"THE CHILDREN WERE SO EXCITED TO SEE US, AND WHEN THEY WERE GIVEN THEIR HEARING AIDS THEY JUST LIT UP. THEY KEPT WANTING US TO PUT THEM IN THEIR EARS OVER AND OVER AGAIN."
— Karyn Storey
They’ve gone eight times before, but this year was unique. Instead of just conducting the usual hearing assessments, otoscopy, and cerumen management in various community clinics and schools, this year 14 Utah State University doctor of audiology students and faculty members also joined forces with their counterparts from the University of Ghana.
Part of an ongoing effort by USU Professor John Ribera to establish the field of audiology in Ghana — where there are only five working audiologists in the entire country, but now 10 more students ready to graduate by 2014 — the team in May provided hearing care in Abomosu, Cape Coast, Accra and Korle Bu. Some 180 Ghanaians received hearing aids, and 500 more ear impressions were taken for future placements.
“The children were so excited to see us,” said USU’s Karyn Storey, “and when they were given their hearing aids they just lit up. They kept wanting us to put them in their ears over and over again.”
USU student Melanie Hill said, “I loved having the opportunity to work so closely with the students from the University of Ghana. They are the pioneers of audiology in Ghana, and are so well equipped to deal with the challenges they will face in establishing the practice of audiology in western Africa. They are brilliant and motivated, and it was a real honor to work alongside them for two weeks.”
“A once-in-a-lifetime cultural experience,” said USU student Whitney Olsen.
Knowledge gained? Still measuring. Smiles created? Who knows? Sharing your skillset with new friends across the globe who have never seen the type of equipment you take for granted and blessing individual lives along the way? Well, that’s just an Aggie thing. Wow.
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USU's Suzy Reed cleans the ears of a patient at a school for the deaf in Ghana.
Photo courtesy of Utah State University Student Academy of Audiology.