Resource centre offers timely assistance to learner with hearing impairment

Mohamed during the hearing aid fitting session at the Educational Assessment Resource Centre (EARC) managed by Lutheran World Federation (LWF). Photo: LWF/A.Mahat

Losing the ability to hear, especially for school-going children, can be a devastating experience as it interferes with their learning progress, ruins their social interactions and damages self-esteem. This was the case for Mohamed Abdikadir, a young learner from Dadaab refugee camp. Thankfully, the response from the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has shown that solutions can be found even for difficult situations.   


Mohamed Abdikadir is a 15-year-old deaf learner from Bidii Primary school in Hagadera Camp in Dadaab. “He didn’t seem to have any issues with hearing until he was eight years old, then I noticed that he was slow in responding when called. He would also ask for questions to be repeated or give contrary answers to what was asked,” says Fartun, Mohamed’s mother.


He was not paying attention to instructions. “He would routinely turn up the volume on the radio,” she says. He continued to experience progressive hearing loss in both ears every few years. He did not notice because it happened slowly. The sounds around him continued to soften and fade. Soon, his world would become quiet.


Consequently, Mohamed lost his confidence and found it hard to talk to his friends. He gave up trying to join family conversations and it was heart-breaking for his parents. At school, he faced difficulties socializing with others. He was discriminated against and bullied. None of his peers understood what it was like to be hearing impaired. They would make him uncomfortable being around them. Frustration affected his school performance and self-esteem.

Help on the way

Mohamed was referred to the Education Assessment and Resource Centre, or EARC, managed by Lutheran World Federation (LWF) for assessment and comprehensive audiology testing at the beginning of 2023. This was after teachers observed that he was struggling with classroom instructions. After preliminary investigations which entailed past medical history, family history, otoscopy and pure tone audiometry, he was diagnosed with bilateral severe permanent progressive hearing loss. This condition affects the inner ear and is caused by damage to the auditory hair cells that amplify sound waves.

It was a big shock to him and his parents. Their fears were confirmed following a comprehensive hearing evaluation carried out by the audiologist. When he was born, he had normal hearing ability and no one in their family was known to have hearing impairment.

Meaningful transformation

The hearing aids have helped him overcome different types of barriers and given him support and confidence to be able to communicate freely, improving academic performance, further enhancing social interaction and cognitive skills leading to overall success that will help shape his quality of life.

“Mohamed is improving well. He can effectively communicate with not only family members but everyone he meets. He is now able to be a part of a conversation and is more social.   He’s so much happier and less frustrated being able to communicate his wants and needs.” says Abdikadir, Mohamed’s father.

“I hope that this success story will spread awareness about early identification, intervention and the importance of timely specialized care so that any child with a hearing impairment can achieve successful inclusion and acceptance from the society,” says Catherine Njogu, LWF Audiologist based in Dadaab, Kenya.

LWF has established resource centres in Dagahaley, Hagadera and Ifo refugee camps. Field staff have specialized training and can support children with hearing impairment and help their parents or guardians to recognize causes, effects and find solutions to hearing challenges. Funded by EU Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), LWF continues to build the capacity of resource centres by procuring the best quality instruments and training staff in the latest approaches to physiotherapy, audiology and care for various disabilities.