“Refreshing,” said Benjamin Thompson ’18. “Incredible,” said Eun “Rudi” Kim ’18. “Joyful,” said Susanna Marshall ’18. The experience of providing hearing health care to patients in rural Guatemala impacted each of the three doctor of audiology students in a unique way. Pacific’s audiology program partnered with Entheos Audiology Cooperative to send a team of 30 volunteers, including audiologists and audiology students, to Panajachel, Guatemala.
“It’s my first time in Guatemala and I didn’t really know what to expect,” Kim said. “So, I came here with an open mind. It’s a beautiful country and people are so receptive. I just feel really grateful to be here; to be part of this team.”
Marshall also expressed gratitude at having the opportunity to work with this team. She elaborates, “Every single one of the audiologists on this trip are amazing. Each one of them brings different skills and different knowledge. They are all incredible teachers as well. […] It was an honor to be able to work with them as a student; to be given that opportunity.”
Entheos is committed to taking hearing health care to patients who otherwise would not have access to these services. Their international outreach has included sending teams of volunteers to Haiti, Jordan and Zambia. Marshall shares, “For some of the individuals we helped, some of the children for example, we gave them the chance to learn spoken language that they wouldn’t have had otherwise. The joy on their faces was really obvious. Even though there is a language barrier, to see them smile when they could hear with the hearing aids, that says it all and there are no words needed for that.” Thompson adds, “There’s a lot to smile about.”
For Thompson, the trip reinforced that there is a marriage of art and science in the profession of audiology. He explains, “There is a science of what we do and there is an art of what we do. Each professional brings their own artistic perspective and way that they approach communication or a hearing aid fitting. They all reach very similar end goal. It’s nice to realize that there truly is an art in this profession and there is an art in the sciences.”
Kim, Marshall and Thompson are thankful for all the support that made this trip possible. Marshall adds, “Thank you to University of the Pacific for all your support and the training you’ve given me.”
By Anne Marie H. Bergthold