This month audiologists emeritus professor Philip Newall, Cristy Newall and Suzi Marcos will fly to Samoa and they are looking for used hearing aids that are still in working order to take with them.
The three audiologists all work for Attune Audiology and Attune is supporting their trip in July by making all their clinics Australia wide collection points for working aids.
One of the clinics is at Shop 4, 64-68 Victoria Street, Victor Harbor. The clinic opened in April 2017 and already have some old hearing aids donated, which will be put to good use in Samoa.
Manager at Attune in Victor Harbor Joanne Gale said many hearing aids are often left in drawers.
“So what people are doing is bring their old hearing aids into us and we will re-program them and they will go to Samoa,” Joanne said.
This will be their 17th visit to Samoa to help with the program. The first visit was in September 2008 and there were no children fitted with hearing aids in Samoa.
Samoa has a population of around 180,000 people. Children with hearing loss are usually identified by parents, teachers and medical staff, as there are no audiologists on the islands. Local staff refer children aged between 10 months and 19 years.
The SENESE Resource Centre for Inclusive Education supports deaf students by supporting teachers and teachers’ aides in mainstream schools. Nineteen visits have been made by Australian teams to Samoa to fit donated hearing aids to children. This program was initiated after a request from Donna Lene, principal and teacher of the deaf at the SENESE Resource Centre in Samoa.
An example of the work by the SENESE team under Dona Lene was to identify as hearing impaired, a 13-year-old girl, who was in a school for intellectually disabled children.
The inappropriate placement was a result of her inability to acquire language and to follow simple instructions. She was taken to the SENESE Centre where she saw deaf children signing and realised that there were others like her.
She was tested and fitted with hearing aids. This was three years ago and on the group’s latest trip, she was traveling to a mainstream secondary school on the bus by herself, using her hearing aids.