Vast numbers of children in East Africa who are thought to be deaf actually have fixable hearing losses, if only they could get a diagnosis and treatment. We are working closely with the Caris Foundation to screen children and some adults for repairable hearing losses, to make a radical difference in their lives.
Children with hearing loss often fall behind in their speech and language development, with a lifelong loss of productivity due to the limited resources available to children in the developing world. Currently, not much is known about the kinds of hearing loss that affect children in rural Kenya, which means adequate treatment plans have yet to be developed.
During our two-week surgical camp starting next week, we will screen schoolchildren and some of the adults in their communities in rural Kenya, using a portable iPad audiometer capable of conducting hearing screening equivalent to what is done in the United States. We'll couple this portable technology with endoscopic imaging of the eardrum so we can better understand what is causing these children to have hearing loss. To our knowledge, this is the first screening program to combine both endoscopic imaging and audiometry. The information we gather will help us to plan future mission trips, obtain funding for hearing aids, and ultimately help these children to hear again.