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Off Grid Energy Independence
Posted on January 11, 2010 by  & 

Solar powered hearing aid

A Brazilian Foundation, Instituto CEFAC plus a social marketing organization Legar, plus several University stakeholders and in conjunction with deaf youths from an NGO in Africa, Solar Ear Brazil manufactures, assembles and distributes the first digital rechargeable hearing aid. The Solar Ear is a hearing aid which can be charged using only sunlight.
 
The World Health Organization estimates that 6000 million people are hearing impaired. In its more severe form, this disorder is keeping otherwise healthy children and adults from going to school and working and this leads to poverty and hardship in the families and communities affected, and through extension, to the larger society. The solar element of the hearing aid means that those without electricity are not excluded and its low cost of around $100 makes it affordable for the poor or uninsured. The company also creates jobs for members of the deaf community as all of Solar Ear's employees are deaf.
 
To charge the Solar Ear hearing aid and/or rechargeable battery, users place the batteries into a palm sized charger which recharges in sunlight or household light, taking 6 to 8 hours to fully charge the two rechargeable AA batteries which keep their power for a week. The batteries have a two to three year lifespan, unlike traditional hearing aid batteries which need to be replaced each week.
 
This project will ultimately help the less advantaged children get low cost hearing aids, which will enable those children to be mainstreamed in local schools.
 
 
The Solar Ear is currently in use in Brazil, Botswana and Palestine's West Bank with plans to expand to other countries this year.
 
Credit: Solar Ear
All images source Solar Ear
 
 

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Posted on: January 11, 2010

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