Hearing loss is prevalent in the Middle East. In fact, one out of every 25 people has some degree of hearing loss. Audiology Worldnews reported that in a survey of 140 experts in ENT clinics across the region, 87 percent cited hearing loss as one of the top five pervasive conditions in the region.
In April, the Oticon Hearing Foundation provided 100 Oticon hearing instruments for a humanitarian mission conducted by the Entheos Audiologist Cooperative to help provide the gift of hearing to in-need communities in Jordan. While Jordan is known for its modernized healthcare system, its geographical location makes it an important gateway for many refugees from neighboring countries and access to hearing healthcare services are not always readily available to adults and children in remote areas.
The audiologists and volunteers traveled to three locations in Jordan, spending their first two clinic days in Irbid, followed by the Queen Alia Foundation for Hearing & Speech in Amman, and Zaatari, the second largest refugee camp in the world.
Here are their stories.
Moutasem Mohammad Awer, age 10
Moutasem began to lose his hearing after a bomb hit his family home when he was three years old. Luckily, all his family members survived the blast, but his hearing loss is now at a severe level.
When Moutasem arrived at the clinic he had ear pain in his left ear and drainage issues. The hearing device he had previously worn was lost a year ago, so he had not been able to keep up with his education. Moutasem was fit with two Oticon Sensei SP Pro hearing devices that will allow him to better communicate and keep up with his friends at school.
Marah Neameh, age 7
The Entheos team first worked with Marah in the Spring of 2017 when she was fit with two Oticon hearing aids. Marah was five years old at the onset of her hearing loss due to an unidentified illness. She has loved her new devices, but unfortunately couldn’t get them maintained or repaired regularly, and so hasn’t had consistent hearing the past few months. When she arrived in Irbid on the team’s second clinic day, her audiogram showed moderate hearing loss in her right ear and profound hearing loss in her left. She was fit with an Oticon Sensei Pro BTE 90 on her right ear and was excited to hear her father again clearly.
Marah is a wonderful demonstration of the importance of returning to the same areas, as organizations like Entheos continue to support local services so children like her can continue to hear and thrive. Below is a video of her fitting and reaction to better hearing.
Zaid Yousef Mohammad Daja, age 4
Zaid is four years old and has severe hearing loss in both ears. Although he did not speak yet, during registration and throughout the day this didn’t stop him from vocalizing to everyone at the clinic. He had a voice and wanted to use it. The reason for Zaid’s hearing loss is unclear. After removing wax from Zaid’s left ear, he was tested and determined to be “aidable” in both ears.
Zaid was fit with two Oticon Ria 2 BTE 100 hearing devices and music was turned on behind him. His eyes lit up and he began to bob his head in time with the music and clapping.
Muna Saleh, age 15
Muna’s hearing loss was recognized at six months old. Although Muna already had hearing devices, the Entheos team was able to check her ears, molds, and aids to ensure all was well. Even when new hearing devices are not needed, follow-up and maintenance is important to this humanitarian work.
Sara Ismall Zada, age 11
Sara has had profound hearing loss since birth. She is in third grade and came to the clinic with existing hearing devices, including an Oticon INO Pro-Works, that needed new tubing. The Entheos team was able to replace the tubing, and reprogram her devices. Now, she won’t miss out on the world around her and will continue to thrive in school.
Ola Jasem Alhamedi, age 10
Ola has had recognized hearing loss since she was eight months old. In order to help her hear, her family had to borrow hearing devices from a neighbor. Unfortunately, the neighbor needed them back three months ago and Ola hasn’t had hearing since then.
Testing showed a moderate loss in her right ear and a severe loss in her left. She was fit with two Oticon Sensei SP devices. What amazed the team most was that even with hearing loss and only borrowed devices, Ola is in 5th grade, has kept up with her studies and hasn’t let hearing loss stop her.
The work of the audiologists and volunteers transcends borders, religions and cultures. If you are interested in donating your gently used Oticon hearing device(s) to support hearing care professionals in their humanitarian endeavors, learn more about our recycling program. Donated hearing devices will be reconditioned to support international hearing missions around the world like this one.