A small device for equal opportunities
For many children entering school is the most exciting experience of their childhood. The feeling of entering a classroom, meeting the teacher for the first time, and finally learning to write, count and read are memories to cherish for a lifetime. But eight-year-old Ayesha started first grade with a big challenge. Her speech was riddled with stuttering, and her weak hearing did not allow her to follow the class.
Ayesha could not understand the teachers‘ instructions. It was difficult for her to make friends and learning at home was only possible when she managed to copy the texts from her classmates after the lessons. This was often accompanied by being mocked and ridiculed by her classmates. Ayesha's parents knew about their daughter‘s hearing problems. But due to the family's financial situation, they could not afford to buy a hearing aid for her or cover the medical costs incurred.
Vision and hearing screening
On November 16, 2022, Ayesha received promising news. She was one of the students participating in the vision and hearing screening initiated and conducted at the Government Girls Primary School Thekal Payan in Peshawar.“We believe that comprehensive health screenings are essential for identifying health issues early on and providing students with the care and support they need to thrive both inside and outside school.”, Husan Taj, Principal
The doctor who examined Ayesha clarified that her stuttering was due to her severe hearing disorder in both the ears. And he explained that this could be solved through a hearing aid. As advised on that day, the family went to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist afterwards. The specialist treated Ayesha's ear to prepare it for a hearing aid.
The beginning of a new journey
Ayesha was excited when she learned that a hearing aid could improve her hearing and speech. After receiving the device, her school life changed for the better.“After I received my hearing aid, my school life changed. In the past, I could hear and understand only half of my lessons. Now, with my hearing aid, I can hear the teacher more clearly and understand the lessons. I also have developed a circle of friends which I was lacking in the past.”, Ayesha Bibi
Hearing aids are often critical to improving the learning outcomes of children with hearing problems. A classroom is a challenging listening environment where it is important to understand the teacher‘s voice and focus on learning. Ayesha‘s teacher noticed significant changes in her behaviour and academic performance since she received her hearing aid.“Ayesha used to struggle to follow the lessons and would often miss important information, which sometimes resulted in frustration. She was quiet and reserved in class and did not interact with her peers. Now she is much more engaged and enthusiastic about learning, and she participates in class discussions and activities.”, Saeeda Jan, Ayesha‘s teacher
The school's health screenings happen every six months to ensure all newly enrolled students can participate in the vision and hearing screenings.