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Thiruvananthapuram, Feb. 23

WIDEX India, pioneering distributors of digital hearing aids in the country, proposes to set up a Widex Academy to train dealers, dispensers and audiologists in the intricacies of modern hearing aids and keep them updated on latest developments in the field of audiology.

Announcing this, Mr B.S. Sawhney, Vice-President, Widex India, said here that the company is working towards bringing social awareness on how to tackle hearing impairment. It is planning tie-ups with NGOs, schools and sponsors in this regard.

Mr Sawhney was here to attend a function in which the company distributed free of cost hearing aids valued at approximately Rs 10 lakh to the hearing impaired children of the National Institute of Speech and Hearing . This is part of the company's nation-wide philanthropic programme.

Widex will monitor the progress in auditory, speech and language skills of these children to study as to how they benefit from the hearing aids.

Hearing impairment is widely perceived to be a handicap, which is not the case, Mr Sawhney said. According to data available, one out of 20 people in the country suffer from one hearing problem or the other.

But using a hearing aid is still considered a taboo by the society. Avoiding hearing aids knowingly for fear of social acceptance will only add to the inconvenience and embarrassment in public.

It is in this context that Widex India has introduced a digital range of hearing aids, among the world's smallest. The `Senso Diva' weighs less than three grams, Mr Sawhney said. The company has a nationwide marketing network of 96 dealers and also owns a network of Senso Hearing Centres, exclusive hearing and speech therapy centres.

The domestic hearing aids market is estimated to be worth Rs 30 crore and is growing 10 per cent each year. The high-end hearing aids from Widex are priced between Rs 15,000 and Rs 75,000.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 24, 2005)
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