Some leisure and some clinic

By Lexi:
Our time in India has taught us to expect the unexpected, and today was no different. This morning about half of our team woke up feeling sick. While Dr. Krishnan took them all to the doctor, some of us went to buy them Gatorade and crackers. Those of us who were feeling well immediately wanted to do what we could for those who were ill. This is just one small example of how we have gone from strangers to friends in such a short span of time.
When everyone was back from the doctor, those who were sick went to Gita Mam’s house (Dr. Mrs. Krishnan’s sister) who watched over them as the rest of us continued on for the planned activities for the day. We were all glad to know that our friends were in the best of care, which allowed us to enjoy our day knowing that they were going to be okay.
We had an amazing blend of cultural and clinical activities. We started off our adventure by going to Tippu Sultan’s summer palace. We were greeted by a tour guide who was gracious enough to take us around and tell us about the palace (and was kind enough to do his best to speak English for us). We learned about the history of how Tippu Sultan came into power, and followed his life story as we toured the palace (late 1700s).
Mosque, entrance archway to summer palace and pigeon house (they used carrier pigeons to send messages!)
The walls were covered from floor to ceiling in ornate drawings which resembled battles fought against the British with the French. These paintings were thousands of years old yet they were beautifully preserved.
The ceilings were covered in designs that were hand painted onto silk then attached by hand. The palace was truly a masterpiece.
As we walked through, we were able to see portraits of Tippu Sultan and his sons, advisors, and other drawings of important monuments around India from the time period. The whole experience was serene as we discussed the labor which went into designing, building, and decorating the palace. Touring the palace was like taking a step back in time, and was an experience none of us will forget.
As we were exiting the palace, it had begun to rain, and we were in a rush to get back to the bus. We all were hoping the weather would clear up soon because we were headed to an outdoor bird sanctuary. By the time we arrived the sky was clear and we were all eager to see what birds we could find. Unfortunately, because of the rain,  we only found a few birds, but that didn’t stop us from having a blast. As we  walked around the sanctuary, the group was pointing out birds, flowers, and even crocodiles for Dr. Mrs. Krishnan to take pictures of for the blog. (She also has amazing zoom and was able to get many close shots from birds across the river!). Since it had just rained, the sanctuary was practically empty, and it felt like our own personal paradise as we admired how beautiful India is.
The serene river…
With the sanctuary finished, we boarded the bus and headed to our last destination: an orphanage where we were to perform hearing screenings on the kids who live there. We have already done two camps since we have been in India, so as a team we all felt more confident in our abilities walking into this screening.
As we walked into the orphangae, all the kids were sitting against the walls quietly, looking unsure of how to treat us. We quickly said hello and waved, and the tension in the room disappeared. Before we were able to interact with the kids, we split into four different stations and began the hearing screenings. The Krishnan’s were amazing with helping us give directions in Kannada (the native  language spoken in Karnataka) while allowing us to perform the actual screenings ourself. The whole process went very smooth, and we worked together to screen all of the children.
After the screenings, the kids were feeling much more comfortable and began to ask us questions, with the older children translating for the younger ones. The group really seemed to enjoy dancing, so we taught the kids the macarena, which all the kids seemed to think was a silly dance, but they laughed with us anyways. Then five of the girls put on a performance for us that one of the other children had choregraphed, and all of us loved how proud they were of themselves.
After a quick tea break (a very common occurrence here in India which I have come to love) we passed out bags of goodies we had brought for the children. Each bag has socks, a jump rope, playdough, slap braclets for the girls, and sticky frogs for the boys. The kids were estastic and immediately began playing with their new toys. The sticky frogs and jump ropes were a big hit, and the boys loved showing us how good they were at jumping rope.
As we were driving back to Mysore, we discussed how all the kids seemed so happy, even though they have all had difficult lives. That seems to be a common theme here in India; everyone makes the best out of even the worst situations. Every day has taught me a new life lesson. The children at the orphanage taught me today’s lesson: when you look past everything negative in your life, you will see how absolutely beautiful life can be.
Post-script by Lata Krishnan:
A HUGE thank you to Sr. Shali and Sr. Pinto who welcomed us back to the center this year and gave us the opportunity to spend some time with the kids!

