Only one year after activation of the cochlear implants (CI) donated to them, children from Vietnam with severe hearing loss can speak and are socially integrated. This result was achieved by the Swiss Hear the World Foundation and the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss through their joint project, according to an announcement issued by the Hear the World Foundation. 

Just like nine other children from Vietnam, Tung Lam, then aged three, received a cochlear implant a year ago. He previously used hearing aids, but his severe hearing loss limited their benefit. After activation of the implant at the children’s hospital in Hanoi, he was able to hear the voice of his parents clearly for the first time. It was a “moving moment for everyone present, while the boy beamed from ear to ear,” according to the announcement. Finally, he could hear well. But that was only the beginning of his success story. He was not yet able to speak as a typically developing child, which was another aim of the aid project. After activation of his implant, Tung Lam and his parents continued auditory-verbal therapy every week, where he learned to differentiate sounds and to speak—an intensive learning process. 

Tung Lam during his weekly audio-verbal therapy

Language Skills and Social Integration

Today, one year after the activation of his CI, Tung Lam is not only able to speak, he also perceives his surroundings more intensely, participates more in family life,—including playing with his brother, which he hardly ever did before—and attends a regular kindergarten, Hear the World Foundation reports.

Tung Lam is fully integrated at his kindergarten

The Chance to Lead a Life Without Limitations 

Only one and a half years earlier, the world looked completely different for Tung Lam and his family. Since his birth, Tung Lam had lived with severe hearing loss. Even the most powerful hearing aids were not sufficient to enable him to hear well. And since there was no health insurance or state support for cochlear implants in Vietnam and his family could not afford to pay for them, it was clear that perhaps Tung Lam would never be able to hear well.

But then a fortunate turn of events meant that the boy was selected as a beneficiary of the HearVietnam aid project along with nine other children. The Hear the World Foundation and the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss entered into a project partnership to provide the full spectrum of services required for a young child with significant hearing loss to learn to listen and speak. The Hear the World Foundation donated the latest cochlear implants to these children, as well as the cost of the associated surgeries, one year of auditory-verbal therapy, and 15 years of product support and audiological care. 

Project Success Thanks to a Strong Partner and a Holistic Funding Approach

Hear the World Foundation reports that the success of the CI project in Vietnam is largely owed to its project partner: the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss. The “organization prepared and managed the project meticulously on the ground and spent nine years building up the necessary expertise in audiological care and auditory-verbal therapy in the country to guarantee language assistance and audiological follow-up care for the children, in addition to the donation of the implants and cost of the surgeries.” Thanks to a holistic project approach, Hear the World Foundation says, the beneficiary children not only had CIs successfully fitted and activated, as well as auditory-verbal therapy enabling them to acquire language skills, but continue to receive audiological care. This will allow them to benefit from the donation in the long term.

Source: Hear the World Foundation

Images/Media: YouTube, Hear the World Foundation