Local Audiologist Changes Lives In Africa

We recently told you about a local audiologist who has extended his practice far beyond Washington recently traveling to Africa to give people the gift of sound.

This was Dr. Aiello's second mission trip with the Starkey Hearing Foundation.

The first one took him to Mexico, this one Africa and it was so rewarding he is now pledging his life to humanitarian efforts.

Dr. Aiello and a team of three other doctors from around the United States fit over 3,000 people in Kenya and Rwanda with hearing aids.

Aiello said they saw 600 to 800 people per day for more than a week and people waited patiently for hours to be seen.

Aiello said the majority of the people he fitted with aids aren't deaf they just don't have the resource to assist their hearing.

He said the most incredible experience is putting a hearing aid on a child who has been classified as deaf, with their mother sitting right next to them.

"You have to realize that's there contact, that is how they communicate and they've not been able to communicate at that level since the child was born. Many of these kids were teenagers they never developed speech and language skills, they never developed normal communication skills and all these things are critically important to being a human and connecting with your world," said Aiello.

He said he never imagined a local Kennewick boy like himself would be traveling around the world changing people's lives.