Stäfa, Switzerland, July 23, 2020
Only one year after activation of the cochlear implants (CI) donated to them, the beneficiary children from Vietnam with severe hearing loss can speak and are socially integrated. This result and with it the chance for these children to lead a life without limitations, was achieved by the Swiss Hear the World Foundation and the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss through their joint project. A success that was made possible thanks to a strong partnership and a holistic funding approach.
Just like nine other children from Vietnam, Tung Lam, then aged three, received a cochlear implant a year ago. He previously used hearing aids but his severe hearing loss limited their benefit. After activation of the implant at the children's hospital in Hanoi, he was able to hear the voice of his parents clearly for the first time. It was a moving moment for everyone present. The boy beamed from ear to ear. Finally, he could hear well. But that was only the beginning of his success story. He was not yet able to speak, which was another aim of the aid project. After activation of his implant, Tung Lam and his parents continued auditory-verbal therapy every week, where he learned to differentiate sounds and to speak – an intensive learning process.
Language skills and social integration
Today, one year after the activation of his CI, Tung Lam is not only able to speak as a typically developing child, he also perceives his surroundings more intensely, participates more in family life – including playing with his brother, which he hardly ever did before – and attends a regular kindergarten. At first, his kindergarten teacher paid particular attention to him in order to integrate him as good as possible. Tung Lam has settled in well and is a happy and popular child.
The chance to lead a life without limitations
Only one and a half years earlier, the world looked completely different for Tung Lam and his family. Since his birth, Tung Lam had lived with severe hearing loss. Even the most powerful hearing aids were not sufficient to enable him to hear well. And since there was no health insurance or state support for cochlear implants in Vietnam, and his family could not afford to pay for them, it was clear that Tung Lam would never be able to hear well. He would therefore not learn to speak very clearly and had very little chance of living a life without limitations.
But then a fortunate turn of events meant that the boy was selected as a beneficiary of the HearVietnam aid project along with nine other children. The Hear the World Foundation and the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss entered into a project partnership to provide the full spectrum of services required for a young child with significant hearing loss to learn to listen and speak. The Hear the World Foundation donated the latest cochlear implants to these children, as well as the cost of the associated surgeries, 1 year of auditory-verbal therapy and 15 years of product support and audiological care.
Project success thanks to a strong partner and a holistic funding approach
The success of the CI project in Vietnam is largely owed to the Hear the World Foundation’s professional and reliable project partner: the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss. This organization prepared and managed the project meticulously on the ground. Among other things, it spent nine years building up the necessary expertise in audiological care and auditory-verbal therapy in the country to guarantee language assistance and audiological follow-up care for the children in addition to the donation of the implants and cost of the surgeries. Thanks to this holistic project approach, the beneficiary children not only had CIs successfully fitted and activated, as well as audio-verbal therapy enabling them to acquire language skills, but continue to receive audiological care. This will allow them to benefit from the donation in the long term.
Further information, images and video material
Further details about the project can be found via this link. Click here to the project video. Images in printable resolution to download you can find below.
Tung Lam does his audio-verbal therapy exercises at home together with his parents and his brother.