Starkey Mission Blog: Day 3

The ability to reach out and lift other people up is unlike any other feeling in the world. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

I am lucky enough to have the privilege to do this every single day with my patients at home. The opportunity to travel to China just makes my own personal purpose in life that much bigger. We are not only giving the gift of hearing, we are giving the gift of hope. Hope that these individuals’ lives, and the lives of their families, will change for the better. Knowledge that the world is a big place and that there is an entire team of people out there that believes in them and wants them to succeed.
I just feel so blessed to be here, doing this work, and having this experience.
– Dr. Kim Ortega
Watch our mission trip video of a young boy, who has never spoken, being fit with hearing aids for the very first time.

Starkey China Mission Blog: Day 2

We fit 650 people yesterday and are looking at helping more than 700 people today. The excitement in the room is amazing! Children are trying to say their first words. An older woman is getting up and dancing to music she has not heard in over 15 years. A family is crying as their grandfather tells them he can now hear what they are saying.

It is a day like this that reminds me of why I am an audiologist: Because I bring joy to people and make lives better. I know my feet and back will be tired by the end of the day, but my heart will be soaring with all the stories I hear around the dinner table tonight.

Thank you to my staff and my patients who are making it possible for me to join the Starkey Foundation on this amazing adventure.

Starkey China Mission Blog: Day 1

The China Mission for the Starkey Hearing Foundation is up and running today. It is day 1 and we expect to fit approximately 650 people today. That is 650 families who will now be able to talk to each other; 650 people who will experience happy sounds like running water, birds singing, and children laughing.

So far we have seen all age groups. Dr. Ortega helped to fit a young child with their first set of aids. It is such a joy to see their faces when they hear themselves for the first time. She also fit an elderly man who had not heard himself or his family in over 20 years. Imagine his joy! Another fitting was for a mother who can now hear her children and feels like she can keep her family safer.

As you can see from the pictures, Dr. Ortega is all smiles. You cannot imagine the joy she feels with each person as she brings them the gift of better hearing.

We will update our pictures and stories as we can. Sometimes it is difficult to get information out of China due to the government limitations on the Internet.

Whittier Audiologist Joins Starkey to Share Gift of Hearing Overseas

Community invited to follow China mission on social media

Doctor of Audiology Kim Ortega, director of rehabilitative audiology at Whittier Hearing Center, will join global nonprofit Starkey Hearing Foundation for a 10-day, two-city mission in China to help nearly 4,000 men, women, and children hear their best.

“This is a dream come true,” said Ortega, a co-owner at the practice and an expert in hearing care technology advancements including Bluetooth connectivity. “I’m passionate about improving people’s lives through better hearing, so what an exciting opportunity to share that passion on a global scale.”

An estimated 360 million youth and adults – more than 5 percent of people worldwide – have disabling hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization, with prevalence greatest in low- and middle-income countries.

Through its “So the World May Hear” mission, Starkey Hearing Foundation provides free hearing aids to those in need around the globe, partnering with celebrities, philanthropists, hearing-care professionals and businesses to change lives. The foundation has pledged to provide 1 million hearing aids this decade and currently gives more than 200,000 devices annually.

Ortega’s July 30-Aug. 8, 2016 China hearing mission will comprise fitting approximately 1,992 people in Xuzhou and about 1,989 people in Suqian – both cities of Jiangsu Province – with hearing aid technology and counseling.

Follow Ortega’s overseas experience on our blog or check in on social media including our Facebook page.

5 Tips for a Comfy Car Ride

5 Tips for a Comfy Car Ride

Does back pain drive you crazy while on the road? Here are five tips to help you put the brakes on discomfort so you can focus on the fun.

Long car rides can cause your hips, butt, lower back, and shoulders to feel tight. The longer you’re sitting, the more damage you could do. When you sit, your spine loses its natural curve, causing a strain on your vertebrae and discs. Your sciatic nerve can also become agitated when sitting, and that can lead to hip and thigh pain. If you don’t sit upright, the tipped-back position of a car seat places strain on your hamstrings, which cause the pelvis to become misaligned.

1. Take the high road.

Sit up straight with your knees slightly higher than your hips, and keep your chin pulled in so that your head sits straight on top of your spine.

2. Take frequent breaks.

It can be tempting to just power through a drive, especially when you’re eager to get to your destination, but it’s in your and your body’s best interest to break up the drive. Ideally, it’s best to stop every 30 minutes. Before you leave, map out a couple of rest stops that have space for you to walk around and stretch. Movement stimulates blood circulation, which brings nutrients and oxygen to your lower back.

3. Empty your pockets.

Take your wallet, cell phone, or anything else in your back pockets out — these could throw your spine out of alignment.

4. Sit up straight.

Keep your back aligned with your seat. It can be helpful to add extra support to your car seat. Before you go, look into specialized cushions and pillows to help with sciatica pain and lower back pain. Short on time? Use a small support between your lower back and the seat. This will support the contour of the inward curve in your lower back.

5. Wiggle a little.

While driving, try to move a little in your seat; even 10 seconds of movement and stretching is better than nothing at all. If nothing else, try to make it a habit to adjust your seat and change your position slightly every 15 to 20 minutes. Any movement that is safe to do in the car will help you out.


We want you to make the most of the summer by giving you every opportunity to enjoy it to the fullest. Contact us if you haven’t had a clean and check lately or want to ensure you’re hearing your best. We wish you safe — and comfortable — travels!