It is believed that there are more than 1 billion people worldwide who have hearing disabilities and need hearing aids. Just like so in the Philippines where several Filipinos suffer from various levels of hearing impairment and have poor to no access to hearing aids since they are usually expensive. Without access to it, they are unable to lead productive lives. Good news to our hearing-impaired countrymen as earAccess, a Canadian company with a social mission, announced that its ACCESS® hearing aids are now available in select Watsons Philippines stores during its grand launch last July 27, 2018. It was also during the grand launch where those in the area of SM Megamall have availed of the one-minute hearing test.
earAccess offers a complete line of hearing aids for all types of hearing losses and fitting styles that are exclusively distributed in the Philippines by FINE Nutrition Trading International. It has trained promoters to fit ACCESS 1 and ACCESS 2 hearing aids.
Audra Renyi, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of earAccess Inc., is a former investment banker who left her job on Wall Street over a decade ago to dedicate her life to helping people with hearing loss. This is to ensure that everyone who needs a hearing aid has access to quality product at affordable prices.
The World Health Organization said hearing loss is an invisible disability that affects over 466 million people worldwide. In the Philippines, over 17 million Filipinos have hearing loss, according to the DOH National Registry. Most people with hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids but the vast majority cannot afford them at the current high prices. Recent studies from researchers at John Hopkins University have shown that unaddressed hearing loss is correlated with early Alzheimer’s, dementia and cognitive decline. This suggests that the sooner hearing aids are used by people with hearing loss, the better the chances of slowing down the aging process. For young people, it is critical to have access to hearing aids to increase educational attainment and earning potential.
Mrs. Renyi is the Executive Director of World Wide Hearing Foundation International, a non-profit organization that helps children in need get access to hearing aids. World Wide Hearing has already donated 1,000 hearing aids to four Filipino NGOs in Bohol, the Visayas, Manila and Davao. “When you see a child laugh from joy the first time she hears, or you see a father break down into tears when his son recognizes his voice for the first time, it is a magical moment. Those are the moments we live for,” says Mrs. Renyi. She adds: “Hearing aids are not just for older adults, they are for everyone who needs them, young and old.”
Mrs. Renyi says: “This cause is close to my heart. My father and aunt developed hearing loss as children and have been wearing hearing aids for decades. When I found out that fewer than 3% of people with hearing loss worldwide have access to hearing aids mainly because of the prohibitive price, I was shocked. I told myself that this is not fair, I have to change this!”
Like Watsons Philippines, earAccess believes that there is no need for a trade-off between quality and affordability. “We can offer both,” Mrs. Renyi said.
For her part, Imelda Tesalona, President of FINE Nutrition Trading International and a registered Pharmacist herself, said they are elated to be able to help in the cause of Mrs. Renyi and earAccess to make high quality yet affordable hearing aids available to many Filipinos. “We are happy to distribute ACCESS® hearing aids to the Philippines, in consonance with our vision to promote only high-quality beauty and wellness products. With Watsons stores as the main selling platform, we know that very soon, more Filipinos with hearing concerns will have access to hearing aids that are inexpensive yet of undeniable quality,” she declared.Mrs. Renyi also reiterated her message: “For anyone who suspects that they or their family members have hearing loss, they should go to a Watsons pharmacy to receive a quick, free hearing test, with no obligation whatever, and they will provide further guidance.”