“Education is not the filling of a bucket but the lighting of a fire.” – William Butler Yeats

The highlight of my week was a special all-Vietnamese volunteer audiology “mission” to Vung Tau, Vietnam.  I  was invited to join ten Vietnamese audiology technicians who we have trained in the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss audiology program in this effort.

We have been training these audiology technicians for the past year on how to program hearing aids and verify optimal fit of the hearing aids on children. The Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss invested in Audioscan equipment for these technicians.  Verifying fit of hearing aids is standard practice of care in pediatric audiology but not widely administered in Vietnam due to cost of equipment and limited technical knowledge.

The technicians in our audiology program took initiative to start this volunteer effort where they will travel to various schools and centers throughout the South over the next year or so to test the children and check the fit of their hearing aids using their Audioscan machines.

The group invited me to join them on their first “mission” yesterday. They coordinated the whole experience, assigning each other things to do ranging from bringing equipment to coordinating the list of children to arranging the food. We left at 6 am and drove to Vung Tau where we spent a whole day with the children returning back home well into the evening.

In the course of the day, the Vietnamese technicians worked with 11 children and fit hearing aids provided by the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss on three of them. Two of the children were from low-income families who were so grateful to have the hearing aids they otherwise would not be able to afford. The other child who received a pair of hearing aids has a moderate hearing loss. She is without parents and living in an orphanage.  All of these children are supported by an early intervention center in Vung Tau with teachers we have trained through our program which will ensure they can benefit fully from the hearing aids to develop language.

This Vietnamese initiative will continue in the months to come. We are so appreciative of their efforts to promote the teachings of the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss not only in their own work but also to spread the benefits of their new knowledge through volunteer efforts such as these. Well done!