Thursday, April 18, 2013

Haiti Happenings, Part 4 - HEARS for YEARS!

Sonya visiting with the kids
It was such a joy to visit St. Vincent’s last week. As soon as the kids saw us on campus, we savored hug after hug, kiss after kiss, and greetings in sign, Kreyol, English and French. After more than 2 years of work at St. Vincent’s, we can’t begin to express how wonderful it is that we now know these children so well that all of our faces light up when we see one another. We wouldn’t exchange those moments for the world! 
Danika and Sandee, 2 deaf students
Students donned new (to us) school uniforms, the latest trend in hair braids and proudly showed off their new digital hearing aids! Thanks to our partnership with Team Canada Healing Hands, many more students are reaping the benefits of better hearing. 
Little gifts of love
To date, The Red Thread Promise has purchased $21,000 worth of brand new digital hearing aids for hearing impaired students at St. Vincent’s. Team Canada purchases the aids at a deep discount and brings teams of audiologists to test the children in Haiti. Much like eye tests for prescription glasses, these specialized tests—performed in a sound-proof booth—help audiologists determine the exact type of hearing loss (i.e. high pitch vs. low pitch) for each individual child.
Kathy preparing for hearing testing in the sound-proof booth
Team Canada's Krystelle performing the testing
Learning about the inner ear
Following testing, if it has been determined that hearing aids will help the child, molds are made of their ear(s) for a custom fit. St. Vincent’s staff is working directly with the audiologists to learn the process of mold making, practicing every step of the way under the tutelage of Team Canada’s professionals. After the molds have set, the hearing aids are programmed specifically for each child’s individual hearing loss. The aids wrap around the ear and are fed through the mold directly into the ear. 
St. Vincent's staff taking a mold of a student's ear 
In the past, the children have received analog aids, which act simply as a volume amplifier, increasing all sounds like a remote control on a TV. Digital hearing aids will better serve the children’s individual needs. Each is customized to amplify only what needs to be amplified, maximizing the benefit of the hearing aid for each child. And, if treated with care, they should last 5 or more years!
Following hearing testing and fitting, ready to go back to class
Our goal is to ensure that EVERY hearing impaired student at St. Vincent’s receives aids as necessary. With new students coming through their gates on a regular basis, the need continues. Your support helps us realize this dream and for this we thank you! 

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