Patients Arrive!

We arrived in Parintins late Sunday night. Parintins is on the Amazon River on the island of Tupinambarana. Despite the geographic remoteness of the area, Parintins is a region of over 100,000 people.  Its claim to fame is an annual folklore event: ‘Festival do Boi-Bumba’. Second only to Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, the festival has nearly a 100 year history. All residents of the town take “sides” (the Blue Caprichoso team or the Red Garantido Team) and the ‘competition’ takes place over a three day festival of dance, music and fun…..but more on that later.

Viva o Som clinic is an outreach project funded by Telex/Oticon Brazil with a mission to provide audiologic services to the residents of Parintins and outlying areas.  Libbey, Livia (the audiologist from Sao Paolo) and I worked alongside Pedro – the permanent, full time audiologist here. This week is “Hearing Care Week” and they are reaching out to the community to educate about hearing loss so the clinic has a very busy schedule. We saw patients for hearing evaluations, hearing aid fitting or hearing aid trouble-shooting.  This clinic has made the commitment to provide hearing aids to anyone that needs them.  Because people may come from very far away, appointments are not confined to a set time; rather patients are seen as long as needed to obtain the most complete results and to get the most done. It is a good thing that I don’t wear a watch…… All patients are required to be seen by a physician so any person with a newly identified hearing loss must see a physician before getting hearing aids.  And as I mentioned before, since people travel such great distances for every appointment, we want to make the most of each. So if they need a new earmold that day, we make it then and there……


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