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10/09/2015  |   8:30 AM - 9:45 AM   |  Technology   |  Andrew Foster Auditorium

Social Business as vehicle to democratize access to hearing aids

Solar Ear mission is to make total hearing health possible for people worldwide with a priority for children in developing countries by providing affordable and sustainable hearing amplification equipment. A social business considers that it’s not just the activity which is important but the outcome and impacts of our program to the person and society. Solar Ear’s secret sauce is using not only proven different hearing health solutions but integrating them into a holistic solution. We also will use new channels of distribution of products and educational materials in a sustainable business model. Solar Ear with the help of many professionals from Coalition Hearing loss developed a holistic solution to hearing loss, called DREET; Detection, Research, Education, Equipment and Therapy. Solar Ear took the best proven practices and implemented them in their Sao Paulo operation. Our solution uses a holistic approach to hearing healthcare, with focus on integrating children with hearing loss into the society. Realizing that to scale our program we needed to take the technology to the people, plus make it more affordable ( apps starting at $1) we started the development of a mobile DREET program using an Android system. With the new Solar Ear Mobile DREET phone apps, a baby or child can have her hearing tested in real time using a Smartphone which will identify mild to moderate hearing loss, meeting WHO standards, as well as flag any serious problems. The Research data is a free bi-product. There will be a free maternal hearing health Education- Prevention app. The results from the screening and when feasible will enable us to remotely program the Smartphone to become a hearing aid. Speech and language acquisition delay is one of the most common neuro-development difficulties in early childhood. Our phone Therapy app will help with this development.

  • Role of a Social Business
  • Latest Smartphone holistic hearing health approach from Solar Ear
  • Other Smartphone technologies on market today

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Howard Weinstein (Primary Presenter), Solar Ear, howard@solarear.com.br;
Howard Weinstein is a social entrepreneur. He has started several for profit companies in North America. For the past 14 years has help start 8 sustainable social businesses for people with a disability. He uses a disruptive business model to help integrate people with a disability as well as solve a social, economic, educational or health issue. He was awarded the Humanitarian Award by the American Academy of Audiology, has won several Technology and Health Innovation Awards, as well as was named in 2012 Social Entrepreneur of the Year at the UN. This past year his work has been recognized and supported by Nobel Laureate Dr Mohammed Yunus.
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Financial - No relevant financial relationship exists.