#hearmalawi

The first audiology clinic in the country

An Australian couple is performing truly pioneering work in the southern African country of Malawi. In a place where the majority of the 14 million population lives on less than one US dollar a day and no comprehensive professional audiological care and rehabilitation is available, the couple has established a clinic and training center.

Place & Year

Lilongwe, Malawi, since 2011

Project Partners

EARS Inc.

Awards

Richard Seewald Award

Support

Technology Funding Knowledge

Main Focus

Children Providing audiological care for children in low-income countries is a focal area of the Hear the World Foundation’s activities.
Professional training The Hear the World Foundation supports projects that enable continuous audiological training for professionals on site.
Prevention of hearing loss The Hear the World Foundation globally promotes awareness for the topics of hearing and hearing loss and thus actively contributes toward the prevention of hearing loss.
Programs for parents & families By supporting self-help groups for parents, the Hear the World Foundation makes an important contribution, thus ensuring that affected parents receive specific help and assistance.

In its cooperation over the past few years with the Australian organization EARS Inc., and African Bible Colleges (ABC) Malawi, the Hear the World Foundation has been involved in establishing the ABC Hearing Clinic and Training Centre in Lilongwe, Malawi which was officially opened by Malawi’s Minister of Health on 4th October 2013. The clinic now has an adult and a pediatric soundproof booth for diagnostic testing, objective hearing assessment equipment including OAE, ABR and ASSR, and a laboratory where custom earmoulds can be made on site. “In Malawi, it could take up to six months for a child to receive a hearing aid and earmould, by which time, of course, it no longer fitted properly,” explains audiologist Peter Bartlett. “Now we can produce  earmoulds within two hours,” he adds. Every year 2,000 people are examined in the clinc and more than 400 hearing aids are provided.

Malawian students receive audiological training

The training and certification of local experts is crucial to ensure high quality and sustainable audiology services. That is why the Hear the World Foundation is funding two ABC-Students to complete their master’s in audiology at the University of Manchester, UK.

Traveling all over the country

They are also involved in outreach clinics in various parts of the country, visiting schools and providing audiological care for children with hearing loss who are not able to come to the clinic in the capital Lilongwe. For Peter and Rebecca Bartlett, raising awareness is essential for identifying cases of hearing loss in Malawi. “Many parents of children with hearing loss think that their children are not intelligent enough, mentally retarded or even cursed,” explains Rebecca Bartlett. Even if the children can hear well, providing just a little medical information often helps ensure that the correct  treatment is prescribed if they ever have an ear health issue, thus preventing hearing impairments. Malawi has five main schools for the deaf. The two Australian audiologists have traveled to them to examine the children and provide further training for teachers in audiometry, and how to manage hearing aids. “The teachers respond really positively to any training and this increases their experience and confidence to examine their pupils’ hearing”, says Rebecca Bartlett enthusiastically. Hear the World’s latest contribution to the program is funding for the purchase of a mobile audio trailer containing two audio booths which will be taken out to surrounding villages which do not have electricity, let alone access to quality healthcare.


The Hear the World Foundation's prize is named after Professor Dr. Richard Seewald, who is well known for his tireless efforts in pediatric audiology over many decades. He spearheaded the development of an internationally recognized DSL method for fitting hearing systems to children. Prior to his retirement, Seewald held the Canada Research Chair in Childhood Hearing at that country's National Centre for Audiology, which he co-founded. He is a Distinguished University Professor Emeritus in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Western Ontario.

The Hear the World Foundation's prize is named after Professor Dr. Richard Seewald, who is well known for his tireless efforts in pediatric audiology over many decades. He spearheaded the development of an internationally recognized DSL method for fitting hearing systems to children. Prior to his retirement, Seewald held the Canada Research Chair in Childhood Hearing at that country's National Centre for Audiology, which he co-founded. He is a Distinguished University Professor Emeritus in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Western Ontario.