Since 2004, Utah State University’s Student Academy of Audiology has carried on the Mission from the hEARt tradition. This year, they return to Costa Rica.
During these missions, students and faculty travel to areas where access to audiology services are hard to find. They perform hearing tests, fit people with hearing aids and provide other hearing services. The participants pay their own way and the missions are supported through fund raising and industry donations.
“As a doctoral student, participating on these humanitarian missions was an amazing opportunity,” said Johnny Foster, an alumnus. “In a one- to two-week period we would look in more ears, test more hearing and fit more hearing aids then I ever thought possible. I consider those trips as some of the most important work I have ever done in my career.”
This May he will go as an alumnus to Costa Rica. Other missions have taken place in Mexico, the Domenican Republic, El Salvador and Africa.
Joe Dansie, an alumnus and doctor of audiology, has participated in five missions. When he was a student, he chose to come to Utah State because of them.
“It offers a rewarding feeling to help people hear, improve their quality of life, and see the smiles on their faces,” he said. “They’ve helped hundreds if not thousands of people hear in just the five missions I have participated in over the last seven years. It truly is an amazing experience.”
“The main purpose of the humanitarian mission here in Costa Rica is a little different from when we go to other countries,” said Natalie Goldgewicht, an alumna and the only doctor of audiology in Costa Rica. “Here, the government provides free and universal health services to all citizens and with that, the patients are eligible to get a pair of hearing aids every five years. Though this sounds great, the problem we have with this process is that there is a long waiting time for people to be able to see a doctor.”
Many of the people served by the missions live in remote areas, she said.
Fundraising for equipment to be used in this year’s mission is now underway. To find out more about how to support the mission, contact Heather Jensen (email below).
- USU Student Academy of Audiology
- USU Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education
- USU Audiology Program (graduate)
- USU Emma Eccles College of Education and Human Services
Contact: Heather Jensen, email@example.com
Writer: JoLynne Lyon, 435-797-1463