Medics test hearing for Iraqi children
January 7, 2009
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq - Approximately 15 Samawa schoolchildren received their first hearing exams at Contingency Operating Base Adder Dec 28.
The Soldiers assigned to the 27th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, identified candidates for the exam during a visit to the al-Amal School for the Deaf, which is located in the town of Ar-Rumythan, about an hour north of Samawah in southern Iraq.
"I hope we can continue working with the local populace," said Staff Sgt. Heidi Barber, a combat medic from Fort Worth, Texas. "Essentially, we are all here for one common goal, and that is to make Iraq better."
Once the candidates were chosen, the Soldiers offered the children and their parents a visit to COB Adder's audiology facility to test the children's hearing. Although the facility is for routine American Soldiers' hearing exams, the team expanded their services to analyze the hearing for the Iraqi children.
Capt. Ramona Toussaint from Brooklyn, N.Y., and Capt. Lori August from Austin, Texas, examined the children's ears for abnormalities or inconsistencies. Barber and Spc. Alexandra Olivares performed a series of routine hearing tests.
"(This) was a great and rewarding event," said Olivares, a combat medic from Brooklyn, N.Y. "I had an incredible time working with members of the local community."
One after another, the children went into the audiology booth for tests involving the detection of tones of various frequencies or pitches. The results were compiled into a detailed profile for each child, and the audiologist identified candidates for hearing aids.
The parents said they were incredibly grateful and hopeful because this was the first time their children received hearing tests.
"It was so nice working with the team and helping these young ladies," said Albert Hadi, a member of the Muthanna Provincial Reconstruction Team. "I wish you could have seen their happy faces when they left the base."
In addition to the hearing exams, Soldiers from the 27th BSB also provided the girls with various school supplies and toys donated by families in the United States.