Hearing for Humanity is a program at Arizona State University with the mission of providing sustainable humanitarian audiological and rehabilitative services in Malawi, Africa. In June 2013, Hearing for Humanity returned to Malawi for the 3rd time to provide humanitarian audiology. ReSound provided 50 hearing aids and batteries for this trip.
We interviewed Ingrid McBride, Director of Audiology at ASU and the project leader for this mission trip.
What inspired you to plan a mission trip?
“In 2010, I was invited to accompany another ASU professor to both Kenya and Malawi and I took 4 students that year. It was very much a fact finding trip but we discovered that audiology services were severely needed and we provided both training and audiology services. After that we decided to focus our attention on Malawi. In 2014 we will go to Malawi for the 4th time.”
How did you do it?
“I did a lot of research to find out about existing resources and contacts. It is essential that any short term mission trips work with existing hearing healthcare professionals in order to have sustainability. We have been fortunate to have developed a wonderful collaboration with audiologists at the African Bible College. Planning for the trip takes many months and many people to do a variety of tasks (inventory, testing hearing aids, getting needed supplies, details of lodging, transportation, etc.). We also do fund raising activities. Having a program under the ASU Foundation provides Hearing for Humanity with non-profit status and the program is also under the ASU Study Abroad Office. Students gain amazing clinical and cultural experience. Each year the HFH team has grown and in 2014 we will be 15 total from ASU.”
What tips do you have for others thinking of organizing a mission trip?
“Make contact with local professionals to establish a collaboration. We also stress evidence-based practice. Due to the high volume of middle ear pathologies, it is necessary to have portable equipment that can perform air/bone conduction and masking. We also fit each hearing aid using real ear measures and perform electroacoustic testing on existing hearing aids.”