Today a network of volunteers in India who support people living with hearing loss have become part of a global online community. This has been made possible by MED-EL, a global leader in hearing implant technology, who recently made its mentoring initiative Hearpeers a global initiative.
Under the theme “Together for a Hearing Future”, people living with hearing loss can connect to the online community of volunteers who themselves are hard of hearing and use hearing implants such as cochlear implants.
The Hearpeers Mentors are more important than ever, as hearing loss is on the rise and public awareness is low. In India alone, an estimated 95 million people are living with this invisible disability and more than 25,000 children born every year requiring treatment for permanent hearing loss. If left untreated it has a significant impact on quality of life, employment and health.
The Hearpeers mentors: the core of a global, vibrant community
In India, the Hearpeers Mentors are volunteers who are eager to give something back to improve the lives of others. They offer their time to provide one-to-one support to a range of people including those recently diagnosed with hearing loss, their relatives, and people who have recently started to use a hearing implant. They also share similar experiences of life with hearing loss and to help provide answers to individual questions about life with a hearing implant.
Sam, an Indian adult cochlear implant user from Kochi says, “I got implanted as an adult and felt the need of self-help support group, and myself being a seeker with many questions, I appreciate the creation of a self-help support group for individuals with hearing loss, especially adults. Hearpeers is a great platform and I, as a mentor feel empowered to reach out to the community and help them in their hearing journeys for a better quality of life.
Similarly, Khyati, a mother of a child with bilateral cochlear implants from New Delhi says, “Since I have gone through an emotional, but fruitful journey to help my child shine in this world, I would like to offer my support to make life better for other parents of children with hearing loss. I have understood the value of hearing- sound is so precious. I want to share my experience and help others discover success and happiness in their hearing journeys.”
Mentors like Sam and Khyati live in 15 countries including India, the UK, the US, Australia, the Philippines and Germany. The mentors speak multiple languages and with a new interactive website, connecting to someone who understands more about life with hearing loss has now become even easier.
“Our mission at MED-EL has always been to improve the quality of life for people living with hearing loss. For more than 15 years our team in India has provided services and support to our users; now we’re excited to be able to extend this by helping people to connect to Hearpeers mentors – not just here in India but also across the globe. We know that people really value being able to talk to others who have been on the same hearing journey, who have similar experiences, and who can share tips along the way” says Tejinder Singh, Director, MED-EL India Private Limited.
If you think that you have hearing loss and want to talk to someone who understands, you can connect to the global MED-EL Hearpeers community or Mentors in India at www.hearpeers.com/en_in. You can also connect with the Indian Hearpeers Mentors through the Toll-Free number: 1800111636