This October, a team of volunteers from the ENT/Audiology team of Maastricht University Medical Center (MUMC+) Netherlands, travelled to the island of Lombok in Indonesia to provide health care, support and guidance on site.
The team provides voluntary help based on their own resources supported by the donations of others, such as medicine, materials, diagnostic equipment, hearing aids, assistive listening devices etc. Cochlear was one of the sponsors and donated a number of Baha Softbands for the team to take with them.
According to the team:
“Although there appears to be a lot of deaf and hearing impaired people on Lombok, there are barely any hearing devices. People have to fly or sail to Bali, where it costs about € 200 to get a hearing aid. For the local standards this is a lot of money. Deaf or hard of hearing children are usually considered stupid or crazy.”
The mission of this team of specialists was to check the ears and the hearing of those children, provide their surroundings with information on the different types of deafness and when indicated help those children to hear better by providing them with hearing devices.
The team was stationed in a school for disabled children and performed local ENT & Audiology consultations with ear/hearing checks and direct treatments for local people with limited resources. The transfer of knowledge is very important. The specialists provide as much information as they can to the local teachers and medics. The impact of diagnostics and treatment is high, as is the gratitude of the locals. Pain (often chronic inflammation) is remedied. The hearing and communication of children and local people can often be improved by treatment and fitting of hearing aids.
During two weeks of help more than 260 people were seen by the ENT physician, the hearing status of more than 90 people was evaluated, 25 patients were rehabilitated with 30 hearing aids, 40 ear molds were made and two patients were helped with a bone conduction device. This resulted in many happy faces back and forth.