Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Starkey Mission to China, 2014 - Day 2

Kunming, China
Patients fitted: 552

Today was the first day of the mission. We started with an amazing breakfast buffet
provided by the hotel followed by a briefing by Tani Austin about how the fitting
procedure worked, and what to expect. It turns out this mission was the very first one
where the Starkey Hearing Foundation would be using digital hearing aids, and ON 
Semiconductor's (the company Rosaline, David and I work for) chips would actually be
in them!

Following the briefing, there was a ceremony and speeches by various local dignitaries
to kick off the mission.

Once the formalities were over, the fittings began in earnest. The first couple fittings were done by Bill and Tani Austin with many cameras and people crowded around, and were declared a success.

Next, we were paired up with an experienced person who showed us the ropes and after a couple of fittings, we were on our own!

Things went relatively smoothly, and David and I combined with our interpreter Jessie
made a great team.

We fitted a total of just over 40 people, most of which had minor to
major losses. There were a couple more severe cases including one gentleman who had
one ear that we could not quite fit loud enough, even with the highest power behind-the-
ear (BTE) device we had. In the end he was referred to Bill himself for a higher-power,
body worn device.

There were a few very happy moments today with a few older people who were
genuinely thankful shaking both our hands vigorously and saying thank you. It was a
very rewarding experience. After a long day of fittings (not that long, really - we wrapped up by about 4 pm - but that much standing slightly bent over was enough to throw out my back on the very first day, unfortunately) we had a group dinner hosted by the local leaders (which was excellent
but was preceded by many more speeches) and headed off to bed.

The final count showed that we fit over 1000 hearing aids today, giving the gift of
hearing and hopefully improving the quality of life of over 500 people. Here's hoping my
back relaxes back into place enough to get me through day 2, as there are many, many
more days to go and many, many more people to fit!

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