Decent hearing is vitalRefugees with a hearing loss, caused by the war they fled, are struggling to settle and understand the asylum process. Abdal Rahman Saka, a 27-year-old Syrian refugee, got the help he needed to overcome his deafness, thanks to the Danish Refugee Council Greece Protection Team in Trikala.
The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 15% of any population consists of persons with disabilities, with potentially higher proportions among populations that have fled war, persecution or natural disaster. It is believed that there may be over six million persons with disabilities displaced worldwide.
”I am no different than other people here. Everyone has their own obstacles. Mine used to be deafness,” Saka says. He is currently staying at the refugee accommodation site in Trikala, Central Greece.
“It all happened too sudden.”
In 2014, Saka was imprisoned and tortured for four months because he refused to serve in the Syrian Army. After four months in the prison, a judge ruled that he was innocent and he was released. He then moved to territories that were not under the Government control. But here he had to deal with bombings.
"I learned to open my mouth and hold my ears when the explosions came. It was to cope with the pressure waves. But on that day it happened all too sudden. I was lucky to stay alive,” Saka explains. The nearby explosion left Saka with a hearing loss of 40% in his left ear, and a complete deafness in his right. He fled Syria together with his family in the beginning of January 2016 due to the insecurity and the destruction of his home and has been on the flight ever since.
DRC Protection staff, with the financial support of European Commission, made it possible for Saka to visit a specialized audiologist and hearing instrument specialist. A full hearing test, audiogram and hearing aid were provided to Saka who is now able to hear and so maintain a decent life.
The hearing aid has improved his daily interactions and allowed him to feel comfortable in communicating with other people. He is extremely happy with the device. ”As soon as I got back to the camp, I could distinguish who were actually speaking to me, rather than being limited to a vague assumptions about each voice I heard,” Saka says.
DRC Greece has been present in Trikala since September 2016 providing legal counselling and information to asylum seekers, and assistive tools to extremely vulnerable individuals, e.g. people with disabilities identified through the spot protection monitoring.