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From Lebanon to Lübeck: training in the Mecca of hearing professionals

04. November 2019
By Gladys Asmar, pediatric nurse and audiology assistant at IRAP, a school for children with hearing loss in Lebanon.

In my home country, Lebanon, hearing healthcare is better than in many other low- and middle-income countries. Nevertheless, we are also struggling with various shortcomings. Until three years ago, there was no newborn screening program in our hospital, and we are still feeling the consequences of that today. We have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to diagnosing and treating hearing loss in children. As such, I am proud to work for an institution like Institut de Rééducation Audio Phonétique (IRAP) that supports and nurtures these children. Needy families in the region come to us, as well as Syrian children living in refugee camps near Beirut. As an audiology assistant, I carry out auditory  examinations on the children with my colleagues and am also responsible for follow-up care, among other things.

Invitation to the Summer Academy

When I received an invitation from the Hear the World Foundation to take part in an advanced training course at the world-renowned Academy of Hearing Aid Acoustics (afh) in Lübeck, Germany, I was delighted. In August I travelled to Lübeck with the aim of deepening my knowledge in the field of auditory screening, diagnosis and follow-up care for children.

Lübeck is home to the world’s largest training and competence centre for hearing acoustics – the Mecca of hearing professionals, so to speak. Every year, hearing experts from all over the world travel to the International Summer Academy to learn from this treasure trove of knowledge – and this year I was one of 40 hearing care professionals, audiologists and ENT doctors from 17 different countries!

Meeting with other Hear the World partners

In Lübeck I also met Elisabeth Wambui, a hearing care professional from Kenya, and Myroslova Pylypiuk, an ENT doctor from the Ukraine. Just like me, the two are project partners of Hear the World and were invited by the Foundation to the afh Summer Academy in Lübeck. It was great that we could exchange ideas and it was exciting to learn more about audiological care in their countries.

Together we went through the pediatric acoustics course at the afh. For one week we were offered an intensive program of courses, and we had already taken part in webinars in advance. In theory and practice, we learned how to correctly detect and measure hearing loss in children, how to design earmoulds for children, how to fit hearing aids, and how to integrate families into care. We also learned a lot about the latest hearing technology and modern diagnostic devices.

Bringing home a lot of knowledge

For me personally, the advanced training in Lübeck was hugely enriching and I look forward to applying everything that I learned in my daily work. I particularly benefited from the hearing screening training. I didn’t have much experience in this area beforehand, so I was able to learn a lot. All in all, I feel more secure in my skills now and I am confident that I can care for and support the children at IRAP even better.
I am particularly pleased that I can pass on my new expertise to my colleagues in Lebanon, so that they too are up to date. All with the aim of providing children with hearing loss in our country with high-quality audiological care.  

A big thank you to the Hear the World Foundation for bringing me a little closer to this vision through my training at the afh Summer Academy.
 

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Learn more about the training in Lübeck
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