visit.
Our journey to Armenia began in May 2015, when Nazan and I first talked with the Hear the World Foundation staff about the option to volunteer for a project. Although there was no clear opportunity at the time, just a few weeks later we were lucky enough to be presented with a chance to support the Hear the World project in Armenia. We decided very quickly to accept the offer, as we’re excited about the opportunities to gain practical experiences in the pediatric field, aside from our daily business.
Slowly, we started to learn more about our tasks and about the Hear the World program in Armenia. We had several calls with former volunteers and staff who visited the Arabkir Hospital, where we would work. Together we brainstormed we would support the hospital best this year.
Before we left, Nazan and I collected several items from our pediatric products to bring along, such as Leo plush toys and books, Junior kit clips, cleaning tools and battery testers. Hear the World Foundation, as part of their yearly grant, also provided a variety of hearing instruments and Roger devices.
In a few months, we were ready to split the supplies, pack up our bags and head to Armenia!
Open Ears is following a group of Sonova team members as they head to Armenia with the Hear The World Foundation. Elena Torresani leads the department of the Hear the World Foundation. She is passionate about her job, is creative and enthusiastic. Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, travelling, doing yoga and spending time with her loved ones.
Every year, about 665,000 babies around the world are born with significant hearing loss. This is a statistic that, as a foundation, empowers us to help make a difference in these children’s lives.
Since 2010, The Hear the World Foundation has been supporting the Arabkir Hospital in Yerevan to develop a newborn hearing screening program. Since then, the program has expanded to five additional provinces of Armenia. Now, all infants born at these locations receive a newborn hearing screenings 48 hours after birth!
We saw firsthand the success of this program during our visit to the Institute of Perinatology on Thursday, where we watched baby Haik have an Otoacoustic emissions (OAE) test, which can detect blockage in the outer ear canal, as well as the presence of middle ear fluid and damage to the outer hair cells in the cochlea.
After a successful trip to Haiti to provide support to children who have hearing loss, Hear The World Foundation has head to Armenia. Open Ears is following the group of Sonova team members on their journey. As Head of the Hear the World initiative, Elena Torresani leads the department of the Hear the World Foundation. She is passionate about her job and is creative and enthusiastic. Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, travelling, yoga and spending time with her loved ones.
We’ve spent most of the time here in Armenia fitting children with new hearing aids, adjusting their hearing aids, preforming Visual Reinforcement Audiometry tests and doing newborn hearing screenings. It has been amazing watching the children react to new sounds and see how well they’ve adjusted to their hearing aids since the last time we were here.
One boy, named Daniel, was first fit for hearing aids when he was just eight months old. It took him one month until he reacted to his name, and now he is alert, attentive, clever and asking a lot of questions!
Another little girl Ruzana, was first had an Auditory Brainstem Response test, which was donated by Hear the World for use by the Arabkir Hospital, when she was a baby. Since her diagnosis of severe to profound hearing loss, she has received hearing aids, and now at four-and-a-half years old, she speaks well, and is doing great at school, with help from her FM system.
Aside from helping these children hear the world, we’ve also been able to provide them with a special gift, thanks to the support of Phonak team members back in Switzerland and Germany!
After a successful trip to Haiti to provide support to children who have hearing loss, Hear The World Foundation is heading to Armenia. Open Ears will be following the group of Sonova team members on their journey. As Head of the Hear the World initiative, Elena Torresani leads the department of the Hear the World Foundation. She is passionate about her job and is creative and enthusiastic. Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, travelling, yoga and spending time with her loved ones.
Armenia is a country with a great need for action and support of its health industry.
In December 1988, two earthquakes – measuring at 6.9 and 5.8 in magnitude – hit Armenia, killing up to 50,000 people and destroying nearly half a million buildings. Weakened by the earthquake, and the demise of the Soviet Union, Armenia’s economy broke down. The country began gaining some momentum in the late ‘90s when market reform was introduced, but the industrial sector continued to suffer. Ten years later, the 2008 financial crisis put the country again in jeopardy, destroying the positive developments made after the earthquakes. Today, 20 percent of Armenians live on less than $2 a day. Their access to healthcare is a question of money, as approximately 60 percent of healthcare costs are paid for by the patient out-of-pocket. The state spends less than 2 percent of gross domestic product on healthcare for the population, and hospitals often don’t have the necessary equipment or well-trained medical personnel.