In January of 2005, Dave Carr and a team of hearing professionals traveled to Fuzhou Province in China to provide hearing healthcare for about 275 children. Dave and the others, who had volunteered their skills and time, joined with the international organization CompassionNet and traveled with hearing devices donated by the Starkey Hearing Foundation. Many of these young people lived in orphanages and attended schools for disabled children. It was not uncommon for parents to abandon their children and place them in government facilities if families lacked the resources to care for these children.
Working in freezing temperatures with no available heat in the orphanages, the team screened the children and fit them for hearing devices. Many of these young patients were thrilled when they discovered that they could hear their own voices and the sounds around them. Their ages ranged from 18 months through 20 years.
When the team from CompassionNet boarded their bus after their 10-day stay in Fuzhou, dozens of children surrounded the vehicle, and reaching out their hands in gratitude, touched the hands of the volunteers who helped them hear. “They just didn’t want us to go,” Dave recalled later. “It was the most amazing experience.”