Nearly 60 adults and children were fitted with free hearing aids during a recent Hearing Aid Clinic in La Peñita. The clinic, the first of its kind in our area, was conducted under the watchful eyes of our own Dr. Martin Nuñez at his Central Medico La Peñita office. The purpose of the clinic was to furnish and fit hearing aids and provide technical assistance to some of the hearing impaired citizens of Nayarit. The recipients ranged from 6 to 91 years.
One hopeful patient, 4 years young, could not be fitted because of his complete hearing loss. He was directed to a speech therapist and psychologist in Tepic, with the hope of teaching him to use sign language.
There were hearing health practitioners and some very devoted volunteers, who not only contributed their time, but were also instrumental in procuring and transporting the hearing aids to Dr. Nuñez’s offices from Canada.
Special thanks to Dr. Louise Graham, her husband Patrick Taylor, and Cassie Choboter who organized the collection and transportation of donated aids and batteries; Margarita Gomez Corona, Veronica Morentes Perez, Amada Flores Aguilar and Lucio Sanders (translators/care and maintenance educators); Darlene Karran (sign language interpreter); Deborah Scott (project volunteer coordinator); Patti DeRita (assistant); and local doctors, Dr. Martin Nuñez and Dr. Fernando Oregta Hernandez, who donated their time and expertise.
The donated hearing aids were previously used by others, which made for some interesting and prolonged fitting procedures. As most of you know, most aids, at least those that fit inside the hearing canal, are custom made to fit the wearer. In attempting to fit aids that were designed for another person, it took a great deal of time and patience to fit the new users. But still, 59 people were successfully fitted with aids and walked away smiling because they now had better hearing.
Each patient was given a month’s supply of batteries, instructions on battery changing and inserting, removing and cleaning their aids. They were also given a container of rice to store them in at night to dry and protect them from the humidity. Patients were asked to return in one month for new replacement batteries and a check-up to ensure their new aids are working properly.
The next clinic is already planned for November of this year, which will include a big push to supply all of the children with ear plugs to wear during noisy events.
More volunteers, both professional and non-professional, are needed for upcoming clinics. Please help by bringing down any old hearing aids and as many ear plugs as you can carry. The disposable foam inserts work best.
To learn more, make a donation or find out how to volunteer, contact: Deborah Scott at JaltembaBayHearingHealth@shaw.ca
or Dr. Martin Nuñez at Central Medico La Peñita.
by David Thompson
photos by David Thompson and Deborah Scott
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