Reflection on the Village Visit by Katy


A brief reflection of my time at the village:

Today our team headed out to a rural village to meet with male and female members of the self help groups (SHGs) as well as see various projects completed with the help of the Organization for the Development of People (ODP).

After an hour and a half bus ride we arrived at the village. Initially I noticed unpaved roads, animals such as goats, cows and chickens roaming the streets, houses much smaller than seen in the cities, and children not in school. We soon headed into a building to meet with the members of the various self-help groups. This village has five SHGs with no more than 15 to 20 members each. Each SHG has 5 committees, so all members are on a committee. I thought that keeping the numbers small was a great idea so that each member is encouraged and able to play a vital role. The committees consist of organizing/fundraising, education, environment and others. The special thing about these committees is that they are empowering both men and women to go out and get stuff done for themselves. One of the members stated “I didn’t know anything before joining this group, now I am going to government offices and making things happen myself”. Dawn Wetzel always says, “The most effective form of advocacy is grassroots advocacy”. One of the more recent problems that the committees addressed was a power outage from lightning that burned all the wires. By having the education from ODP and the support from the committees they knew their rights and were able to have someone out to replace the wires within one week. I think that of the most important things for individuals to know, especially those who live out in the rural villages, are their rights and that is something ODP is providing, go ODP!!

While listening to the group members talk about how they have worked so hard to better themselves I started to think about poverty in the US and the differences between there and India. In India it is not assumed that the government will give you money if you are below a certain income level especially when many individuals don’t know their rights or what funding/money is out there for them. Whereas in the US, government support is a much more well known process. I valued the attitude and effort that the village had as a whole.

Throughout the entire day despite how happy, proud, and giving everyone I met was I felt a feeling of guilt for what I have. At times I even felt bad for them. I had to remind myself that it isn’t what the house looks like or the material objects that make a home it’s the people and the attitude that makes it a happy place. I also had to remind myself that this is their normal and their way of life so who am I to decide that it is not enough? Overall, I think that today was a very eye-opening day not only to what a village looks like on the outside but also what it looks like on the inside 🙂

Visit to an Indian Village and Temple

We started the day with a botany lesson learning about tamarind, looking at fruit fallen from the tree:)


Drove to the village called Kasthur in Chamarajanagar District about 1.5 hours away:

Met with members of several self-help groups (SHGs) who explaine dhow their groups work and we asked each other questions. I must say I am pretty proud of my Kannada skills, as I did most of the interpreting!

We visited their tiny village church and listened to a hymn sung with accompaniment on the harmonium (an Indian instrument somewhat like an accordion)

More botany lessons as we visited the farmland and heard from the farmer himself about his banana and tomato fields as well as the fruit trees including guava (which we ate) and chickoo trees


The terrain was rough at times but we all helped each other..

The villagers had prepared a simple lunch for us that we ate in this little building:

Then we visited several of the ponds, bunds and dams that ODP has helped construct in the area to conserve water. Although most were dry because they have had no recent rain (this is a very drought prone area), the wells in the village have not dried out, so the villagers still have water! Hopefully, there is some rain soon and the water fills up again…


HUGE thanks to Annamma, who accompanied us and explained about their work


On the way back we stopped at the Hindu temple in Nanjangud. This is a beautiful ancient temple built in the 11-12 century! It is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Group at the end of the day…


This was a HUGE cultural learning day, as we got to see life in rural India as well as discuss the Hindu religion a little. Some of the thoughtful reflections from students:

  • I am constantly being challenged, and catching myself, having to re-evaluate the situation and my mindset that these are “bad living conditions”. I am a visitor here – I am here to learn about it rather than judge it
  • I feel guilty because they have so little, but they don’t want our pity. They are happy with what they have
  • Excited to meet the women who have been empowered in the village

And many more….I am excited to read the student journals at the end of the program!

Learning and Teaching…

By Megan:

July 8th: We started the day today at 9:30am for breakfast. We then went to a wonderful presentation about the Organization for the Development of People (ODP) lead by Gita Mitra, Dr. Krishnan’s sister, who has been a part of ODP from the almost the very start. We had learned about ODP in our pre-departure class but it was really exciting to hear about what they have been doing in India. (Also Annamma who is taking us on our field trip tomorrow!)

