Sharing the Gift of Hearing

February marked the launch of the “Hear Kenya!” program, the largest initiative AKP has ever been a part of.

BruceBlaus CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED

A person with profound hearing loss will not hear any speech, and only very loud sounds, if at all. They are often said to be “deaf.” A cochlear implant can help children with severe to profound hearing loss — even children as young as nine months old.

Unlike a hearing aid, a cochlear implant does not make sounds louder; rather, it sends sound signals through electrodes. Sounds are converted into electrical impulses, which are interpreted by the brain, aiming to replace the cochlea’s function. When a child can hear sound, they can learn speech.

AKP has joined forces with the Baker Institute for Children With Hearing Loss (housed at Stanford University), MED-EL’s Hearing Healthcare Alliance, the U.S. Embassy in Kenya and our long-term partner Project C.U.R.E., to support the work of Kenya’s leading hearing healthcare professionals—ENT (ears, nose and throat) surgeons, audiologists and speech therapists.

The Hear Kenya! program’s goals are lofty. For 2024, efforts will be focused on Nakuru County, including:

  • Fund cochlear implantation for 10 children.
  • Ship 15 containers of medical equipment to enable newborn hearing screening and diagnostic audiology testing, fit a cochlear implant surgical center, equip speech therapy clinics and more.
  • Host a customized Listen to Me! Conference for families and professionals in Kenya in September 2024.

The in-kind value of the medical equipment and supplies, including the cochlear implants, is over US$6 million.

The first child in line for the implant surgery, pictured above, underwent her operation on February 16. For the first time, she can now hear sound … including her parents’ voices.

We can’t be everywhere or tackle every need, but for 10 young children in rural Kenya with profound hearing loss, this year will change their lives forever. Please stay tuned for progress updates as this major initiative gets underway.