Vincente

Guatemala

Vincente is a school teacher and father of four.

When he heard about a hearing clinic being held at a school near Panajachel, Guatemala, he left his home without telling his family. Vincente had difficulty hearing what he called the “small voices,” which were his students. Vincente had a moderate hearing loss, which made his job as a teacher very hard. Vincente says, “not being able to hear is like being dead.” After getting fit with a hearing aid, Vincente broke into tears knowing his world had changed. He would now be able to hear his students. He would now be able to hear his friends. Most importantly, he now would be able to hear his wife and four daughters. Vincente said he was going to surprise his daughters when he got home, and he believed they would say “we have a new Vincente now.”

Isabel

Mozambique

How far would you travel to hear again? Just ask Isabel.

She had difficulty hearing in school. At one point, when she was in middle school, a friend surprised Isabel and took her to a clinic where she heard they might be able to help. Isabel was able to get a hearing aid. One of the most difficult things for someone who has hearing loss is to regain some of that ability, only then to lose it again. Isabel’s hearing aid stopped working and she could not get it fixed. She had no access to any hearing healthcare at that point, and was thrown back into a world of silence. Now in her early twenties, Isabel’s sister heard about “Hearing the Call” in the media. They were over 1,300 miles away from the capital city of Maputo. So, Isabel and her sister traveled for four days on buses to get to the clinic. The clinic was already so over-whelmed with patients that they had shut the doors, but when one volunteer heard about Isabel’s journey, they opened for her. Isabel was so grateful, she could not stop sharing how this would change her life. In addition to her new hearing devices, she now has a clinic to contact if something goes wrong. Now she’ll never lose what she has gained.

Hesham

Jordan

Hesham is a gentleman who came to the Hearing the Call Art Initiative room while waiting to be called in for treatment at Souriyat Across Borders in Jordan for hearing loss. He took a paper and pen and moved to the back of the room. Later, he came to share his artwork and told us his story. His drawing showed his wife, daughter, and son being killed by terrorists. He is the only one left in his family and escaped to Jordan.

Although in tears when relating his story, he left that day with new hearing aids and a “thumbs up” for the volunteers. Sometimes the artwork helps connect the audiologists with the stories of the patients they are helping. Patricia, the audiologist who fit Hesham with hearing devices was very moved by his strength of character but didn’t know his story until she saw the artwork later.

Byron

Ecuador

It was easy to see that Byron was shy and withdrawn when he first arrived at the clinic. He would hide his face when people looked at him. His father had been taking the 15-year-old to a psychiatrist for his “misbehavior” and telling people he was “crazy.” Finally, his family learned Byron suffered from a profound hearing loss. At a clinic in Manta, Bryon received two hearing aids. Within a few minutes, Byron’s demeanor completely changed, and he was smiling and talkative. His mother began to cry and said she was extremely happy. His parents say Byron’s future is now greatly improved. Byron says he is looking forward to doing better in school and listening to rap music.

“Byron’s future is now greatly improved!” – Byron’s mother, through tears of joy, after her child was fit with two hearing devices

Bilal

United States

“Papa” was the first word to come out of Bilal’s mouth on that momentous day in 2018. Few thought the 11-year-old Afghan refugee would ever speak, but with a team of audiologists working through Pacific Hearing Connection in Menlo Park, California, advocating for him, he started uttering sounds.
His father cried, and the audiologists got emotional too, knowing what a confluence of unusual circumstances led to this miraculous moment for a boy who has suffered from severe hearing loss since he was a baby. Due to his lack of hearing, Bilal never went to school in Afghanistan, and communicated with his parents and three younger sisters by making up his own sign language.

The family resettled in Sacramento in 2017. The Pacific Hearing Connection team spent several hours testing Bilal to see if hearing aids would be a suitable solution and helped him get fitted for them. He returned a few weeks later wearing his new hearing aids, and after two more hours of free follow-up testing, evaluating, and coaxing, Bilal also said “mama,” “up,” and “bye.” His father expressed thanks for the breakthrough through his tears.

Click here to read the full news article about Bilal and his family.

Mosets

South Africa

She’s a little girl with a big name, Mosetsanagape Seakamela. Like many children with a hearing impairment, Mosets was struggling in school. She couldn’t hear the teacher clearly. She couldn’t separate the teacher’s voice from other class noise. Mosets attends the Kanana Primary School in Tembisa township outside of Johannesburg.  With over 2,400 kids in the school, it is difficult for teachers to concentrate on one student having a problem. During the testing of more than 1,200 kids in three days, Mosets problem was identified and she was fit with hearing aids. She was all smiles and laughter, realizing she could hear so much more. Her mother was thankful because she says now her daughter has a chance to learn and grow.