ODP is the Diocesan Social Service Society of Mysore. ODP’s mission is “empowering the marginalized to enjoy their legitimate rights, by bringing along a change in unhealthy attitudes and values systems, through a process of capacity building, networking, advocacy and rights based actions.” ODP has many different areas including academics, water sanitation, women empowerment, natural resource management, livelihood enhancement, health and sanitation, research and development. ODP is involved with over 1,000 villages in 4 districts. Their approach has shifted from charity based to a more people oriented approach. This is important because it will be more sustainable in the long run. ODP has different committees that work together so every member is a more involved and participates. The Women Empowerment Program does a lot of different things including supporting elected women representatives in Panchayaths (village councils). Watershed programs provide better livelihood security and better quality of life in drought prone areas. We saw pictures of dams and wells to collect rain water. It was really great to learn more about programs not related just to speech and hearing.

After lunch…

…we decided to try to see some animals on ODP’s campus. Many of our members got the chance to hold tiny bunnies that were very cute.

Cows at OPD that provide all the milk used here…

Some students bought women’s empowerment bags. Mahilodaya means “women rising”.


Students also bought things from the shop at the front of ODP which sells items made by women in some of the surrounding villages.


We gave our first presentation today on disabilities. We had members from ODP come to learn more and ask questions. We did a great job presenting on our assigned topics. The staff at ODP that came to our presentation asked engaging questions and seemed really interested in what we had to say. We really improved from the first time we practiced this presentation so that was great to see! Hopefully they will be able to take what they have learned and be able to use it when interacting with people with disabilities.

We were able to also do a couple of team building activities with the staff which was a good way to end the presentation.

After our presentation, we decided to go shopping. We visited a lot of different stores and a lot of us got a lot of fun items!

We saw a lot of cows again today! We learned that ODP has cows that provide milk to the whole campus. We also saw cows on the streets while we were shopping. The cows directly in the street reminded me of the book we read before class called the Milk lady of Bangalore.

Cow on the street…very common in Mysore 🙂




Culture and Clinic in Mysore…

By Andrea:

Today was our first full day in Mysore! Most of us started our days by waking up in our mosquito nets to the sound of Muslim songs and chants being played at a nearby mosque. We then got ready to attend a Catholic mass at a near by cathedral. The service was in Kannada, the local language spoken here in Mysore, so it was a bit challenging to follow along, but it was still an awesome experience and we all love a good challenge. The cathedral was absolutely beautiful, and it was interesting to see how a religion is practiced in a different part of the world. I love that we are able to experience so many different religions while we are in India.


After the mass, we were invited to have tea with one of the church’s priests. When last year’s team came, this priest was one of the main people in charge of the Organization of the Development of People (ODP), which is a Catholic organization we work with and stay at during our next two weeks in Mysore. Therefore, he seemed very excited that a new group has returned for the trip this year. This tea was not planned in advance. He simply saw us after church and asked us to join him for tea without any hesitation. It seems like everyone we have come in contact with here in India has been so hospitable and friendly, and this priest is a perfect example of that hospitality. Everyone is so insistent on serving tea and snacks and asking about our trip so far.

Tea with Fr. Staney, previous Director of ODP, now priest at the Cathedral…


Before we left for this trip, we read two books about life in India. One of them, called The Milk Woman of Bangalore, described the importance of cows in the Indian culture. It talked a lot about how common it is to see cows just wondering around everywhere. Therefore, I was a bit disappointed by the lack of cows we saw in Trivandrum. However, the number of cows we have seen so far in Mysore is anything but disappointing! Even after only one full day, we have seen so many cows crossing the streets, wondering through the roads, and cooling off in the shade.

The rest of our day was spent at a hearing camp we did with and organization called Audiology India. With their help, we were able to provide free hearing screenings to people in the community. This was an awesome opportunity for us to use our skills and knowledge to help others!

The event started off with yet another cultural lesson about timing in India. As we have seen on many occasions so far on our trip, people and events aren’t usually on time here, and this event was no different. After waiting for the arrival of a “special guest”(under a “shamiana” – a colorful shade)…


and listening to his speech, the camp was already about and hour and a half behind schedule, but this never seems to bother anyone here too much. The Indian culture, especially here in Mysore, just seems to be more laid back than what most people are used to in the Unites States. While on this trip, I think not always being exactly on schedule is a good change of pace for us all.

