In January 2020, seven-third year audiology doctoral students and two clinical professors, Dr. Ianthe Dunn-Murad and Dr. Rose Valvezan had the unique and humbling opportunity to travel with the Starkey Hearing Foundation to El Salvador, Central America to provide hearing services to over 1,200 individuals with hearing loss and hearing impairments.
In January 2020, seven-third year audiology doctoral students and two clinical professors, Dr. Ianthe Dunn-Murad and Dr. Rose Valvezan had the unique and humbling opportunity to travel with the Starkey Hearing Foundation to El Salvador, Central America to provide hearing services to over 1,200 individuals with hearing loss and hearing impairments. With only one Audiologist currently practicing in El Salvador, access to hearing care is often not available to those in underrepresented groups. The Long Island Doctor of Audiology Consortium, which offers a clinical doctorate in audiology through the cooperation of Adelphi University, Hofstra University and St. John’s University, truly values these unique service learning opportunities for our students during their clinical and academic course of study.
Starkey Hearing Foundation’s mission is to give the gift of hearing to those in need, empowering them to achieve their potential. By collaborating with governments, non-government organizations, and health leaders, the goal is to make hearing healthcare services more accessible for people around the world.
Here is what some of our students had to say about their experience in El Salvador:
“To be a part of such an unique experience was so rewarding and valuable to me, I will never forget it. I signed up for this experience thinking that I was going to go to a third world country and provide free help to those that needed hearing care, but in all, I was the one greatly rewarded with the gift of connecting with so many grateful hearts. I am so thankful that this experience was made possible for my classmates and I because we all got so much out of the experience that goes beyond the classroom. Every person that I cared for and every family I met touched my soul.” – Brittany Ziarko
“I will never forget my very first patient that I saw on the first day. It was an older woman who was accompanied by her daughter. Her daughter informed me that her mother has not been able to hear for many years and they did not have the financial resources to buy hearing aids. After we fit her with hearing aids, her face lit up and she started to cry because she could her us, seeing how happy she was to hear with the hearing aids is one moment that will stick with me forever. My professors had explained some of the reactions, but to witness it first hand was magical!” – Kristen S. Brancucci
“Having this opportunity changed my perspective on life completely! This experience opened my viewpoint about the hearing health discrepancies in the world and put into reality how some people suffer because they have no resources available to them. This opportunity was truly an unforgettable experience. Every student should take the opportunity to go on a Starkey Mission Trip!” – Raissa El-Houayek
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