Hearing Care Beyond Borders: Expanding Our Reach Through Partnerships

Jun 28, 2022 | Global Hearing Health, House Institute Foundation

Photo courtesy of WizEar Foundation, Harare, Zimbabwe.

“Giving feels good!” Director of Development, Audrey Salzburg’s assertion permeates our philanthropic approach and is reflected in our everyday communication with donors. We look to invest our supporters’ gifts into opportunities that align with their passions and interests. Between our fully-fledged programs and nascent projects, we have a diversity of offerings all in pursuit of the mission, “so all may hear.”

Case in point, former House Clinic patient Sandra Grady, called us in late 2021 and, through our conversation, we identified a meaningful and impactful match for her giving. She shared her humanitarian vision and entrusted us to help materialize it. Sandra seeks to make a long-lasting difference by partnering with us and our international affiliates to fund hearing aids for pediatric patients in Zimbabwe.

Sandra’s heart for children with hearing loss stems from her own experience. Indeed, care and interventions that enable children to progress through their education and embrace life’s milestone with improved hearing is something she learned to manage without for many years. “We all have an important story to tell,” she begins. “I hope that this snippet of my life will be beneficial to someone else.” 

 

When I was in kindergarten, my teacher recognized that some of the students sitting in the back were having difficulty hearing. So, she invited us to move to the front. I was so appreciative of her cognizance and sensitivity. But soon after came new teachers and their seating charts with no expressed concern about hearing ability. Not wanting to stand out and be stigmatized, I said nothing.
My secondary years would continue this way. When talking to classmates, I would use creative ways to get recaps of what I missed. Looking back, it was quite an accomplishment to graduate and be accepted into college considering that I had not heard much of what was being taught.
College was even more challenging as my otosclerosis became increasingly pronounced. I struggled to get to my classes early to sit in the front, which unfortunately was not possible in many cases. Having to work full-time and depending on the bus for transportation, I persevered and graduated with a good grade point average.
Finally, at the age of 36, I started wearing a hearing aid. It has allowed me to lead a much more fulfilling life.
I am now on a mission to help provide hearing aids to children in Zimbabwe, so they can get an education and lead productive lives.
– Sandra Grady

When ideas, generosity, and the capacity to execute collide, hope and solutions emerge to fill gaps in hearing health. By collaborating with committed international partners such as those in Harare, Zimbabwe, far more is accomplished than anything we could do alone, and we can be confident that the delivery of care is predicated on local needs and cultural understanding. 

Hearing loss is common in school-aged children in rural parts of Zimbabwe. According to a study that examined over 450 children ages 4-13 in a rural Zimbabwean province, 10.6% had hearing losses of greater than 25 dB. Worldwide, 30 million children suffer from disabling hearing loss, which is defined as a loss greater than 30 dB in the better hearing ear in children 0-14 years.*

Play a role in the future of millions of children with hearing and neurological disorders by supporting global hearing health for underserved populations worldwide.

*C.K. Pedersen, P. Zimani, M. Frendø, N.J. Spindler, C. Chidziva, C. Von Buchwald, R.G. Jensen. Prevalence and causes of paediatric hearing loss in a rural province in Zimbabwe: A cross-sectional study. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology., 154 (2022)