Fundación Pro-Integración (FUNPROI)
Providing audiological care for children in low-income countries is a focal area of the Hear the World Foundation’s activities.
Children with undiagnosed hearing loss have very limited future prospects. This is because children who cannot hear very well have difficulty learning to speak, which restricts their chances of receiving an education and developing at an appropriate rate for their age. To improve the situation for children with hearing loss we use the following approaches:
A better quality of life and less isolation – this was the goal set out by the Fundación Pro-Integración (FUNPROI) about 20 years ago when it was first established in Panama City. The foundation supports people with hearing loss and motor disabilities.
Hearing screenings for children are mandatory in Panama, but counseling is not available once the hearing loss has been diagnosed. As far as Virginia de Alvarado is concerned, the support they provide should above all be sustainable: “People who contact us should be given long-term help.” In addition to providing audiological and therapeutic assistance, this involves monitoring progress and keeping accurate records..
As part of a pilot project in collaboration with the Hear the World Foundation, 30 children from disadvantaged backgrounds have been provided with digital hearing aids. The outstanding hearing quality offered by these devices has led to clearly noticeable improvements in the children’s speech and learning behavior.
The earlier that hearing loss is discovered and treated, the higher the chance of normal development at a rate appropriate for their age
Providing children with appropriately fitted hearing aids is especially important
Along with continuous care and additional speech therapy
At FUNPROI the children learn to speak in a playful way
Because the better the children can speak, the higher their chances of successfully completing their school education
The outstanding quality offered by the donated devices has led to clearly noticeable improvements in the children’s speech and learning behavior
Christiane Vana, employee of Phonak in São Paulo, had no hesitation in seizing the opportunity, as a volunteer, to help the partnership between Hear the World and FUNPROI get started.
As an audiologist, her work often involves traveling to various places to train hearing care professionals. “Of course, I’m aware that behind all the figures there are human beings receiving help, but direct contact with patients adds a whole new dimension,” she says, explaining her enthusiasm for the project. For her, there is nothing like that moment when a person is suddenly able to hear again thanks to a hearing aid.