Speeches and ceremonial lighting of a lamp…

Once we got started on the hearing screenings, we had patients, of all ages, continuously for about 3 hours. We worked in 2 separate groups of 6, and each group had a few volunteers that helped so much with the language barrier. Before we left for India, we did learn some Kannada in order to help us while doing screenings, but it was nice to have a local there to help out if anything was unclear or a problem arose. While they were very helpful when we needed them, it was awesome that they allowed us to do it all on our own without constantly watching over our shoulders. Both groups worked very efficiently, and we were able to screen so many people during these 3 hours! We were also able to refer quite a few people with hearing problems to local audiology clinics where they could receive full assessments and treatment for their hearing issues. Every clinical event we do on this trip reaffirms my love for audiology and helping others!

We ended the day with a delicious dinner at a restaurant owned by one of the people at the screening camp.

Group after dinner…


Overall, today was an awesome day full of cultural and clinical experiences. A new city brings so many new sights to see, places to visit, and people to meet. I can’t wait to take on more of Mysore tomorrow!

Post-script by Lata Krishnan: What a delightful blog post that speaks to cultural and clinical learning!

My addition today is about a little side excitement. While we were waiting at the rectory for Fr. Staney we saw first one of the coolest birds I have ever seen!!! A red-whiskered bulbul – how beautiful and unusual!! And then also a Javan mynah! Made my day (in addition to all the other awesome aspects!!)

A HUGE thank you to Spoorthi of Audiology India for organizing the camp for us, to Mr. Harish for providing us a wonderful dinner, and to the student team for patiently waiting for almost 2 hours before starting the camp and then continuing late without complaint despite the language barriers and a bit of chaos – thank you all!!!!

Arrival in Mysore

Saturday July 6 was a travel day which started out GREAT: we had toast and coffee/tea ready for us at 6:30am as requested and there were TWO buses that arrived – one for our luggage and one for us to go to the airport.

BUT…suddenly we saw luggage that had been loaded into the bus being taken back out and the bus left – apparently called away for some other more important request!! It took almost 30 minutes for another bus to arrive so we were stressed out at leaving a half hour later than planned and even our driver was stressed out. However, we reached the airport in time and were checked in all as a group rather efficiently – and even had time to buy drinks before we boarded – phew!

We reached Bangalore after a short and uneventful 1-hour flight to some beautiful cool weather! Our bus took a little while to arrive and once again, despite our request, we had a bus that was not large enough for us and the luggage. However this time the driver took the initiative to jump up top and tie all the luggage and with a few bags in the aisle as well we started off for the road trip to Mysore.

We stopped for a very late lunch since the traffic was really bad, but it was so fun to have the waiter, manager and even toilet attendant remember us from last year! 🙂

We reached Mysore by 5pm and stopped at my sister’s house. Fr. Alex and a few of the ODP staff were there. As typical for my sister she had prepared a spread for us to eat and I think the students enjoyed both the food as well as the view from her terrace where we learned about bore wells, water tanks and solar water heaters…and we saw a peacock!!


We finally went to ODP where we will be staying and FRr. Alex personally supervised our luggage getting to our rooms, arranged for large water bottles for each room and made sure we were settled in for our first night in Mysore.


Tomorrow we begin Phase 2 of the program in Mysore…


Last Day at NISH: Friday July 5

This post is late due to internet issues…by Candace

Our last day at NISH was full of love, hugs, dancing, well wishes, and some tears. We started the day with presentations from the fluency and specific learning disability units, and then we attended Dr. Ravi Krishnan’s lecture about his research along with our buddies and the first year NISH students. Our last lunch with the buddies was bittersweet, and we made sure to take tons of pictures, us wearing our kurtis and them in jeans.

All wearing their new outfits purchased during a shopping trip with their buddies…

This was when it started to sink in that it was our last day together, which was sad, but we all promised to stay in touch and visit each other again if we ever get the chance.

After lunch, the buddies started preparing us for the cultural presentation they had spent months planning. We felt like princesses as they dressed us in sarees and did our hair, and I was so grateful that they were willing and excited to share their culture with us in this way. They generously gifted us with bindis and earrings, and as always, they were so kind in complimenting us on how we looked in the sarees.

