The Cochlear Explorer series will resume in a couple of weeks with our discussion of Emil Huschke and “Huschke’s Teeth.” This week, however, Dr. Jay Hall sent Hearing International an article about an important ongoing project in Haiti. For our readers in France, Haiti, French Canada and other Francophone countries, this post is published not only in English but also in French. Our deep thanks to Dr. Hall for calling this project to our attention and recruiting Dr. Christine Turgeon to prepare her article for Hearing International. RMT
This past May, while lecturing at the Speech-Language and Audiology Canada Conference, in the beautiful city of Ottawa, I had the pleasure of visiting with Christine Turgeon. Christine is a PhD-level clinical and research audiologist at the University of Montreal in Quebec. Along with a number of Canadian audiology and speech pathology colleagues, she is also very involved in humanitarian audiology efforts in Haiti. Talking with Christine about Team Canada Healing Hands, I realized that the project would be of interest to many readers of Bob Traynor’s International Hearing blog. Christine was kind enough to supply the following description of this most worthwhile project in English and in French. If you have any questions or if you want to become involved in the project, you’ll find Christine’s contact information within the blog. James W. Hall, III, Ph.D. firstname.lastname@example.org www.audiologyworld.net
L’Équipe/Team Canada Healing Hands (TCHH) is a humanitarian and registered charitable organization, (Charitable Reg. No. 849016340 RR0001) which promotes quality rehabilitation services by local citizens, fostering a spirit of self-determination, non-dependency, and dignity. Since 2005, TCHH has been actively working to improve access to audiology services and facilities. The project was initiated by Huguette LeFrançois, a speech-language pathologist who is project manager and team leader of the project. It first started with the acquisition of sound isolation chambers, audiometers and other hearing instruments. The first chamber was completed at l’Hôpital de l’Université d’État d’Haïti (HUEH) in 2007, and the second one at Centre St-Vincent pour Enfants Handicapés (CSVEH) in 2009. Both centers are in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital and largest city. Following a request from an ENT at HUEH, a formal training program was created. It includes: (1) Training of audiometry technicians for diagnostic hearing testing (excluding interpretation of the results, which would be reserved to the audiologist or ENT) and, (2) training of hearing aid technicians for hearing aid fitting and maintenance.
Dr. Christine Turgeon, an audiologist, is in charge of the audiology section of the project, including the audiometry training program. With a group of three audiologists, she developed a manual for the theoretical part of the training. A manual for the training of hearing aid technicians has also been created by two audioprosthetists, Francis Garnier and Marilyn Émond-Rancourt. Our mission is to deliver audiology and audioprosthesis services that are adapted to the context of Haïti and will serve as a model in the field of humanitarian rehabilitation services. We aim to develop and provide quality services for hearing testing and hearing aid fitting, to understand the community needs, and to focus our efforts for them to become independent and self-sustainable for hearing services (screenings and diagnostic hearing tests, hearing aid evaluation and dispensing, hearing aid repairs). Ultimately, we seek to establish a permanent hearing clinic at Centre St-Vincent pour Enfants Handicapés (CSVEH). We also commit ourselves to two site missions in Haiti per year, with professional audiologists, audioprosthetists and a team ENT to provide supervision at a distance by e-mail or Skype teleconference between missions. We also provide education on hearing, and hearing aid fitting and maintenance to deaf/hard of hearing teachers at CSVEH.
The TCHH Audiology special project has made significant advances in the past seven years, and has benefitted from our dedicated team of volunteers and community support. We have now trained four audiometry technicians capable of performing hearing tests, and two audioprosthetist technicians. They work in three different clinical sites in Port-au-Prince: Centre St-Vincent pour Enfants Handicapés (CSVEH), HUEH and a private ENT clinic. In April 2014, two new students started the training. Following a request from Université d’État d’Haïti (UEH), a partnership has been established between TCHH, Université de Montréal (UdeM), and UEH to develop a university program in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at UEH. We invite audioprosthetists, hearing instrument specialists and audiologists, and whoever is interested in our project to contact Christine Turgeon at email@example.com or Huguette LeFrançois at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will be pleased to provide interested people with more information and, if they wish, advise them how they can help support us in our quest to develop sustainable hearing services in Haïti! Margaret Mead once said, “Never underestimate the ability of a small group of committed individuals to change the world… Indeed, they are the only ones who ever have.” From the book “Mountains beyond Mountains: The quest of Dr. Paul Framer, a man who would cure the world.” Author: Tracy Kidder, Random House Trade Paperback Edition 2004.