Twelve members of the Northeast Ohio AuD Consortium (NOAC) chapter of the Student Academy of Audiology (SAA), their advisor and a clinical preceptor traveled to Guatemala in March 2016 to provide ear, hearing and balance care to those in need. The NOAC SAA chapter coordinated this humanitarian trip with Hearts in Motion (H.I.M.), a mission group headquartered in Munster, Indiana who provides care and medical treatment for children, families and communities in the United States, Central and South America. One goal of H.I.M. is to provide opportunities for individuals to participate in short-term mission experiences. The NOAC SAA trip was the first mission trip where audiology services were provided as part of the H.I.M. offerings.
The NOAC delegation of fourteen provided audiology services in Zacapa and the surrounding villages. In addition to provide hearing testing, the students provided cerumen management services, vestibular rehabilitation and amplification products. They traveled approximately 1½ hours from their base in Zacapa to evaluate and manage individuals in areas where the population does not have access to audiology services.
With their partners from H.I.M. the students and faculty were able to positively impact the lives of those they served during this inaugural trip. They fit more than 25 pocket talkers on children and adults with hearing loss. The impact of the trip on each member of the NOAC team was at least as great as the impact they had on the lives of the people they served.
The students are in the planning stages of their second trip scheduled for Spring, 2017. The doctoral students hope this will become an annual humanitarian effort of the NOAC SAA chapter and perhaps the National SAA.