“Chechhis” (big sisters) helping wear the sarees…


The cultural program was the perfect celebration of the bonds we have made in the past week. The program included presentations on Indian and US culture, beautiful traditional and modern dances from the NISH students, games, and musical performances from members of our group. (When possible to post, videos will be on our Facebook page)

A highlight of the afternoon was when the NISH students had Dr. Lata Krishnan, Sita Mam (the NISH faculty member who organized our trip on their side), Dr. Ravi Krishnan, and Dr. K.G. Satheesh Kumar (the director of NISH) participate in a dancing game with the buddies. We all loved seeing their moves! Our group performed the Hindu devotional song Jai Ganesh, which went much better than we had even hoped, and received a standing ovation from the audience. The NISH students prepared a slideshow of the pictures we had taken throughout the week, and I teared up watching it and reflecting on all the fun we had together. In such a short time, my buddy Neela and I went from only knowing each other from texting a few times to developing what I hope will be a long-time friendship. Neela was so welcoming to me and taught me so much, and I already miss her and all the other buddies.

At the end of the cultural program, each of the Purdue students received a caricature drawn by one of NISH’s Bachelor of Fine Arts students. I wish I could have thanked the artist in person because all of them captured our personalities so accurately!

When the program was over, we took even more pictures with the buddies, and I held back tears as I hugged them all goodbye. I felt like I really integrated with the group of NISH buddies this week, and I loved the environment of their campus. Nicole M., Betsy, and Lexi said it perfectly at the end of the presentation when they thanked NISH for welcoming us and said they felt like they were at home at NISH. I agree that I never thought I could feel like I was home halfway across the globe from my real home, but NISH showed me that it is possible, and I had one of the most memorable weeks of my life here.


When it was time for us to leave, I couldn’t help but give all the buddies an extra hug goodbye, and I joked with Neela that I should bring her back home with me in my suitcase. One of the other buddies, Ammu, told me that I should stay with them and become a student at NISH, but unfortunately, I don’t think the Krishnan’s or my parents would have let me 😊. I’m going to miss NISH and the buddies dearly, especially after all the fun we had on our outings for shopping and pizza and our dance parties on the bus. I am overwhelmingly grateful for the experiences I have had this week, and for the memories I have made that will last a lifetime.

Post-script by Lata Krishnan:

And the day was not over yet…after all the excitement of the cultural program and goodbyes to buddies, we had a farewell dinner with NISH faculty who have been such gracious hosts this whole week, and done months of prior planning to make our program here so successful – so thank you ALL – each and every one from Maya Chechi and her “gang” who took care of our food and tea and keeping the rooms clean etc..



To Bini, the administrative assistant who works behind the scenes but can answer any question and solve any problem…


And Saumya Mam who organized everything for us last year and passedalong tips to this year’s coordinator


And of course Sita Mam – this year’s coordinator – you ran around and took care of EVERYTHING for our program while still conducting clinical sessions, all the time with a smile on your face – THANK YOU!



Reflection by Anne


Today, we were back at NISH for a day full of clinical observations! We were split up into many groups so I cannot speak to what everyone experienced today, but I wanted to share a bit about my experience and the thoughts that were discussed with some of the other students around me.

My group was sent to the cochlear implant unit first and there were 6 of us observing cochlear implant mapping sessions, which felt a little bit like an audience but the kids didn’t seem to mind. We got the opportunity to observe two patients: one who had no issues with his cochlear implant and was just in for a check up and one who was experiencing some difficulties with his cochlear implants. It was so interesting to see how the programming of the cochlear implants can be different for two situations.

We headed off to observe some cleft palate patients and I got the opportunity to observe a young girl in her speech therapy. Though the session was in Malayalam, the “mother-tongue” of the state of Kerala we are in, we could still follow along and figure out what the clinician was working on with the child. At NISH, they also have therapy rooms painted to different themes and I thought it was interesting because the therapist we were observing said that she had picked the room of the rural village area because it had many animals on the walls that started with “pa”, a sound the young girl was struggling with. She said if a child was struggling with “sha”, she could pick the Under the Sea room because it would be more conducive to promoting the production of those noises. I really loved this idea of using the walls as part of their therapy because I just thought it was for decoration.

