• • • PART 1 • • 

[PLEASE NOTE: THIS WAS WRITTEN BEFORE THE STARKEY HEARING FOUNDATION MISSION TRIP TO ARMENIA WHICH TOOK PLACE LAST WEEK.]

Do you ever get wrapped up in the Internet’s rabbit hole and find yourself watching video after tissue after video of a baby hearing for the first time, or a man putting on color-blind correcting lenses? Yeah, me neither. Ha. But all joking aside, those rare, intimate moments just warm my heart and make my eyes well up with tears. And honestly, being a spectator in those clips is not too far off from the real deal: volunteering for a hearing mission. 

Still feeling somewhat of a “mission high” from my last international trip to Guatemala in November 2016 with the Starkey Hearing Foundation, I jumped at the idea of another- even without knowing where it would be. Then they told me it would be Armenia. Armenia? The only things I knew about Armenia: there was a genocide there within the last 100 years and the Kardashian’s have lineage there. I have no idea where in the world it was located, what the climate was like, what they eat, how they dress, or even what language they speak. And another thing I did not know- there are a lot of people with hearing loss that need help. A LOT of people. Once I located it on a map and decided to stomach the almost 30 hour flight there-I was officially in.

Tomorrow we will head to Yerevan, Armenia, and over the course of three days, we will fit 1500 Armenians with hearing aids. 1500 people will be given the gift of hearing so that they can connect with their family, friends, and the noisy world around them. I am undoubtedly looking forward to those YouTube-able moments, but there is so much more to take from giving your time to others.

I Am Excited To…

Connect with others who have grown up half a world away from me. It opens up your own world and mind when you learn about another culture, their cuisine, and customs.

Be a story-gatherer. So often, we wait until we can tell our stories or tell people about us. I can’t wait to absorb all the stories of my soon to be patients- hear about their lives, their journeys to this day, and their bright futures ahead.

Explore a place in the world I could have never imagined going to.

Expand my circle of international friends, where our common language is shared through smiles, laughs, and hugs.

Be part of a system that helps the world. Not just each individual that we fit, but their loved ones, colleagues, coworkers, and beyond.

Learn. To grow. To change.

What Can You Do To Help ? ?

Spread the word    Donate old hearing aids

Give monetary gifts   Host fundraisers

Join us on a mission!

Visit The Starkey Hearing Foundation at

Dr. Lorie D’Elia Au.D.

Audiologist and Volunteer