Cou­ple are on mis­sion to give gift of hear­ing

Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views - STAFF RE­PORTER glamorgan.gazette@waleson­line.co.uk

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

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