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A life without hearing is a life that struggles to experience the world fully. It’s a life without the joy of deep connections with other people. It’s a life that cannot reach its full potential. It’s only a glimpse of a great life, one that we believe every individual should have.
At A&E, we provide hearing healthcare to the Lancaster area. We see patients with a range of hearing impairments, and we do our best to restore their hearing. It is a privilege for us to witness hearing renewed in the lives of many.
It’s why we’re part of Entheos, an initiative that encourages audiologists and their practices to give back to the community and the world.
A few weeks ago, Dr. Kamal Elliot, her husband Michael, and two doctoral students travelled to Guatemala to give the gift of hearing. We worked in the Panajachel community and met Leslie and Latisia.
Latisia received her first set of hearing aids on our trip. At first, she wasn’t comfortable with them. It’s a new experience using and wearing hearing aids. Because Latisia is so young, we wanted someone to follow up with her to make sure any struggles she faces with these new devices do not hinder her ability to hear properly.
Last year on our humanitarian trip, we met Leslie. We fitted Leslie with a set of donated hearing aids and quickly developed a connection with her. She had been struggling in school for some time. Her new hearing aids were finally allowing her to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher.
This year, Leslie found us again, and our reunion was sweet. Her hearing aids were not in the best condition, and one of our doctoral students decided to give the hearing aids off her own ears to Leslie. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. To see our own doctoral students take on the heart of what we do and implement it themselves was beyond rewarding.
We had developed a relationship with both Leslie and Latisia that we knew would last for years to come. Tweet this
Once we returned from Guatemala, Dr. Elliot reached out to Leslie on Facebook to see if she would be willing to check on Latisia. Our concern is to make sure Latisia’s hearing aids continue working and her skills continue to develop with this newfound sense of hearing. Leslie has had experience with hearing aids since she received them over a year ago, and we knew we could trust her to make sure the devices were taken care of, batteries were changed, devices kept clean, etc.
Leslie’s response to our request was one that reflected the heart of our mission in Guatemala. She said, “Of course. I will help that child as you have helped me.”
Our hope in going to Guatemala and giving others the gift of hearing is to do more than give to the community. We want to empower the community, develop leaders, and provide a resource that will train the people to become sustainable.
Less than a day after we asked, Leslie made a 45-minute trip to Latisia’s house. For Leslie, it didn’t matter what else she had planned that day.
Our mission became her mission, and Leslie took the initiative to continue the work we started. Tweet this
Hearing how Leslie took it upon herself to care for Latisia, Dr. Elliot described it like this: “It’s love. It’s the love we have with one another, the connection. It’s beyond gratifying.”
We are so lucky to know these young women. To see the ripple effect of our gift to them is like seeing the world in a new light. We get the chance to change people, one by one. We get the privilege of helping people, regardless of what they can give to us in return.
Leslie and Latisia have both kept in contact with us through email and Facebook, often sending us messages of “Thank you” and “I love you”. But, it should be us thanking them. They are showing us what compassion looks like and what it means to serve others.
This is why we are A&E: to give others a hope that empowers them to become the people they are meant to be. It is the gift of hearing in action.