When I decided to commit to joining the Entheos Audiology Group on their Humanitarian Mission Trip to Guatemala, I was at a point in my life where nothing was going wrong. I had a good job, a great family, I’m healthy as an ox and I am living in a country where the world is at my fingertips. The life I was born into was such a blessing and I knew it was time for me to be more selfless. So I set a goal for myself to take more time to give back to others and I knew that taking a trip to fit hearing aids to the underserved was a great jumping off point.
Our practice, Associates in Hearing, has been a part of Entheos Audiology Cooperative for over a year now and every time I met up with fellow members I would get a wave of enthusiasm and positivity coursing through my body. After every meeting, I would come back to the office with a stack of ideas and just as much motivation to see them implemented. I saw such a great benefit from Entheos for their business support but one thing I noticed I was missing was the camaraderie that many of the members had from their past mission trip experiences. They told stories of the lives they impacted, the work they performed and the improvement they saw in themselves when they finished. I knew that serving others was something I needed to do and I had the perfect opportunity to do so in a field I was so familiar with: hearing healthcare.
As I began my trip to Guatemala City, I faced a small feeling of anxiety but I was mostly calm knowing that everything I was doing was for a positive purpose. I felt that I had my family, co-workers, and patients, who were so gracious to donate used hearing aids to us, behind me. The next 7 days were filled with language barriers, problem-solving, long hours and a constant urge to apply more sunscreen. But with those difficulties came an immense feeling of satisfaction. There were happy children who were so grateful just to receive a sticker after they finished their hearing screening. I met with patients who wiped away their tears when they were able to hear properly for the first time in over a decade. We were even able to help our Spanish translators, who were humble as can be and made sure all the patients were seen before they got their own screening. After finally being tested, a few translators were identified with hearing loss that they had struggled with since early childhood. They were fit with hearing aids and an instant improvement was noticed in their ability to communicate with us. With the hearing technology in their ears, they now have a better chance at excelling in their studies and in their careers.
This trip taught me so much professionally, personally, emotionally and spiritually. Coming out the other side has shown me a lot about the beauty of this world and also the beauty in people. It forefronted to me how hearing loss can close an individual off from this world’s beauty and how hearing technology can bring them back into the fold. It was truly a life-changing experience for me at the age of 27.
Now that I am back I feel compelled to share my belief in the importance of giving back because of the impact it can not only have on others’ lives but also, your own. Thank you again to all the patients who we generous enough to donate hearing aids for us to use on these mission trips. Be assured that they are going to people who appreciate them more than you will ever know. In the words of Helen Keller: “Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people.” The individuals we fit with hearing devices are no longer cut off from the people in their lives and that was the ultimate goal of this trip.