Sound Seekers (formally known as the Commonwealth Society for the Deaf) is a British charity which works to improve the lives of deaf children and children suffering from ear disease in the developing countries of the Commonwealth of Nations. It provides specialist equipment, training and support to some of the poorest countries of the world, where people with the 'hidden disability' of deafness may otherwise not receive the help they need.
Sound Seekers at work
It is estimated that more than 120 million people across the world – half of whom are children – suffer from preventable hearing impairment. 255 million people suffer moderate or worse hearing impairment, In developing countries, these people often have no access to basic hearing assessment, treatment, medicines or even transport to what limited facilities there are – let alone hearing aids. The first contact they might have with any kind of audiological specialist is sometimes provided by a Sound Seekers project.
Sound Seekers works in the following ways:
- Establishing and improving audiology services in developing countries of the Commonwealth to screen for, and treat, hearing loss and ear disease
- Providing HARK! (Hearing Assessment and Research Centre) mobile earcare clinics which deliver outreach audiology and ear disease treatment services as part of community healthcare programmes
- Supplying support to schools and associations for the deaf
- Training rural clinic technicians in audiology and audiology equipment maintenance, including the maintenance of hearing aids
- Informing rural communities about 'good ear health'
Sound Seekers has supported work all over the Commonwealth from Bangladesh to Barbados, Ghana, Jamaica, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and more. They have recently established a major earcare project in Sierra Leone, and have recently extended their HARK mobile clinic programme to India and The Gambia.
Sound Seekers, formerly known as The Commonwealth Society for the Deaf, sprang from humble beginnings in 1959, initiated by Lady Templer, the wife of the Governor of Malaya (now Malaysia), whose time there inspired her to assemble a group of ENT surgeons, audiologists, and educators of the deaf. She convinced them to travel back with her to Malaya to offer their help to children affected by hearing loss and ear disease.The first thirty years of the Society’s existence saw it operate at a comparatively low-level of activity, carrying out focussed pieces of research into deafness and sending small working groups of volunteers overseas to provide several weeks of practical assistance per year.In 1991 the Society launched it’s Audiological Maintenance Training (AMT) course, and began to develop larger, lasting and sustainable projects in partnership with overseas agencies and governments.
- Judith Roberts
- Ivan Tucker OBE PhD Hon Educational Adviser
Hon Treasurer Soren Presser-Velder
- Dr Elwina Timehin MBChB MRCP MSc
- Michael Nolan PhD
- Dr Hamid Daya BSc FRCS(ORL)
- Dr John Fincham PGCE BA(Hons) PhD
- Dermot Dougan BSc