AUDIOLOGY AND HEARING AIDS

P1000563

We could not cope without audiology; we need 2-3 audiologists on the camp. In addition two of our Nepali staff have some knowledge and can do basic audiology and hearing aid fitting. We carry 2-3 small battery powered diagnostic audiometers and 1-2 tympanometers. The work is very busy; on a recent camp the audiologists did well over 300 PTAs and fitted over 130 aids. The aids are fitted using a single stage soft mould or ready made/universal moulds.

We are constantly in need of hearing aids to supplement our supplies, especially analogue aids.

We do now have a dedicated laptop with Hi-Pro and software for programming common digital aids.

We sometimes see people with congenital aural atresia, so bone hearing aids can be useful.

We often see people with profound hearing loss some of whom are also dumb, these often develop local types of sign language. Speech therapy is rarely available. There are many deaf schools, some are in surprisingly remote areas, and mostly they offer quite basic education, usually using sign language. There are some trained audiologists in Nepal, but most work in the Kathmandu valley. There are very few hearing suppliers or repair facilities in the country, again almost entirely in Kathmandu, or over the Indian border.

Batteries are expensive and small button batteries are not available in the villages, however many people do find ways to get supplies sent to them.

MOULD FITTINGS

Different volunteers have favoured differing options. We generally make one stage moulds on the camps. Some audiologists are not familiar with this or time does not allow. Then we may use used or universal fit moulds. It is important that volunteers tell us what level of experience they have in this area. It is usually very helpful for new volunteers to speak with previous camp audiologists. We are happy to put them in touch. It may be necessary to purchase mould materials to take on the camp, sometimes companies or local charities have helped with this.