Couple are on mission to give gift of hearing
AN audiologist couple from Bridgend are flying to Armenia on a mission to help people hear.
Patrycja Szczesniak and fiancé Jakub Wiatr, from Malmo Hearing on Derwen Road in the town, have been invited by Starkey Hearing Technologies to take part in the threeday mission.
Along with 13 other audiologists from across the UK and Ireland – and a six-strong team from the hearing device manufacturer’s European headquarters in Cheshire – they will travel 2,400 miles to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.
Jakub took part in the first Armenia mission last year and, as he returns for the second phase, fiancée and Malmo Hearing colleague Patrycja will be joining the team.
Their visit is part of the worldwide Starkey Hearing Foundation initiative, which has provided over 1.9 million hearing devices in more than 100 countries across the globe. Its mission is to give the gift of hearing to those in need, helping them to achieve their potential. High-profile supporters include Richard Branson, Bill Clinton and Elton John.
Starkey undertook an initial visit last summer to carry out hearing screening tests and take ear impressions to identify recipients.
The first stage of the mission took place last autumn, when Jakub and other volunteers worked closely with local teams to help fit more than 1,800 Armenians with hearing devices as well as that allimportant aftercare.
Patrycja and Jakub will now join the team for this month’s visit to further build upon the work already undertaken.
She said: “My fiancé and fellow audiologist, Jakub, took part in the first mission. When he told me about his experience of giving the gift of hearing to those most in need – and the satisfaction it gave him – I knew it was something I would really love to do.
“I feel that this mission is going to change my life in a very positive way – as well as supporting my future career in audiology. There is nothing better in life then helping someone who really needs help. Hearing is a gift from God and unfortunately not everyone is lucky to have it. I can now help those people by joining the Starkey hearing mission. I am really excited to take part in such a fantastic cause and I cannot wait to get out there now.”
Jakub said: “My first trip to Armenia was just incredible. It opened my eyes and showed me that by caring for and helping others, you really do help yourself to become a better person. I have so many great memories from the mission – so many smiles, hugs and tears from the people we helped. We transformed so many lives.
“So, when I found out that the Starkey Hearing Foundation was returning to Armenia – in order to help even more people – I knew that if I was lucky enough to be invited I would definitely go.
“The fact that my fiancée and colleague Patrycja is able to join me this time makes the whole experi- ence even more special.”
According to the World Health Organisation, more than 360 million people have disabling hearing loss, with the greatest number living in developing countries. Unfortunately, less than three per cent can afford hearing aids or access to care.
Patrycja Szczesniak and fiancé Jakub Wiatr from Malmo Hearing are off to Armenia
Jakub on his first Armenia hearing mission