Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2008
Solar Ear
This description of Howard Weinstein's work was prepared when Howard Weinstein was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
Howard Weinstein’s business model gives access to low-cost, high quality hearing aid technology to the low-income people in developing countries that need it most. His deaf employees are taught to become leaders and advocates for the full inclusion of hearing-impaired people in society.
The New Idea
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person


We realize that even if we made 2 million hearing aids we would not be solving the problem of hearing loss ( estimated to be over 600 million people) in the world. We want to socialize and democratize the hearing aid industry by having the users cell phone being able to test their own hearing.($1) The results will be sent via the cloud to a Solar Ear professional. We will be able to remotely program the users cell phone to become a hearing aid ( $15) of equal sound quality to a $2,000 hearing aid. Impact: We have sold to date over 20,000 solar chargers and 40,000 rechargeable hearing aids which has enabled over 20,000 children to learn to communicate and therefore the ability to go to a public school. We have saved over 2 million batteries from being thrown out, lowered HIV-AIDS in deaf communities from 38% to 10 %, changed public policy in China and will soon have peace building dividend by having in the Middle East, Shunni, Shite, Christian and Jewish young adults who are deaf, work together. We have created 50 meaningful jobs for people who are deaf and have had over 100 people with a disability hired by other companies as part of our education and inclusion technical training program.

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