Our local Watsi rep shared that Monica strains to hear and requests to pull down my mask so that she can read my lips and follow the conversation. She is 33 years old and has had hearing loss for 8 years now. This condition has given her torment, pain, and driven her to near depression. She is unable to hear properly and occasionally gets irritating buzzing noises. She requires bilateral hearing aids that will help her to regain her sense of hearing and boost her self-esteem.
In August 2012, it was all blissful and love was in the air for Monica, she shared. She had just settled down into marriage with the love of her life. She remembers vividly on the 23rd day of that month, Monica was doing her daily chores when she felt a billow of wind blowing through her ears. This marked the beginning of her hearing problem and an end to a normal life.
At first, Monica thought it was just wind but she started getting nervous when her ears began producing endless buzzing noises that caused her discomfort. She visited a health center in her home town in Mwea where she was reviewed and treated. However, due to the severity of the condition, doctors referred her to a facility with ENT specialists. She has since visited several facilities but the condition keeps recurring.
At one point, Monica felt that medical interventions were not working and opted to abandon seeking health care and try prayers. In 2016, she even tried to assembled elders from both sides of the family to help break what they believed was a curse. Nothing worked. Seeing their frustration, a friend of the family referred them to Watsi’s Medical Partner Care Center Kijabe Hospital earlier this year. They were unable to visit the facility because they didn’t have money. But in the first week of September, a friend volunteered to give her fare and a little money for a consultation. She was reviewed by the ENT team at the hospital and hearing aids are recommended.
Monica is married to a supportive husband who has always stood by her, even at moments when her marriage was going through turmoil. Together, they have three children aged between 4-9 years. They currently live in Ruai in a single room rental house that costs $20 a month. She is a manual laborer who earns daily wages depending on the availability of work. She told us that her income is unpredictable and at times, she goes for days without earning. Her husband works in building sites. On a good day, he makes an average of $4. They depend on this income to pay rent, upkeep for their kids, and medical trips for Monica. They are requesting assistance to make this treatment possible.
Monica says, “This condition has frustrated me to a point of threatening my marriage. I know the aids will help to restore my hearing. The buzzing noises are so irritating and uncomfortable. At some point, I felt so low and disappointed that I wanted doctors to shut down my hearing so that I cannot hear the noises.”