Sound Seekers helps adults and children with hearing loss in developing countries.
Registered Charity Number: 1013870
Why are we here?
We all know that hearing well makes a huge difference to connecting and communicating, education and employment. Someone with hearing loss can become isolated very quickly from friends, family and colleagues when conversation loses its natural flow and understanding, or canít be heard at all. Itís easy to see why this can have a devastating effect on learning in school and holding down a job. This is even worse in developing countries, for lots of reasons. Things that cause deafness in Africa just donít happen so much here. Glue ear, or an agonising ear infection destroying a childís hearing because parents canít afford an antibiotics prescription. Treatment for TB and malaria that save lives but can cause deafness. Mumps, measles and meningitis damaging the inner ear. Untreated hardened wax creating a wall of silence, because no-one knew how to soften and remove it. Preventable illnesses among pregnant women, damaging a babyís hearing before they are even born.
And thereís only limited help when it happens. In the UK, free hearing care is probably the best in the world, and people can get expert help very quickly. In Sierra Leone, there are no ENT doctors or audiologists working in the public health system. In Malawi, there is one ENT doctor for the whole country; in Zambia, one audiologist. So too often, no-one spots or treats hearing problems. No hearing aids, no antibiotics, no-one to remove a bead or an insect stuck inside a childís ear, no-one to soften and remove impacted wax. Hearing impaired people who could function very well in the UK just canít, because they don't have access to audiology services and hearing aids.
What are Sound Seekers doing about it?
Sound Seekers favours cross-country running over sprinting. We partner with major hospitals in our seven project countries to establish audiology services. That means we support hospital staff to be trained in basic audiology then provide them with the kit they need to assist people with hearing impairment, including fitting hearing aids. We organise volunteer placements for UK audiologists to visit and support the African staff running these services, to ensure that their skills are maintained and upgraded. We are also piloting ways to identify particularly at-risk children early, so that they can be treated as soon as possible.
We are building long-term capacity in Africa, providing skills so that African medical staff can treat African people, reducing dependency on the developed world. And we would like to do more, particularly on education of deaf children, and investing in prevention and ear care so that people donít lose their hearing in the first place. You can follow us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/soundseekersorg or read more about us on our website, www.sound-seekers.org.uk
UCL Ear Institute
332-336 Gray'S Inn Road
Phone: 020 7833 0035
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