Denise McLeod has been an audiologist for many years, and while in Fiji during Project H.E.A.V.E.N., led a team of 15 to 20 people to remote villages where they identified and tested people with hearing challenges that could be solved with hearing aids.
As she recalls, “There was something magical about that trip. When you marry people with skills and people with challenges, and you can address those needs, it’s a smooth joyous occasion from both sides.”
When reflecting on her days spent in Fiji, Denise recalled a particularly unique relationship between patient and audiologist, “There were two women who were audiologists and another woman who was the patient. When she came in to receive her hearing test she was nervous, but they put her at ease. And after a while, the patient started to rely on them for emotional support. What happened was amazing. A unique bond was formed during this testing phase and these audiologists stayed with her through the entire process. They wanted to see her through the end. There were tears when she finally was fitted as she couldn’t believe she could hear.”
“I grew up in a third world country. This trip solidifies the fact that the need is very real and it’s deep and it’s wide. We can’t solve all the worlds hearing needs, but we can help one patient at a time.”