One of the most rewarding aspects of my career in audiology has been the privilege to participate in humanitarian audiology missions. To see kids’ faces light up when they are hearing for the first time is priceless. I believe that we have also served as ambassadors for the United States when participating in foreign missions. We are able to interact with and show people from other countries American’s true giving spirit. While governments may interact with each other, on these missions we are helping people individually, one at a time.
I have been lucky enough to participate in five missions to Trinidad and Tobago, once to Nicaragua, three times to Appalachia in Eastern Kentucky and ten trips to Guatemala. In all, our teams have fit over 7000 donated hearing aids. We also maintain a hearing aid bank at my office in order to help locals that are less fortunate. I would encourage all audiologists to seek a way to participate in a charitable project. It can be as simple as starting a hearing aid bank at your office, or as ambitious as collaborating with an international colleague, seeking corporate sponsorship and pulling together a really big project. Sure, there is plenty of reward and satisfaction every day in our offices when we help someone hear better. It just seems special when we can help someone hear that otherwise would have no chance.