Forbes profiled a new initiative to provide low-cost hearing aids to children in Jordan by utilizing 3D printing technology, which aims to help meet a profound need for hearing care in the developing world.
Jason Szolomayer, a former banker who is founder and CEO of 3DP4ME, was struck by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) estimation that less than 3% of people in the developing world who require hearing aids actually have them. Given the enormity of the need, he set out to find a “scalable solution,” and discovered that 3D printing technology would allow for the quick prototyping and customization of hearing aids, according to the article.
Szolomayer’s initiative has received support from companies like Intel, Accenture, and BASF, as well as collaboration with Stanford University and Technical University of Munich, and he has built a team comprised of experts in “audiology, additive manufacturing, medical device manufacturing, design, and intelligent manufacturing systems,” according to Forbes.
Darryl Adams, Intel’s director of accessibility, is quoted in the article as saying, “Through our Intel RISE Technology Initiative (IRTI), Intel supports projects that help create a more responsible, inclusive, and sustainable future enabled through our technology. We are thrilled to be collaborating with Accenture to help the team at 3DP4ME realize their mission to deliver modern solutions to address hearing loss in underserved communities.”
In its pilot phase, Szolomayer plans to identify 50 children between ages 6-10 to fit with hearing aids. Eventually, he wants to “provide 12,000 hearing aids to 4,000 individuals who are in need of monolateral fitting and 4,000 individuals who are in need of bilateral fitting,” which he estimates will cost $5 million. Eventually, Szolomayer believes that the organization can build 3D skills within the community, potentially strengthening the local economy and helping to build a manufacturing sector, key for helping to lift living standards at a faster rate, according to Forbes.
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