After lunch we observed the fitting of hearing aids on a young girl some people had met on Saturday. When we first went up to the booth, Dr. Krishnan walked us through some of the programming of a hearing aid and looking at the graphs that show the expected outcomes of the programming. I have always had a huge interest in working with hearing aids and kids so this opportunity was perfect for me. I was so thankful that Dr. Krishnan allowed us to come and observe because this was the first time I really got to learn about hearing aid programming and see a fitting and all that entails. Jumping ahead, this session also really solidified for me that audiology is what I want to do for my career. Every time I get to learn more, I love audiology more and cannot wait to continue in the field.

The fitting with the young girl turned out so well and her and her parents were so excited and thankful. Attending this hearing aid fitting was a great experience, but Katy did bring up a great point. I am so happy that we got to see this little girl get hearing aids and we got to be small part of that, but there are still so many kids whose families cannot afford to get them hearing aids or maybe can only afford to get them one. That makes for so many kids who are struggling to communicate or struggling in school on an everyday basis. I hope that one day the government of Kerala can implement a similar program to their CI program (where families can get one CI and two years of therapy covered by the government) for the children who need hearing aids, but cannot financially afford them. It would make a difference in the lives of so many families.

Today was a great day and tomorrow we are off to our last day at NISH with our cultural program before we head off to Mysore!

Post-script by Lata Krishnan – this is a long PS!

Once again, I tried troubleshooting the equipment in the morning, with no luck L. Thanks to Julie, our equipment rep back in Indiana for the back and forth e-mails with suggestions – but so far we have not had any success in making the device work.

However, it was so great to see their system today. I remember coming here two years ago and giving a talk on hearing aid fitting using “real ear verification” (REM) which is considered the “gold standard” of care in hearing aid fitting. Last year when I was here, we discussed equipment options and how to procure it…

And here we are this time around and I was able to see their equipment in action today. Note that only 30-40% of professionals use REM in their hearing aid fittings, and here we are doing it in India!

Today was also special because thanks to Nate Littlefield and GN Resound we were able to provide a pair of hearing aids to a little 8-year-old girl. We first met her on Saturday – our first day in the NISH clinics. She was bright, lively, and talkative and had come in with a complaint of articulation errors and a mother’s suspicion of hearing loss. Her mild to moderate hearing loss meant that she fell through the cracks as she did not qualify for the “disability certificate” required to obtain free hearing aids. And the family said they could only afford a small sum to try and purchase hearing aids for her.

We prepped the hearing aids in the morning using the NISH REM system to be ready for her when she came at 2pm. The fitting went off beautifully and the family was extremely grateful – so I pass along their gratitude to GN Resound for the Alera 967 hearing aids that we fit her with. She liked them and responded very well with them. We hope that she does well and her academic performance improves once she is able to hear better in school. (Per our rules I am posting the only pic that we got that does not show the child’s face).


At the end of the day, the students visited the earmold lab. In the USA we take ear impressions and send them away to be made into molds. Here at NISH they have an earmold lab right in the building, so it was a special experience for them to see how the molds are made!

While students were there, we met with a group of faculty to discuss how to increase research productivity at NISH to take them to the next level. Seeing how they keep making progress and changes to their protocols and procedures to keep evolving and improving, I have no doubt that they will work towards their research mission in just the same way and achieve great success!

Some reflections during our pow-wow tonight:

  • Students were impressed with a clinician who they saw doing a great variety of things ranging from audiology to autism and commented on how impressive it was that she was able to shift gears and have so many skills, but also how stressful it might be
  • The undergraduate students who observed the hearing aid fitting very much enjoyed the experience
  • They commented on the flexibility of clinicians that they observed, for e.g. using different techniques and being able to switch when something wasn’t working
  • Also on how great it is to see how involved the parents are in the management of their children
  • This led to a very thoughtful comment that we are perhaps seeing a “single story” about clinical services in audiology and speech in India. This is SO true, because the awesome clinical services we have been seeing at NISH are not available and accessible to many families and children in other parts of India. The state of Kerala and NISH provide exceptional care and we are so honored that we are able to experience a little bit of it!
  • We also had a great discussion and personal perspective on how difficult it must be for individuals with physical disabilities in India because of the lack of access to buildings, steep ramps and the feeling of being dependent on someone – which is very different from the USA where accessibility for wheelchairs etc. is much more available
  • And some fun discussion about how open the buddies have been to talk about a variety of topics with them and our students are sad that tomorrow is the last day at NISH
  • After pow-wow was a rehearsal for the cultural program tomorrow afternoon – stay tuned – it is going to be AWESOME!!!


