Making Hearing Health a Global Priority

Hearing International would like to call our readers’ attention to an organization making a major difference to the hearing impaired across the globe.  The coalition1Coalition for Global Hearing Health (CFGHH) was first organized in March 2009 by bringing together hearing health care professionals working in low resource communities around the world.  Their first meeting took place at the 2009 Alexander Graham Bell Association for Deaf and Hard of Hearing located in Washington, D.C.  with a purpose of initiating discussion on the organization’s purpose and to exploring programs and concerns in hearing health care in the developing world. 

The purpose of the Coalition for Global Hearing Health is to:

  •     Advocate for policies pertinent to hearing health care practices in a humanitarian capacity by directing professionals, students and stakeholders to existing policy
  •     Create topical guidelines in various languages (cochlear implant candidacy in developing countries; telehealth in underserved areas).
  •     Encourage dialogue and consensus amongst and between professionals globally to achieve topical policy
  •     Equip hearing healthcare professionals by educating societies and organizations on available resources and by providing networking opportunities through regularly provided coalition conferences
  •     Empower families, educators, communities and those who have ear/hearing difficulties by addressing holistic/complete needs within the context of the available resources found in the underserved region
  •     Perpetuate Best Practices by engaging recipients of humanitarian services in dialogue about their priorities, needs, and resources

4th Annual Conference

coalition2Over the past 4 years, three conferences have taken place in Washington, DC, March, 2010; Los Angeles, California, September, 2011; Pretoria, South Africa, June, 2012 that have solidified the organization. Now the 4th CFGHH Conference is scheduled for May 3-4, 2013 at The Bill Wilkerson Clinic at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.  The Annual Conference is a key component of the Coalition’s work, and it provides an opportunity to learn and explore hearing health programs and practices offered in low resources communities across the globe.  For a fourthcoalition consecutive year, people drawn from all over the world will confer about global hearing health care concerns. This  will provide an opportunity for otolaryngologists, audiologists, deaf educators, speech pathologists, policy makers, philanthropic leaders, and deaf and hard of hearing individuals and their families to work together to raise awareness of  important issues relative to hearing health in the developing world. 

This year’s keynote speaker is Lady Jean Wilson, OBE, FRCOphth (Hon), currently the Chair of the Hearing Conservation Council; President of the UK Impact Foundation, and Vice President of Sightsavers International.  Lady Jean Wilson and her husband, Sir John Wilson founded and established the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind. (Click on the picture and meet Lady Wilcoalition5son by video). Their extensive travel led to development of many national organizations for the blind in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The Wilsons became THE experts in promoting education and rehabilitation for individuals with disabilities. In 1974, she assisted in the founding and development of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and in 2000 co-founded the Hearing Conservation Council.  She has been recognized for her immense contributions with honors of the Dana International Gold Medal, OBE, Harding Award, Jose Rizal Gold Medal and Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Ophthamology

International speakers will give a number of other presentations (See program above and to the right) on topics including advocacy and media; education of professionals in underserved regions; empowering families and communities; harnessing technology; and ensuring best practices.  

A highlight of this year’s conference will be the Friday dinner at Historical Travellers Plantation.  Conference co-organizers, James E. Saunders, MD, (of Dartmcoalition3outh Hitchcock Medical) and Jackie L. Clark, PhD (of University of Texas at Dallas) coalition4have long been internationally recognized for their work as Humanitarian Committee Chairs in their professional organizations (American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head Neck Surgery Foundation and the International Society of Audiology, respectively.  CFGHH, which is seeking tax exempt status, is not a funding organization for facilities or societies, nor does it promote specific programs and/or projects.  Rather, it was envisioned as a means to bring otolaryngologists, audiologists, deaf educators, and speech pathologist together with people with hearing loss to raise awareness of  important issues relative to hearing health in the developing world. The Board of Directors has decided to develop CFGHH as a membership organization, and is currently focusing on annual conference participation and website content that will attract professionals from all regions of the world.

 

CGHH Audiometer Project

The Coalition for Global Hearing Health (CGHH) has established a project through which new portable audiometers can be donated at no cost to humanitarian groups or person(s) to improve hearing health care services in developing countries. To obtain one of these audiometers, please submit an application to CGHH (click here for an application) by email at karl.white@usu.edu .  The cost of shipping, future repairs that may be needed, and additional supplies for the equipment are the responsibility of the recipient. Purdue Pharmaceuticcoalition6al donated these audiometers.iStock_000012215038XSmall

Description of Equipment: Micro Audiometrics Corporation produces The Earscan3 Automatic Audiometer. It is a fully programmable audiometer. Test procedures can be customized (e.g., intensity step size, frequencies to be tested, the order in which frequencies are presented). The Earscan3 is powered by four AA batteries, AC adapter, or USB power. It uses either headset or insert earphones (only one supra aural headset is included). The unit weighs 0.28 kg with dimensions (L x W x H) of 14.7 x 9.1 x 3.3 cm.  Frequencies of 125 to 8000 Hz can be tested at intensities of -10 to 100 dB HTL at 500 to 6 HZ). Complete specifications are found at http://www.microaud.com/

Even though it is a relatively new organization, the Coalition for Global Hearing Health is already having an impact on the treatment of hearing impairment around the world.  For more information click on The Coalition for Global Hearing Health .

 

About Robert Traynor

Robert M. Traynor is a board certified audiologist with 45 years of clinical practice in audiology. He is a hearing industry consultant, trainer, professor, conference speaker, practice manager, and author. He has 45 years experience teaching courses and training clinicians within the field of audiology with specific emphasis in hearing and tinnitus rehabilitation. Currently, he is an adjunct professor in various university audiology programs.