The Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss stresses the importance of cross-functional collaboration across ENT, audiology, and education for positive outcomes in children with hearing loss. Such cross-functional teams leverage the expertise of each professional member to provide more consistent communication, smoother alignment, and better support for families of children with hearing loss. 

This week, our Summer Training Program in Vietnam got underway with a short workshop focused on this topic for teachers, therapists, and audiology technicians. In addition to group lectures, there were small breakouts for each functional area to build their respective levels of understanding of audiology and speech and language.

During the last two days of the workshop, the approximately 50 participants were divided into three groups to work together to assess six children with hearing loss who were invited in to join this program. A few years ago, some members of the Global Foundation team worked with the Vietnamese teachers and therapists to adapt existing English-based language resources to Vietnamese norms to create the Global Foundation Development Charts. These charts delineate the first 6 years of child development in core areas.  It is a road map of sorts to help teachers, therapists, and families determine where a Vietnamese child with hearing loss is in their development and identify strategies to help them overcome delays.  

Using these charts, the teachers prepared case history information for the 6 children with hearing loss who joined us this week.  On Thursday and Friday, the teachers, therapists, and audiology technicians reviewed together the case histories and audiograms of each child. Then, the children were brought in for additional audiology testing and assessment. At the conclusion of the day, we regrouped to discuss their findings.  This exercise was extremely valuable to the learning process. The teachers and therapists have a better understanding of what the technicians do and the technicians have more clarity around what information the teachers need and why. There is now more synergy across both groups to collaborate more closely together to best serve the children moving forward.  

The Global Foundation audiologists also engaged with the Vietnamese this week to further progress to develop a Vietnamese language speech perception test for young children with hearing loss. A speech perception test enables professionals to gauge a child’s ability to hear speech sounds and to adjust hearing aids and cochlear implants as n

ecessary to achieve the best outcomes in their language development.  The teachers, therapists, and technicians are enthusiastic about such a tool and are helping to bring it to reality. 

This highly successful week was another example of the Global Foundation’s approach. Not only are our Global Foundation team members sharing their technical expertise, but they are also collaborating with the Vietnamese to help improve processes and tools. The result is long-term benefit to the overall system of support for children with hearing loss and their families.