Open Ears is following a group of Sonova team members as they head to Haiti with the Hear The World Foundation. Jason Norby is a Principal Clinical Specialist at Advanced Bionics LLC. He enjoys sarcasm and long walks in the park. His favorite dogs are puppies, and his favorite color is light tan.
It’s the end of a long work week. I could feel it in the part of my brain that logs hours slept versus hours awake and energy expended. The summary: not enough sleep to offset the hours awake and energy consumed. It’s been a long week. But you know the feeling when something was mentally and physically taxing, yet the intrinsic reward was worth the cost? It was that kind of week and very worthwhile.
The day started with a trip to a school atop a Caribbean mountain to fit three children with hearing aids. The school sat overlooking the coast and green hills nearby. We made this trip to the school earlier this week. The drive earlier this week up the rutted dirt road was epic with bouncing and jostling for several minutes, and the occasional sound of wheels loudly rebelling as they tried to gain traction. The small four-cylinder engine strained in rebellion to the load and incline. Today however, the dark clouds more than hinted of rain.
Open Ears is following a group of Sonova team members as they head to Haiti with the Hear The World Foundation. Michael Lumunsad is a Strategic Marketer at Advanced Bionics LLC.
“I hope this van makes it up the hill,” Mohamed Khaldi excitedly said as our van went uphill on the extremely steep dirt road. Personally, I didn’t think the van would make it up with all our gear and passengers, but it proved me wrong. Who needs a 4X4 when you have a little Toyota HiAce with a faulty A/C system?
We finally arrived to the top of the hill. Wow! The school had a stunning view of the both the ocean and nearby forest covered rolling hills. The kids at this school were very lucky to be enrolled there. The school focused on encouraging, educating and empowering restaveks, orphans, and vulnerable children. Another organization was doing great things in Haiti. It was amazing. Continue reading “Hear Haiti: It Takes A Team”
Open Ears is following a group of Sonova team members as they head to Haiti with the Hear The World Foundation. Michael Lumunsad is a Strategic Marketer at Advanced Bionics LLC. He enjoys talking about the most random topics with his AB coworkers, Brendan, Jiselle, and Jessica.
Written on the sign was “12 JANVYE 2010 – AYITI PAP BLIYE” which means, “12 January 2010 – Haiti Will Not Forget”.
As we passed the 2010 earthquake memorial, we were reminded of why our Hear the World team and many other humanitarian teams were in Haiti. We came to help the people who were victims of the tremendous tragedy. Three million people were affected and more than 250,000 people died. The new memorial was built on the mass grave of these people and it’s supposed to remind the world of how many innocent lives were lost in this wonderful country.
Our two vans made the hour drive to a coastal school near Port-au-Prince. We were greeted by energetic and laughing children who wanted hugs from each and every one of us. These kids and their families were the survivors of the earthquake and they will be the future of the country. Continue reading “Hear Haiti: The Future of Haiti”
Open Ears is following a group of Sonova team members as they head to Haiti with the Hear The World Foundation. Haley B. Kurzawa is a Hearing Instrument Specialist at Connect Hearing USA. She is originally from Chicago and moved to Austin, Texas last year.
Hearing the rooster crow was such an unusual sound for a Chicago girl. I woke up to the beautiful sunshine, feeling surprisingly rested after a long day of travel. I was very eager to start the day with my awesome team.
“Breakfast is at 8 AM. Be ready to leave for Cite Soleil after eating,” said Cathy Jones.
I prepared for a day of many detours and potentially unplanned activities. I got excited for the busy day ahead. We planned to visit a school in Cite Soleil, the skilled artisans of the Metal Works community, and the non-profit Apparent Project.
We were all excited to get to see the Port-au-Prince that’s not shown on mainstream news. We piled into two vans and headed on our way.
“The roads in Haiti have potholes just as big as Chicago,” I excitedly exclaimed. I realized driving in Haiti wasn’t like driving in the USA. There are huge pot holes, lack of asphalt, no visible lanes, no traffic lights, and lots of pedestrians. People either walk, ride motorcycles, or take “tap-tap” which are colorful trucks. Think of vibrant Uber rides. Continue reading “Hear Haiti: a vibrant start”
On this late Saturday evening driving to LAX, I wonder to myself, “Am I ready for this trip?”
I visualize the things that I am supposed to pack for the Hear the World volunteering mission trip to Haiti. I look at my crumpled checklist while having this bad feeling that I’ve forgotten something. I hate being unprepared. Did I miss something from the emails sent to me by Hear Haiti leader, Cathy Jones? I hope not.
My mind wanders as the freeway lights pass overhead. I’ve read so many news articles about what’s gone wrong in the country. A 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Thousands dead and millions displaced. Political instability. Zika virus. Haiti in crisis.
In this Open Ears segment we’ll be following a group of Sonova team members as they head to Haiti with the Hear The World Foundation. Michael Lumunsad, a Strategic Marketer who works at Advanced Bionics, will be reporting from Haiti.
I, probably like many of you, still remember when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti more than six years ago. The January 12, 2010 catastrophe killed more than two hundred thousand people and displaced millions more. In those six years, a lot of foreign aid and relief efforts have been poured into the island to help rebuild the devastated Caribbean country, including the Hear the World Foundation, which started HEAR HAITI in 2013.
On Sunday, I’ll be joining 11 other Sonova Group employees on the fourth Hear the World volunteering trip to Leveque, Haiti. Our team will be providing patient care, hearing aid fitting, and caregiver education to many deaf children and adults living in Leveque, especially those children orphaned by the 2010 tragedy.
I will lead the documentation efforts during the trip, including sharing our experiences on social media. Others will have jobs covering administration and organization tasks, diagnostics, fitting, auditory verbal therapy, and communications.
Everyone on the team is excited to volunteer in Haiti and give back to the community in need.
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!
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.
I joined this Hear the World mission as part of the diagnostic audiology team. Although the daily profession is second-nature to us back in the States, here in Haiti we are learning the true significance of our role. The medical professional aspect of hearing impairment and thinking about it as a “job” seems less important here in Haiti, and it has become an expression of love towards the patients–responding to their needs from our hearts.