Press Release

Breaking the Silence: Delivering Hearing Aids to Gaza

June 1, 2009 | Washington, DC – Anera (American Near East Refugee Aid) is pleased to announce that a shipment of 100 hearing aids, batteries, molding materials and audiology equipment has arrived in Gaza.

The hearing aids and batteries are destined for preschoolers in Anera’s Milk for Preschoolers Program. Hearing tests in 2007-8 found that nearly 300 children under five years old suffered from ear problems or hearing loss, mostly caused by untreated ear infections. Tests revealed that 100 needed hearing aids.

The audiology diagnostic equipment, hearing aids, batteries and ear mold supplies were delivered to Anera’s long-time Gaza partner organization, Atfaluna Society for the Deaf. Since 1992, Atfaluna has been the only institution in Gaza that is dedicated to working with deaf children.

Tight border controls in Gaza since 2006 have made it more difficult for Gaza organizations to obtain the equipment and materials needed for treating hearing impairments. “We have faced a lack of hearing aids and batteries,” said Ramadan, an audiologist at Atfaluna. “For about 18 months, hearing aid batteries were not allowed into Gaza so the hard-of-hearing who rely on hearing aids couldn’t use them any more.”

Audiologist Dr. Randa Mansour-Shousher of Toledo, Ohio, spearheaded a fundraising campaign and worked with fellow ear doctors and two generous hearing aid manufacturers to help Anera send the high quality devices to Gaza.

“I’m an audiologist and an American of Palestinian descent. Our parents raised us to try to personally succeed and help others,” explained Mansour-Shousher. “Realizing the need of the Palestinian children hit close to home, I felt I had a capacity to make a difference by obtaining the much-needed hearing aids and feel good about it.”

Hearing tests will be a permanent feature of Anera’s preschool milk program, which distributes fortified milk to more than 25,000 preschoolers. Teachers will screen children for hearing problems. Trained audiologists at Atfaluna will treat those with hearing loss or impairment.

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