Launch of Hearing Health Services and Hearing Aid Dispensing Programs

Sonoran UCEDD Updates
Spring 2014

The Hearing Health Services and Hearing Aid Dispensing programs are the newest service projects to become operational in the ArizDuke Duncan. ARSOBOona Sonora Borders (ARSOBO) Integrated Projects program based in Nogales, Sonora. The aim of this program is to improve the quality of life for individuals of all ages with hearing impairments. The ARSOBO hearing health clinical services are provided in collaboration with the University of Arizona and supervised by James Dean, an audiologist in the Department of Speech Language and Hearing Sciences. Services currently provided include visual inspection of the ear canal, hearing tests, evaluation of middle ear function, the fitting of hearing aids and custom fit earmolds. An appropriate high-quality hearing aid, a supply of hearing aid batteries and an earmold are also provided at minimum cost to individuals with limited resources who are in need of these medical devices.  A solar-powered hearing aid battery recharging system will also be provided in the future.

A new otoacoustic emissions (OAE) screening instrument has just been acquired and will be used in our next clinic.  This device will allow us to perform quick screenings of auditory function and identify infants and children who may have hearing loss.  The portable, hand held OAE screening system will be particularly helpful when doing audiologic assessment with neonates and children with disabilities who are unable to participate in traditional behavioral audiologic testing.  The Hearing Health Program has benefitted greatly from the generous support of a number of individuals and programs including the, University of Arizona Department of Speech Languages and Hearing Sciences, the Hear the World Foundation/Sonova which is based in Switzerland, Carondelet St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tucson and likeminded partners and volunteers on both sides of the Arizona-Sonora border. The Hearing Health Program still has many challenges to face.  Our goals for the near future are to facilitate greater outreach into the Nogales, Sonora community and to create employment opportunities by training individuals to perform hearing tests, obtain earmold impressions, manufacture custom earmolds for hearing aid users and begin the assembly of hearing aid battery solar rechargers.

We are very excited that the third stage of the ARSOBO Integrated Services program is fully operational and that we are now able to provide affordable clinical services and hearing aid fittings for individuals of all ages.