Tuesday, August 25, 2015

We Are Unicorns: The International Audiology Seminar

Friday August 21, 2015

Today was a big day! We presented at the second International Audiology Seminar put on by Northwestern University SAA and Vive Peru.

Of course the day started with breakfast. (Toasted bread with cheese, fried plantains, cheese, tart juice, and coffee.)

We made our way over to the university at 8:30 to help the other Vive Peru employees and students get set up. Ultimately the turn out was over 100 people; comprised of medical professionals, teachers, and the general public!

Rachel began with an introduction to audiology telling them about what audiologists do and basic testing techniques. Next, I presented on conservation techniques. While conservation is important for everyone, we felt this topic was particularly important due to the limited audiology care available in remote areas of the country. I reviewed OSHA and NIOSH recommendations for noise exposure, what sounds may be harmful to hearing and ways to prevent noise damage. Mary Catherine presented on early identification of children with hearing loss. She reviewed milestones that parents should be looking for in their developing child, and the appropriate steps to take if a parent suspects their child may have a hearing loss. 

We then took a morning break. Beef and chicken empanadas and Inca Cola were served. Inca Cola is the color of Mountain Dew but tastes like bubblegum! It is a more subtle flavor of bubblegum than we expected, and we were pleasantly surprised!

The second morning session started with a presentation on communication strategies by Kelli. Learning good communication strategies such as reducing background noise, facing the person who is speaking, and speaking in a clear, elevated voice may be the only options available for those who can not afford other treatment options. Then, Rachel spoke about teaching students with hearing loss. She reviewed common signs that a teacher should look for that would indicate a student may have a hearing loss. She then reviewed strategies to help that student in the classroom, such as preferential seating, using visual cues and reducing background noise as much as possible. The morning session ended with general ear healthcare by Mary Catherine. She reviewed proper ear cleaning techniques, protecting against head trauma and  the importance of maintaining overall health in preserving your hearing. 

We took a break for lunch at home. Mercy prepared soup, a fish with cream sauce dish and served strawberry jello. :)

The second session began with my presentation on tinnitus. The etiology, evaluation and rehabilitation options were discussed. Low cost options such as stress relief via mediation or yoga and reducing caffeine and alcohol intake were reviewed. The final presentation was a series of case studies by Kelli. She reviewed the signs and symptoms of presbycusis, meineres disease, acoustic neuroma, tinnitus and auditory neuropathy disorder. These cases can act as a reference for the doctors and nurses in future diagnoses. The seminar concluded with an hour and a half of round table questions from the audience. The audience showed particular interest in prevention, general healthcare and conservation and a lively discussion ensued. Each participant was given a certificate for completing the seminar, similar to continuing education hours. 

A class of nursing students
       Just a few of the many people who came out for the seminar!                                                                    Kelli signing certificates

It was wonderful to see this seminar grow so much in a single year. The attendance doubled, those who attended included even more medical professionals and they showed a sincere interest in bringing audiologic care to their communities. Members of the audience spoke to our group about expanding next year's trip to include outreach to their local communities, schools and medical facilities. We are extremely excited to see the advancements that will be made in another year's time. 

It was a productive, exciting but also exhausting day for all of us. We headed home for dinner and to pack for our adventure to Chachapoyas this weekend! {Side note for those who are concerned about my marathon training- I got in 16 laps around the church across the street, which I think is only around 4 miles- but a run is a run! :)}

Dinner was pasta and mandarin oranges. 

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