Known for its lush tropical landscapes, romantic temples and stunning beaches, Cambodia is a beautiful holiday destination that attracts millions of tourists every year.
Unfortunately, there's another side to the country that holidaymakers don't usually see. Indeed, the country has had a tumultuous past, which escalated during the 1970s, when Pol Pot led the Khmer Rouge down a devastating path of genocide, disease famine and forced labour.
This resulted in the death of an estimated two million people, a third of the population. More than 90 per cent of the country's doctors were executed, died or left Cambodia.
Then in the 1980s the Cambodia further suffered from years of civil war and unrest.
In recent years, Cambodia has started to experience stability and a greater sense of normality. But there is also a high level of poverty – and very little in the way of medical care. This is exacerbated by the fact that the majority of Cambodians are chronically ill.
It's estimated that around two million people suffer from severe auditory problems caused by congenital abnormalities, chronic ear infections, improper use of medications, lack of hearing protection and old age.
Many experts believe that more than half of these cases might have been prevented – particularly since the people suffering from such maladies often resort to old superstitions to cure their problems. This might include poking the ears with chicken quills, or filling the ear canal with chemicals like petrol or organic matter such as dead animals.
All Ears Cambodia is a charity which was established by an English audiologist. He spent more than fifteen years travelling around the developing world and volunteering to help some of the world's poorest people hear again.
During his travels, he trained medical workers about ear diseases and deafness – a problem estimated to affect around 250 million people around the world. Two of his biggest goals were to prevent childhood deaths caused by chronic ear infections, and to provide help to people who had difficulty hearing.
Today, All Ears Cambodia is the only organisation to provide audiology services for Cambodians of any age. They provide hearing aids and medical support, as well as education about proper ear health and care.
Based in Phnom Penh, the charity offers outreach clinics to even the most rural locations across Cambodia and it works with a number of international aid organisations, local NGOs and public hospitals to help ensure the people get the care they need.
Here at Leightons Hearing Care we're proud to work with All Ears Cambodia. We send them old audiology equipment, as well as used hearing aids and batteries, which the charity can then give to their patients.
If you have hearing difficulties, you probably understand just how difficult it can be to deal with day-to-day life without your hearing aid. So just imagine what it must be like for somebody who cannot afford even the most basic of life's necessities, like food and shelter – not to mention a hearing aid.
But there is an easy way you can help. If you're thinking about buying a new hearing aid, why not consider donating your old one to All Ears Cambodia? With your help, we can make a difference to the life of someone who has suffered from hearing problems or deafness.