Keith Stroud and Jeremy Stroud from Audibel Hearing Healthcare of La. travel to Africa to give the gift of hearing

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Keith Stroud, owner of Audibel Hearing Healthcare, testing a hearing aid on a Tanzanian woman during the mission trip in July.

Sharronz, a 25-year-old woman in Tanzania, had never heard the sound of rain which so often falls in her African city. She had never heard laughter or even the sound of her own voice, so when a team of volunteers fit her with a new hearing aid, she spent about 15 minutes making noises and kissing and hugging the volun­teers, according to Keith Stroud, the owner of Audibel Hearing Healthcare in Louisiana.

"People receiving the gift of hearing can be overwhelmed with the whole event," Stroud said of his July mission trip to Tanzania in East Africa. "The experience that we were part of is the whole reason we do what we do back here in the States." Stroud and his son, Jeremy, had joined the Starkey Hearing Foundation, an organization that provides hearing aids and hear­ing programs globally, on the four-day trip to Tanzania. The group fit more than 2,300 hear­ing aids for children and adults in need in Arusha, Moshi and Mtwara in Tanzania.

"We were so excited to join Starkey Hearing Foundation on this mission," Stroud said. "The Foundation uses hearing as a vehicle to reflecting caring and change lives around the world. We at Audibel Hearing Health­care are honored to do our part in delivering the gift of hearing to those in need."

In 2012, the foundation sent teams of audiologists, hear­ing professionals and staff to 65 cities in 25 countries, includ­ing Ethiopia, Lebanon, China, Ghana and Nigeria. Total, the foundation fit more than 131,000 aids, up from President Clinton's Global Initiative goal of fitting 100,000 hearing aids annually. As part of the Clinton Global Initiative, the Starkey Hearing Foundation has pledged to fit one million hearing aids this decade.

"The team is excited for the new opportunities and ad­ventures 2013 will bring," said Bill Austin, founder of Starkey Hearing Foundation. "We are passionate about making a dif­ference in people's lives here and around the world by show­ing them that we care. Watching somebody light up as they hear for the first time is an incredi­ble experience, and sharing that moment is something you never forget."

"I will definitely go again," Stroud said. "This partic­ular mission was my third with the Starkey Hearing Foundation. The reason I wanted to sponsor this time was to share the gift with son, Jeremy Stroud, and pay tribute to my family for serving Louisiana for 55 years."

"To be able to give back is an honor and something we en­joy immensely," he said. "Add­ing to that, being able to share these moments with my family was priceless. To see the culture and scenery of different coun­tries has lasting effects for all."