May 17, 2006
David Carr keeps in his wallet a photograph of a Mexican woman and her small, prematurely born son. The mother is smiling broadly as she holds her tiny infant. It is a touching moment, Carr knows. And although he knows their story, he does not know the names of the woman and her child in the photo.
That's because Carr, a licensed hearing aid dispenser, joined several other audiologists in a recent mission to Reynosa and Monterrey, Mexico, to fit hearing aids to 800 hearing-impaired adults and children, including the child in the photo. Carr helped the child, who is now four, hear his mother's voice for the first time. The mother explained through a translator that although she had nothing of value to offer to Carr, she wanted him to have the photo of herself with her newborn son — one of her most precious possessions.
"It was an absolutely amazing experience," Carr said recently. "There were hundreds of people — many of whom had traveled for a day to reach our facilities and receive the gift of hearing"
He added, "There are no words to express the joy that appears on a child's face when they hear the voices of their parents for the first time."
Carr, the owner of McGuire's Hearing Aids, took part in the one-week mission, working nearly round-the-clock with other audiologists, and fitted hearing aids to crowds of impoverished hearing-impaired adults and children.
McGuire's has five locations: Southampton, Riverhead, and Greenport, as well as Patchogue and The Bronx.
Here in the U.S., the month of May has been designated Better Hearing Month, and McGuire's is offering free hearing evaluations at each of its five locations. "When you've met children and adults who live in a world of silence because of economic factors, it reminds us how very fortunate we are to live in a society that provides for these basic health needs," Carr said.