Howard Weinstein Named Social Entrepreneur of the Year
Monday, January 16, 2012
NEW YORK, Oct. 27 /CSRwire/ – Solar Ear founder and CEO Howard Weinstein was selected as social entrepreneur of the year by World Technology Network. The announcement was made at the awards banquet held at the close of the World Technology Summit and Awards in New York City Wednesday night. Weinstein’s award was accepted by Nick Laperle, CEO of Solar Ear’s technology partner Sonomax.
Solar Ear designs and manufactures a solar-powered, battery rechargeable, inexpensive hearing aid solution. Technology partner Sonomax designs in-ear technology to custom fit earpieces to each patient in a single visit.
Previously Weinstein has been a Tech Award Laureate and was the recipient of the 2008 Humanitarian Award from the American Academy of Audiology.
Innovation focused on the affordable
Weinstein started Solar Ear when he saw the need for an affordable, user-friendly and ecological hearing aid. WHO estimates that approximately 278 million suffer from hearing loss of which 200 million live in developing countries. Adult-onset hearing loss is the second longest cause of years lived with a disability.
“The hearing aid industry is one of the most innovative industries in the world, which is both good and bad,” said Weinstein. “Most of the innovation has been misplaced and focused on the wrong things, like developing technology for a $7500 hearing aid. That is completely out of reach for most of the world’s deaf population.” Only 12% of hearing aids manufactured are in the developing world.
Solar Ear offers hearing solutions for under $100US. The products were featured in “Brilliant Eco-Inventions; Designs to Solve the Worlds Problems,” which appeared in the November 2010 issue of National Geographic. Solar Ear products are now included in the collections of the Alexander Graham Bell Museum and the Smithsonian.