Four hundred deaf and hard-of-hearing Jamaicans received hearing aids, courtesy of the Starkey Hearing Foundation. The global organisation committed to providing custom hearing aids to people in need, was on a special mission to Jamaica between June 11 and 12, 2018.
The mission, which was supported by Digicel Foundation, the Ministry of Health, Jamaica Association for the Deaf, The Council for Senior Citizens, Tastee, Wisynco, JPS Foundation, Chinese Benevolent Association, Bob Marley Foundation among others, saw the internationally based group providing hearing aids and training recipients how to use and care for the devices.
Regional Coordinator-Caribbean at the Starkey Foundation, Tamiann Young said, “Thanks to our partnerships here in Jamaica we were able to again fit Jamaicans who have hearing loss and are unable to afford hearing aids. The beauty of our model is the fact that these persons will receive batteries for their aids and access to monthly aftercare support for the devices they have received at no cost to them”.
The team from Starkey Hearing Foundation consisted of members from across the Caribbean region, the UK and the United States who participated in the mission at various stations where the patients were seen. These stations included, ear screenings, ear cleaning/ otoscopy, the Starkey W.F.A. ™ voice test, ear molds and fitting, counselling and their final stop for the day, final quality control.
“We are happy to have been supporting the Starkey Hearing Foundation from the inception of their work here in 2017, we commend them on this simple, scalable and sustainable W.F.A. Community based hearing healthcare program, model. The ability to provide hearing aids to those in need is truly admirable as these devices are generally quite pricy. They certainly do help the deaf and hearing impaired navigate society more easily if they choose to get one, so we were happy to provide support Starkey’s mission to Jamaica,” said Digicel Foundation CEO Karlene Dawson.
International Development Director-Caribbean Kirk Richards said, “The Starkey Hearing Foundation is happy to be back in Jamaica. With responsibility for the Caribbean it is quite heartwarming to see the similarities yet differences we all face but one thing holds true is the fact that we all want to communicate and want a fair chance at life. To see the outpouring of responses by persons who have hearing loss here in Jamaica and for those who want to be fit with a hearing aid, Starkey Hearing Foundation is happy to provide that opportunity along with our local partners. In the words of our founder Mr. William F. Austin, “Alone we can’t do much, together we can change the world!”
The team from Starkey fitted over 800 people last year during two visits in June and December and continue to train their volunteers and provide monthly aftercare free of cost to the patients who have been fit.
The Foundation was established in 1984 and continues their community-based programs in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Central America, Middle East, South East Asia and the Caribbean, with the aim to provide services at no cost to the beneficiaries and to promote healthy hearing healthcare worldwide.