All Ears Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

In a country gripped by intractable poverty the weakest are the hardest hit. Perhaps nobody is more vulnerable than the youngest and disabled. Deafness is one of the most severe and least recognised disabilities. When ears are injured or permanently harmed it can cause lifelong damage.

The effects, especially on children, can be devastating. In children it impairs development of language and speech which in turn can dramatically slow progress in education. In adults it causes vocational and economic difficulties, while in the elderly it leads to loneliness and neglect.

All Ears Cambodia (AEC) was created not merely to provide essential medical help but because it is a basic human right for all children and adults to be free to live in health, peace and dignity. It is the only aid organisation providing ear and hearing medical services for all Cambodians, from new-borns to the elderly. The organisation prides itself on its ability to build partnerships with government bodies and institutes, hospitals and schools, and the communities in which people live.
Target groups include:

  • Profoundly deaf children
  • Deaf-blind children
  • Orphans
  • Children infected with HIV
  • Former child labourers
  • Street children
  • Victims of domestic violence, or trafficking and prostitution
  • Poor communities within regions without any access to specialist health care

The AEC clinic in Phom Penh has proved invaluable, as it offers an unparalleled level of care that otherwise would be unavailable to local people. It provides ear health care and audiology services for anyone in need of help. Much of the medical work done revolves around helping those with ear infections, especially children. The team meets international standards, treating ear disease using advanced examination and therapeutic techniques.

The clinic offers a complete range of diagnostic services from basic hearing tests to highly specialised ones such as those needed for babies. Deafness often cannot be treated by medicine or surgery. Sometimes a person needs to wear a hearing aid to help them hear well. AEC provides a complete range of hearing instruments for all patient needs. It has a fully equipped ear mould laboratory and a hearing aid repair service on site.
Access to specialist care however remains a critical problem. The country is largely rural, and most Khmers live simple lives in scattered villages. Infrastructure is poor and transportation for many is inadequate, impractical or unaffordable. In response to this, AEC has pushed its capabilities beyond the boundaries of Phnom Penh. It has launched outreach clinics to bring healthcare to those most in need. The team works in partnership with 11 international aid organisations, 17 local NGOs and 3 public hospitals. It operates in 6 provinces and within 3 municipalities of Cambodia.
Please see their website for more information.

 AfID volunteer and All Ears Cambodia