A Roller-coaster of a Day…

Today we were back on a normal NISH schedule, leaving around 8:10am to be there by 8:30am. I carried the bulky Audioscan Verifit equipment that I purchased to provide to an organization in Mysore in order to demo it to the faculty and students here at NISH before we go to Mysore.

The day started in the conference room called “Daffodil” to discuss yesterday’s camp.

Faculty perspectives:

NISH: This is the first time NISH has done a school screening camp, but after yesterday’s success they are enthused to go to more schools! The students synced together really well despite the language barriers, the heat, and the rooms being far from ideal. All the students worked together, it was great to swap stations so students had a chance to experience multiple stations, including under a mango tree! 🙂

When visiting the school to plan this camp they did not notice that the walls were not all the way to the ceiling and the windows had no panes, and in the future they need to pay attention and watch for these kinds of issues as well, although all government schools may be like this.

Doing OAE screening helped as it goes faster than the pure tone procedure and allows us to screen more kids. And they enjoyed learning how to condition the young children in a group 🙂

Purdue: NISH is so impressive and the clinical facilities are fantastic. The main differences observed were in the areas of otoscopy (our students are specifically taught this skill and it is done on every patient), pure tone testing (we only do screenings when we go off-campus in order to get large numbers of kids tested quickly) and time efficiency (we have set times and have to finish appointments within the allotted time in order to not be late for the next one).

Student perspectives:

Purdue: It was really great how well they all worked together despite differences in protocols. They appreciated how the NISH students helped instruct the children

NISH: They enjoyed the fact that the students all interacted more as they did the tests as a group, that all were enthusiastic and had good food! They were excited that their buddies were so enthusiastic about showing them how to make a peanut butter sandwich and having them try the new food.

Purdue students taught them how to use an otoscope and they learned a bit more about OAE testing and that results could be evaluated for each frequency

Now for the rollercoaster part…

🙂 UP: During this time, Manju Mam had the wonderful idea of having the NISH physiotherapist Shyni Mam come to look at Lexi’s sprained ankle. She was GREAT! She looked at it, quickly said that the ankle brace was too tight, said we should get a “crepe” bandage, keep the foot elevated, and not put weight on it, so she arranged for a wheelchair! All in 5-10 minutes!!! Now that’s efficient!!! And of course, Sita Mam was able to send someone to get the bandage and apparently Shyni Mam herself came and put it on for Lexi!

😦 DOWN: So, after the discussion I went to try and set up the equipment that I had carried in. No problems setting it up – I had all the parts well organized but when I turned it on – I got a black and white fuzz on the screen and it looked cracked. I turned it on and off – but it was the same. The room was needed for a patient, so I had to leave and stew on this awful new problem! Here I had purchased this expensive piece of equipment to bring and donate in India and it seemed to have been broken in transit 😦


🙂 UP: I spent some time calling the laundromat to get things organized for us to have our laundry done, and the pizza place to make sure they had enough space for 24 people to have dinner there tonight. Then the room was open, so I went back to troubleshoot the equipment – this time I noticed that although the screen was “fuzz” the machine appeared to be working as small parts of the screen were visible. I ran into the HA faculty and immediately one of them called their tech support who arrived in a minute! He quickly set up the equipment with a different monitor and voila – we had the screen we needed! 🙂

😦 DOWN: We got the screen, but the equipment refused to calibrate and without that we cannot get to the next step to use it or even demo it 😦


Anyway, we went to eat lunch which was once again organized by Sita and included chocolate ice cream bars 🙂

🙂 UP: We continued troubleshooting the equipment after lunch and after opening it and looking at all the components inside, none of which seemed out of place, we put it back together and tried again. This time we were able to calibrate the test box and the LEFT side but not the right side. We decided to proceed with the demo, and were able to do it – thanks AuD students for participating in this

😦 DOWN: During the demo we noticed that the levels of the signals did not seem to be accurate

🙂 UP: Thanks to GN Resound and Nate Littlefield, we were able to donate 2 pairs of hearing aids for two children. One is the bright and talkative 8-year-old girl that we saw on Saturday (our first clinic day at NISH) and the audiologist immediately called the family and told us that the father was so excited and thankful and she would try to make an appointment tomorrow to fit the child with the devices!!! So glad we ended on an UP!!

