Santa Clara University Center for Science, Technology, and Society
Solar Ear Brazil has asked for research assistance in order to enhance its social impact among the deaf in several more countries. Solar Ear attempts to improve the quality of life of hearing impaired individuals by providing low-cost solar-powered hearing aids. Hearing loss is prevalent in Brazil because of a lack of prevention efforts, limited access to affordable health care and treatment of diseases, and higher noise pollution levels in several employment sectors. As the severity of the problem increases, otherwise healthy children and adults are prevented from attending school or working because they are considered deaf, even if their hearing loss is not complete. Through a detailed analysis of existing monitoring and evaluation tools, as well as personal interviews, we develop and analyze a new monitoring and evaluation tool (MET) reflecting our observations in the field. This new MET serves as an instrument to collect quantitative statistics on the hearing aid product as Solar Ear looks to expand into other countries and increase its revenue. Furthermore, our final research concludes with an investigated review of technological means in hopes of finding a way hearing aid beneficiaries could report the social benefits of the device through an IT-platform based MET rather than relying on trained interviewers or survey takers.
Sansone, Myles; Duane, Mary Catherine; and Lays, Natalie, "Tuning in to Solar Ear: Measuring the social benefit of applied social science for the public good" (2013). Miller Center Fellowship. 8.