Audiology students make today matter

Posted on September 14, 2016

Many people are in the wrong profession and maybe some of the problems and uproars of our times result from that. 'Love what you do, do what you love' may sound like a cliché, yet one can agree that it is rewarding to do what you are passionate about. At the end of the day, even though you are exhausted you are fulfilled.

A project led by Prof De Wet Swanepoel from the Department of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology at the University of Pretoria (UP) recently donated two hearing aids to children in Mamelodi through a sponsorship by the Swedish distributor of the hearing aid company Phonak. The donation formed part of the Department's community service initiative that is done in combination with a research project on screening hearing loss at early childhood development centres in underprivileged communities in Mamelodi. This social impact project was made possible by UP, Innovation EdgehearScreen and the NEA foundation.

The fitting of the hearing aids for the children was facilitated by Ms Shouneez Yousuf-Hussein, an Audiologist and doctoral student, who is managing the project at the grassroots level. Assisting Ms Yousuf-Hussein were five fourth-year UP Audiology students, Ms Danielle Minnaar, Ms Tanith van Wyk, Ms Chavonee Foord, Ms Fatima Mohamed and Ms Meghan Pike.

Regarding their reason for choosing to study Audiology, the five students were in complete agreement – they want to change lives and make a difference.  'I have always wanted to work in a profession where I can make a difference. Studying Audiology gives me the platform to do that.  Hearing is important and if I can do something to help people who have hearing loss then I am fulfilled,' says Ms Pike. Ms Minaar says that being able to give someone the chance to hear is life-changing, not only for the person, but also for yourself.

They explain that it is easy for people who can hear to take that ability for granted. This only changes when one realises the impact that hearing loss has on someone else's life. Ms Mohamed says: 'Hearing has an impact on all aspects of a person's life, especially children. If you can help them hear better, it will change their whole life. They will perform better academically and will therefore be better equipped to pursue their dreams.' Seeing the look on someone's face when they hear for the first time in a long time, or for the first time ever, is one of the reasons these students are pursuing a profession in audiology.

Ms Yousuf-Hussein emphasised the importance of making a difference in people's lives through the work she does. Through managing the project, she has seen many children who have access to nothing. It has been heart-breaking to go out into a community that has such problems. 'Giving them this opportunity is rewarding,' she says.  

One can only imagine how much better the world would be if we all loved what we did and did what we loved. These UP students are making a difference in people's lives by improving their ability to hear and this is how they Make today matter.


- Author Mikateko Mbambo

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