Low-cost solar-powered hearing aids from Africa

SUSTAINABILITY

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Providing people in need with hearing aids is, of course, an important step in the right direction, but if they cannot afford to buy new batteries, the success story stops there. This was the conclusion Tendekayi Katsiga, an electronics technician from Zimbabwe, came to when he decided to start his own company and to design and manufacture the world’s first solar-powered hearing aids.

Providing people in need with hearing aids is, of course, an important step in the right direction, but if they cannot afford to buy new batteries, the success story stops there. This was the conclusion Tendekayi Katsiga, an electronics technician from Zimbabwe, came to when he decided to start his own company and to design and manufacture the world’s first solar-powered hearing aids.

The product the company designed is called the Solar Ear. It can charge three batteries at a time and each one lasts for five days. “Most of the inputs to build the product came from other hearing impaired folks. Our unit costs 200 dollars: that includes the hearing aid, batteries and the charger compared to other products in the market that cost 1,000 dollars. Solar Ear comes with a warranty for a year, the batteries last 2-3 years and we also have after-sales service,” says Katsiga.

The non-profit company has sold some 10,000 units in 40 African countries, and has had a positive impact on the lives of more than 3,000 children. Katsiga and his team have a number of new products in the pipeline too.

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Source: Social Story

C.S.