Maidstone Freemason James Owen has joined a mission to Yerevan in Armenia, to provide hearing technology and expertise to people in need.
James, a Past Master of Chillington Manor Lodge No 4649, founded Owen Hearing in 2009. It provides hearing tests, private hearing aids, tinnitus management, wax management, noise protection and all the accessories to help those that are hard of hearing.
It is the first time a UK team has fitted devices in an overseas mission as part of the worldwide Starkey Foundation initiative - run by manufacturer Starkey Hearing Technologies - which has provided over 1.9 million hearing devices in more than 100 countries.
Together with ten other hearing professionals and a seven-strong Starkey team from the UK head office, James left for Yerevan on 13th October 2017.
This trip includes the actual fitting of the hearing instruments, counselling and aftercare, working closely with a local medical team.
Before he left James said the mission is one of the most worthwhile things he had ever been involved in: “Meeting the people of Yerevan and those trying to help them on the ground was a truly humbling and inspiring experience.
He continued: “I am really looking forward to this next stage where we will be able to actually fit the devices and ‘gift’ better hearing to people who really need it.”
Providing access to hearing care opens up a whole new world of opportunity. It connects individuals to life and helps them accomplish more than they ever thought possible.
Hearing aids help bridge the gap at school, work and life for children and adults with hearing loss. The Foundation works to empower the people it helps toward a better life and knowing how they too can improve the lives of others.
By freely sharing its expertise and time Owen Hearing aims to help establish an ongoing community-based hearing service in Yerevan.
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.