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Deaftronics: Tackling Hearing Loss in Impoverished Countries

Hearing Loss in Impoverished CountriesThere are 200 million people in Africa alone who have some form of hearing impairment that can be alleviated by using hearing aids. Unfortunately, hearing aids are not widely available and they are not cheap. Deaftronics plans on tackling hearing loss in impoverished countries with their solar hearing aid.

Hearing loss can be caused by a number of factors. It can be caused by damage to the outer, middle or inner ear. Hearing loss can also be genetic. Those who suffer from this condition can end up having a number of issues in their lives.

Hearing loss makes it much more difficult for children to learn how to speak, which causes them to develop more slowly than other children. In the classroom, children with some form of hearing loss will have a much more difficult time understanding what is being taught to them. They will end up falling behind and possibly fail classes. As they grow older, these kids will end up having a much more difficult time finding jobs and providing for their families. This ends up keeping those with hearing loss within the cycle of poverty.

Hearing aids can be used to assist those with hearing loss, but they can be expensive. The average cost of a hearing aid is about $600 and battery replacement can be costly. Batteries for hearing aids usually run out within 10 days, which results in frequent, costly battery replacements.

The solar hearing aid hopes to alleviate this costly issue and take on hearing loss in impoverished countries. As the name implies, the solar hearing aids run on solar power. Users set the batteries in a solar charging station in the sunlight to charge the batteries for the solar hearing aids. Then the users place the batteries in their hearing aids, which are fully functional for about 10 days.

Although the solar hearing aids include hearing aids along with the solar battery, the battery can work with about 80 percent of all hearing aids. Therefore, those who need hearing aids are not limited to a single pair of hearing aids.

Cost is a large factor in why hearing aids are not widely available to those who need them. Compared to the $600 for the average pair hearing aids, solar hearing aids cost about $200 per unit. Not only that, but the solar batteries and the solar hearing aids last for two to three years.

Deaftronics has done everything within its power to make sure those who suffer from hearing loss can get an affordable pair of hearing aids.

Originally, Deaftronics’ focus was to get hearing aids to people in Botswana. Now they are receiving orders from South Africa, Kenya and Angola. As Deaftronics continue to expand, more countries will ask for solar hearing aids and Deaftronics will be able to help more people with hearing loss in impoverished countries.

The solar hearing aids are not only providing people with the ability to hear, they are also giving people a chance to learn in school without being held back by hearing loss and a chance to use their education to get a job and escape from poverty. Solar hearing aids are not only alleviating hearing loss in impoverished countries, but they are also helping people escape from the cycle of poverty.

– Daniel Borjas

Photo: Flickr