• • • PART 2 • • 

1,806 patients in three days. THREE DAYS! How can I even begin to tell you about those three days of the hearing mission, and the days surrounding it?

To start, we were in the beautiful city of Yerevan during a very special time. We helped celebrate the city’s 2,799th birthday! What history! Just to put it in persepective, this past year, the city of Cleveland celebrated 221 years. They’ve got just a few (thousand) on us. The Fountains in Republic Square were dancing to traditional Armenian music, there were fireworks we could see from our hotel- the city was alive and celebrating its rich history.

The first day we were really just trying to get in the swing of things. The fewest patients were scheduled to come that day, but the hundreds of seats were filled as we walked in that morning. These patients were bussed in from the norther regions of Armenia. We each trained and learned how to get in the groove of things.
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One patient saw my name on my name tag, but due to a wonky “R” read it “Lovie.” The only English words she knew were “hello” and “I love you.” She kept repeating “I love you, I love you, I love you” when she was able to hear my voice loud and clear through the hearing aids.
There was a brief news segment that aired on Day 1 or 2 of the mission and we ended up having hundreds of walk-in patients. Absolutely no one was turned away. Spare and stock earmolds were used for these patients, until they can get their own custom molds made in aftercare.
One of my most memorable fittings occurred on Day 2. Me and my fitting partner from Ireland, Alva, fit an entire family with hearing aids. First, we fit the son, who was about 6 years old. Next was his mother, father, and grandmother. The whole family had significant hearing loss and did not use any speech- they all used sign language to communicate.
After our hearing work was done, we had a day to tour and explore the city. The most touching part of our tour was visiting the Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex. This breathtaking open style monument has an eternal flame in the center. Guests at the monument place fresh flowers around the flame to pay their respects for those who lost their lives. One of the sponsors of our trip, Arman Kavoukjian, shared stories from his grandmother and one of his patients in California. There was not a dry eye in the area. Such a horrific and tragic history, that is not recognized by all. This gave so much more meaning to the work we had done in days prior. These patients are fighters, it is in their genes to be fighters, and it was very touching that we were able to help them in this small way.
Being part of the Starkey Hearing Foundation mission to Armenia a few weeks ago was truly a once in a lifetime experience.  The bonds created with the 60+ mission volunteers and over 1800 patients is hard to describe.  I can confidently say that being part of William F. Austin’s 50 year legacy is a source of pride for anyone that volunteers and becomes a Starkey Hearing Angel.
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As a Starkey Hearing Foundation volunteer, the responsibilities to help deliver the WFA® Community Based Hearing HealthCare Program Model is exhilarating.  These teams travel around the world to train, execute, and monitor the WFA® Community Based Hearing HealthCare Program.

Under the guidance of an experienced Starkey Hearing foundation team, all volunteers are focused on ONE GOAL, to strive to ensure that the people we help have the support they need to reach their full potential, reconnect back to life and become self determinant citizens of our world.

SO THE WORLD MAY HEAR!

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Dr. Sheryl Figliano Au.D, Dr. Lorie D’Elia Au.D, Fortunato Figliano

Volunteers