In July 2018, four pediatric audiologists travelled to South Africa as volunteers for the Hear the World Foundation, with the mission of fitting 88 children in need with hearing aids in four days. In this short and very intense time, they not only came to know each other well, they also learned from their exchange with the local audiologists, experienced a new culture, and received boundless gratitude from the children and their parents. The assignment left them with a feeling of pride and satisfaction.

At the Carel du Toit Centre, a charitable South African audiology center for children with hearing loss, children from South Africa’s deprived areas learn to talk and to do everything else that they will need, in order to be integrated into society like those with normal hearing and to live a life without limitations. Most of the children at the center already wear a hearing aid – the South African government issues one to every child in need under the age of six. However, the quality of these devices is often not high enough for them to hear very well, and therefore not good enough for them to learn to speak clearly. 

4 days, 4 volunteers, 150 hearing aids for 88 children

For this reason, the Hear the World Foundation is donating round 150 new Phonak hearing aids, to enable 88 children to hear better and thus to give them the ideal basis for the development better speech. The hearing aids were professionally fitted by a volunteer team of four Sonova staff members: Tessie Kirunda from Boots Hearingcare in Great Britain, Lindsay Roberts and Natalye Faison from Phonak in the USA, and Michael Kremers from Geers in Germany.

An enriching experience

The assignment was an unforgettable and moving experience for everyone: “What touched me the most was how the children reacted after receiving the hearing aids. They really lit up and were incredibly grateful,” says volunteer Michael Kremers. “It was so lovely to see how proud the children were of their colorful new hearing aids,” adds Lindsay Roberts. “They were really showing off with them.”

What touched me the most was the reactions of the children after they got new hearing aids. They were lightening up and were really thankful.»
Michael Kremers, Hear the World Volunteer and Sonova employee working at Geers in Germany. 

Back to the workplace, full of pride

Even after returning from South Africa, the volunteers’ engagement was still evident. All four provided comprehensive reports on their assignment, including lessons learned and suggestions for the improvement of future assignments. In their reports, they also mentioned how greatly the assignment motivated them, how proud they are to work for a company that does so much good, and that they would recommend such an assignment to any staff member.

More about the project