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PO Box 2255
Davenport IA 52809-2255
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Vital Hearing Assistance

Fitting People with Life-Changing Hearing Aids

Meet: Sonia!

One of her many talents: Change leader within the young adult deaf community

Photo of a woman at the hearing aid program

New hearing aids: Sonia, a young adult who has been deaf since birth, has a job in a sheltered workshop. In the summer of 2015, when she saw the Centro Maya Project volunteer speech pathologist, she immediately signed, “I need new hearing aids!” The other six hearing impaired young adults at the sheltered workshop wanted nothing to do with hearing aids, but within two weeks of Sonia sporting her new, black, perfectly programmed ReSound hearing aids, all the young adults came in for new hearing aids!

Keeping people safe: As a change leader in her small deaf community, Sonia has helped bring acceptance of technology which can keep deaf people safer. The hearing aids might not ever give them the ability to hear well enough to speak, but they help people hear a car coming down the road or hear other environmental sounds that keep them safe.

Donate: $40 pays for one hearing aid ear mold so that a donated hearing aid can be expertly fitted to an individual.


Meet: Hearing Aid Program

Serving children: The hearing aid program began in 2002 when Centro Maya Project volunteer Jeanne Nakamaru, a speech pathologist from the Iowa-Illinois Quad Cities, visited a center for children with disabilities in San Juan La Laguna, Sololá, Guatemala. During repeated visits, she fit hearing-impaired children with used, donated hearing aids. She first tested hearing with a portable device and made temporary ear molds. From these temporary molds, Melvyn Mejia, an audiologist in Antigua, Guatemala, made permanent ear molds for a modest fee.

photo of a woman fitting hearing aids

Now serving adults: As word of the program spread and resources permitted, Jeanne began fitting adults with hearing aids as well. An active volunteer program in the United States collects serviceable, used behind-the-ear hearing aids that Jeanne takes to Guatemala. In addition, Centro Maya Project is grateful to the GN ReSound company for donating 100 new hearing aids.

Expanding service calendar: For many years, Centro Maya Project maintained the hearing aid program only during summer months when Jeanne Nakamaru could travel to Guatemala. Now, with Regina Yost as program assistant, the program operates year-round.

Expanding service area: Since 2010, Centro Maya Project operates the hearing aid program from the Clinica San Juanerita, a medical clinic in San Juan La Laguna, Sololá, operated by the Organization for the Development of the Indigenous Maya (ODIM). Not only does Regina, as program assistant, work in the clinic, she willingly travels to mountain villages and other nearby communities to check on patients, enabling Centro Maya Project to expand its service area.

Donate: Contact us to find out how to donate serviceable used hearing aids.