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Orangeville clinic brings gift of hearing to Rwanda

Orangeville hearing clinic Hear Well Be Well took that adage to heart recently by taking used hearing aids otherwise destined for the landfill and delivering them those in need on the other side of the world.

Co-CEOs John and Kathleen Tiede have had a relationship with the medical community in Rwanda for many years. They’ve made numerous trips to Kigali, Rusheshe and Hope Village to deliver and dispense hearing aids to survivors of the genocide.

Used or previously owned hearing aids are unable to be sold or even given away in Ontario, and instead many end up in the trash. Most, however, can be refurbished, and so the clinic has made a practice of keeping used hearing aids, sanitizing and refurbishing them.

This year, the Tiedes returned to Kigali, along with mentoring and training from the clinic, and delivered 300 hearing aids.

“Going to Rwanda for the fifth time was as rewarding as the first time I went in 2010,” Kathleen Tiede said in a news release. “The orphaned genocide survivors we work with are resilient, grateful, hopeful and creative. While some are experiencing prosperity in their lives, some still need help.”

Beltone Canada provided 300 previously owned hearing aids for Hear Well Be Well to distribute in Rwanda. Field manager Nancy Robinson and hearing instrument specialist Jotham Pratt joined John Tiede, as well as a hearing instrument specialist, working with medical personnel on site at the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK).

“I felt very privileged to be part of the team attending the hospital and seeing patients directly alongside nursing and ENT (ear, nose, throat) staff,” said Robinson. “It was incredible that we were able to offer this kind of health care to patients in need. There’s very little access to hearing aids there.”

In addition to hearing testing and fitting hearing aids, Robinson, Pratt and John Tiede trained hospital staff to do these activities and use software that facilitates properly programmed and fitted hearing aids.

“I was honoured to share this heart-warming experience with Nancy and Jotham,” John Tiede said. “Having members of Hear Well Be Well help in dispensing the hearing aids made a huge difference in the number of people we could help each day.”

Kathleen Tiede and two other members of Hear Well Be Well also brought $14,000 in donations from Canada for deposit into a micro-financing bank to support small and new businesses.

Source: Orangeville