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Audiology students reach out to underserved communities

Rebecca Gebremichael, a third-year audiology student, recently went on a mission trip Oct. 28-Nov. 2 with Healing the Children (Philadelphia chapter), a national organization with international partners dedicated to providing medical care to children in need. The team, led by Glenn Isaacson, MD, a pediatric otolaryngologist, cared for 250 children in need at the CURE Hospital and Makanissa School for the Deaf in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Gebremichael was born and raised in Ethiopia until she was 13 years old, then moved to the US. “Being fluent in the primary language (Amharic), I was able to better bridge the communication barrier,” said Gabremichael. “There is a great need for audiology services in Ethiopia since there are a significant number of children with hearing loss and no audiologists.” Services included diagnostic testing, audiology examination of children, and repairing and dispensing of donated hearing aids.

Mia Pozzanghera, also a third-year audiology student participated in a mission trip to Guaymas, Mexico Oct. 17-20. Since 1992, the Mesa Baseline Rotary Club of Mesa, Ariz. has sponsored a team of audiologists and doctors that conduct a medical mission trip to help the people of Guaymas and others from the State of Sonora with their hearing problems. Although the city has approximately 225,000 citizens, there are no audiologists or hearing aid dispensers in Guaymas.

All patients are given a medical examination by volunteer doctors or local physicians, a hearing test by audiologists, and, if needed, are fitted with custom-made temporary silicone earmolds and hearing aids. Those already having hearing aids have those aids inspected, cleaned and fixed or adjusted as needed.

“I decided to go on this trip because I wanted to get involved in something outside of our local community,” said Pozzanghera. “I have done hearing screenings around the Phoenix area but this opportunity offered so much more. It was great to be able to help more than 200 children that we saw on this mission trip.”

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