While I was on this rollercoaster, the students were observing clinical sessions or videos of sessions. Some of them learned how to make a snake out of coconut palm fronds…


They also had some free time during which they taught their buddies some dance moves


We ended the day quite late and after a short 1-hour break at the guesthouse the students were off to go meet up with their buddies again for a pizza dinner. Thanks, Katy, for taking these photos!


When they returned, they were very excited again at having had the opportunity to spend time outside of clinic with their buddies. There was much laughter at tonight’s pow-wow as students shared that

  1.  Katy “killed” my camera (it died, hence no pics of some of the buddy pairs)
  2. Nicole M almost burned the bus because she stuck her foot out behind the driver’s seat and there were sparks
  3. Lexi “killed” the wheelchair as the back broke and all the buddies rushed over to grab her
  4. A large bug flew in to attend our pow-wow and I chased after it with a rolled up newspaper and finally was able to whack at it

Note that nobody was hurt during these except the bug! 🙂

Some reflections from tonight:

  • Outside of clinic, the buddies are very fun, 20-year-olds who love to sing, dance and enjoy themselves, just like our students
  • It was nice today after having all week learning from them that today we were able to demo something to them. This emphasized the mutual benefit of what this trip is about
  • Malayalam clinic sessions were harder to observe and follow along when a buddy was not there to help explain and interpret
  • The buddies understood and empathized with the students who watched the videos instead of getting to go to a live session
  • It was great to see all the adapted materials for children with CP and Swathi Mam was GREAT at explaining
  • The session with a 7-year-old using a tablet to communicate was very interesting as the AAC devices are the same as ones we would use
  • We are already sad that there are only 2 days left in Trivandrum with the buddies – the week has flown by!
  • We are gearing up for the cultural program on Friday afternoon!!!!


School Screening Camp!

By Nicole D:

Today we spent the day at a local school in Trivandrum performing hearing screenings with our NISH buddies.

The Lower Primary School:

The children we screened ranged from 1st grade to 4th grade. We arrived at the school in the morning and began around 10 am. There were a few different stations set up which included otoscopy, OAEs, pure tone audiometry, and tympanometry.

Teams at the stations:


Including stations under a mango tree:


Looking in ears:


The local children did not speak much English which could’ve been more challenging if it wasn’t for our NISH buddies. Screening children can be difficult at times when they get scared or nervous because they do not understand why they are getting things stuck in their ears and listening to many sounds. Many of us realized today how important it is to interact with the child before beginning the screening to help them feel more comfortable. Our buddies worked so well with the children during audiometry to keep the child’s nerves away. The buddies would instruct the children and encourage the child to listen closely for the sounds. For audiometry they would tell them how to raise their hand when they heard the “coo coo” sound.

Teamwork during hearing screening:

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Another important idea that I observed today was that we all learned how to work as a team. We have learned much of the same material in school, but certain ideas differ. Despite our differences in education, protocol training and culture we were able to work with each other very well. Because of this the camp was able to run very smoothly!

Teamwork during otoacoustic emission screening:

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One of the exciting moments today included our buddies trying new food. While in India we have been trying many new foods! While spending our days at NISH we would get to eat lunch with our buddies and eat Indian style lunches. Today was a little different! We brought the stuff to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. We were able to teach our buddies how to make the sandwiches and for many of them it was their first time trying peanut butter and jelly. It was so fun to see how each of them enjoyed the sandwiches. Some enjoyed it very much and some had mixed reviews.


The school screening was a great experience and we learned a lot. For many of the undergraduate students, including myself, we were able to become more confident in our clinical skills. Typically, it is not easy to get an experience similar to this in the US so today really encouraged us to apply our skills. We were able to screen over 70 children today at the NISH Camp, so it was a very successful day!

The successful team at the end of the school screening camp!


.Post-script by Lata Krishnan:

Kudos to the team of 12 Purdue and 12 NISH students for working together and making this camp a success! And special thanks to NISH (Manju Mam, Sreeba Mam and Rejitha Mam) for organizing the camp for us – we appreciate all your help in doing this for our program SO MUCH!

Staff team: