There are approximately 13,000 audiologists in the United States. Audiologists are the professionals patients can consult if there is a complaint or concern about hearing loss, tinnitus (noises in the ear), equilibrium disorders and central auditory processing deficits. The Audiologist is trained to diagnose and identify medical pathologies including diseases involving the hearing and balance mechanism., and make referrals to an appropriate physician for medical intervention.
However, In the country of Haiti, there are no practicing audiologists. Most Haitians do not have access to adequate medical care and this was even true before the earthquake of January 12, 2010, this is because of the lack of available services and Haitians lack the financial means. It’s been three years since the earthquake and while there has been some progress in the recovery efforts, unfortunately almost nothing has changed in terms of access to adequate medical care including specialty care such as audiology for Haiti’s residents.
We are fortunate to live in a country where access to medical is not problem. We are also gratefully for many generous professionals and faith-based organizations in the US and other countries that contribute their time and efforts for the improvement of the global community. Humanitarianism itself is such a world-changing initiative, especially professional humanitarianism where the need is so great in third world countries that lacks those resources of which we take for granted. For the last 15 years, the Hope of Hearing for Haiti tries to do just that. It is an organization that provides free audiological services for the death and hard-of-hearing children on the island of Haiti. Audiologists evaluate and treat hearing loss for the schools of the deaf and handicap. About 300-400 children were evaluated and treated every year.
Whether you are a medical professional or not, the opportunity to reach out and support the under-privileged or devastated countries such as Haiti is in great need. If can take that opportunity to serve or support this effort in any way, this will not only help those in need but yourself by knowing that you are doing something rewarding. For more information about Hope of Hearing for Haiti, please contact Dr. Ricardo Gauthier at Harbor Audiology.