Students from Starkey University’s Entrepreneurial Audiology Program received the opportunity of a lifetime when Bill Austin invited them, along with several Starkey Hearing Technologies staff members, to join him and the mission team on an unprecedented 20,000 hearing aid mission in Peru.
Early in August, Starkey University students and recent graduates Kayla Gaschler, Meghan Brady, Spencer Lifferth and Kyle Clifton and Starkey Hearing Technologies team members Sara Burdak, Carolyn Pinkerton, Tim North and Rainy Yelich spent three days fitting hearing aids to people in need in Iquitos, Peru.
“Hundreds of people came out each day to receive the gift of hearing; I was blown away,” said Gaschler.
The students experienced children hearing for the first time and the impact of entire families changing by opening up the world of sound. Gaschler and the other students felt the mission strengthened their commitment to helping others.
“The mission experience has really opened my eyes,” continued Gaschler. “I would love to participate in more missions and help in my own local community. You can do wonderful things in your own community.”
“Not only was this a great experience in terms of spending time with the Starkey U students and the Foundation team, but also it was a very moving few days of providing the gift of better hearing to a community of truly appreciative, amazing people,” reports Pinkerton, an audiologist on the Education and Training team.
The Starkey University team was able to fit a wide range of patients in Iquitos, some of them who were hearing sounds that they have not been able to hear for years. “It is truly amazing what a profound effect better hearing can have upon someone’s life. We were able to witness some incredible moments and are truly grateful for the opportunity,” reports Sara Burdak, Au.D, Senior Director of Education and Audiology at Starkey Hearing Technologies.
The Peru hearing aid mission highlighted an exciting and educational year for the Starkey University’s Entrepreneurial Audiology Program members. "The Starkey Entrepreneurial program has provided a wealth of knowledge on how to better understand our patients and customize amplification, in addition to topics including marketing, practice development and customer service," said Meghan Brady. "It has been wonderful participating in the Entrepreneurial program with other students from around the country. It’s always great to hear different perspectives and share professional advice and experiences with others. We’ve formed an amazing bond throughout our time in the Entrepreneurial program and on the Peru mission. We will definitely keep in touch and be great resources to each other throughout our careers.