Anna is a reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Mount Maunganui audiologists fits Samoans with hearing aids

HEAR TODAY: Bay audiologist Tamanna Khurana went to Samoa to fit people with donated hearing aids. PHOTO/George Novak
HEAR TODAY: Bay audiologist Tamanna Khurana went to Samoa to fit people with donated hearing aids. PHOTO/George Novak

A Mount Maunganui audiologist took donated hearing aids over to Samoa, to give hearing to a country that has so little.

Charge Audiologist Tamanna Khurana spent three days in Apia, Samoa at the end of July, seeing 180 people in the short amount of time.

"Every day there were lines of people waiting outside. Some of them had woken up really early in the morning, some had even travelled from another island," she said.

Six New Zealanders went over to help Samoans with hearing tests, fitting hearing aids and performing ear suctions.

The hospital in Apia had just created a new ear, nose and throat department, but was getting limited use due to not having a permanent specialist at the clinic.

"In Samoa there are no hearing services for adults, none at all, and the services for children very limited as well," Ms Khurana said.

"It's such a beautiful island and the people are so lovely. All the people we saw had waited most of their lift to have something done about their hearing."

They fitted 91 people with hearing aids, donated from patients around New Zealand.

"We'd been encouraging our patients to donate hearing aids they don't use. Then we got all of them up and running, and got them all fixed," she said.

Bay audiologist Tamanna Khurana went to Samoa to fit people with donated hearing aids. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Bay audiologist Tamanna Khurana went to Samoa to fit people with donated hearing aids. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Ms Khurana said most of the Samoans they saw had severe to profound hearing loss, which would affect them in every day life.

"Socially they would feel a bit excluded because they wouldn't be able to participate with someone talking to them."

She said hearing aids would make "such a dramatic difference" to individuals with that amount of hearing loss.

"One lady said to us, 'God has sent you here'. You can't get more humbling than that. We all just though wow, this is such a rewarding experience, so privileged and so honoured to be chosen to go."

"It was really humbling, we got so many hugs."

Bay Audiology partnered with a not-for-profit organisation in Samoa, who they would help train, and taught about batteries and repairs of the hearing aids.

The team are planning on returning to Samoa to fit more people with hearing aids.

- Bay News

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