happy little ears in Guatemala
Hearing loss often goes undetected among the rural population in Guatemala. The Maya community, which makes up 65% of the country’s rural inhabitants, is particularly affected by this. A German audiologist decided to step in and make a difference, examining children’s hearing and arranging for hearing aids to be provided if necessary.
Place & Year
Project PartnersOrejitas Felices
Jasmin Gübel, an audiologist from Germany, traveled to Guatemala in 2007. The country and its people made a strong impression on her, yet at the same time she was deeply disturbed by the inadequacy of the local audiological care. Consequently she decided to set up the “Orejitas Felices” project – or “Happy little ears” in English – with the aid of the organization Südamerika-Zentrum Hannover e.V. (SAZ). She spent six months visiting various villages and small towns, performing hearing screenings on children to detect any hearing loss at an early age. When necessary, Jasmin fitted hearing aids funded by donations from Germany. The purpose of providing the hearing aids was to give children living in poor circumstances a better chance of experiencing a school education. Orejitas Felices also aims to raise awareness among families of the importance of monitoring their children’s listening habits. Thanks to close cooperation with local medical centers and other aid organizations, the children with hearing loss should receive better care and thus improve their prospects for the future.
Sights set on making a sustainable impact
Approximately 100 hearing aids a year are now fitted as part of the Orejitas Felices project, with a thorough follow-up care program included. This care is provided by a local audiologist, who was trained by Jasmin during her stay in Guatemala. Jasmin still comes back to Guatemala at least once a year and, with the help of the Südamerika-Zentrum, organizes aid shipments to supply hearing aids to the country. The Hear the World Foundation has been donating Phonak hearing aids to Orejitas Felices since 2012, as well as providing financial support for training local staff, thus ensuring that there will be lots of happy little ears in Guatemala in the future too!