“Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people”- Hellen Keller
Her face was frozen from shock, as tears were streaming down on her face. She was clinging onto the satellite speaker and help it up on her face refusing to let go of it at any moment as she did not want to stop whatever she was experiencing at that time. Marisela, a 6-year-old from Arequipa, suffers from hearing loss, and required a bone-conducting aid. After hearing the sound for the first time, her priceless reaction made me rethink about my life, and one of its greatest pleasure, the ability to listen. After coming across her heart melting story, I decided to look for ways through which awareness could be spread about those who suffers from hearing loss and how difference can be made in those people’s life.
There are approximately 360 million people around the world who suffers from hearing loss. Hearing loss can be resulted from genetic causes, complications at birth, certain infectious diseases, chronic ear infections, the use of particular drugs, exposure to excessive noise, or ageing. More than 90 percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents. As most of them are in developing countries and can be helped with just hearing aids.
Many non-profit as well as for-profit organization are working together to help bring a change in those people’s life and LSTN (organization) is one of them.
How it all started?
After coming across a video about a woman, who hears for the very first time in her life, moved Bridget Hilton a lot as she cannot imagine a life without music. After watching the video, she started to imagine the life of those people who have not heard a single sound in their entire life, just thinking about those people left her heartbroken, and so the video was the first the push towards her idea, of creating a headphone company that will help people who suffers from hearing loss and “Change the world through the power of music”.
Introduction to the company
In 2012 Hilton teamed with social entrepreneur Joe Huff and created a headphone selling company LSTN. It is a for-profit company based in Los Angeles, California. Working in a partnership with Starkey Hearing Foundation. In more than 3 years, with the help of Starkey Hearing, LSTN has been able to help give the gift of sound to over 22,000 people.
A believe, that whatever is good for business should be good for the world as well, helped the founders to set out and create a company that could bring change by providing not only stylish, and high-quality products but also something that can help fund hearing restoration and spread the awareness of hearing loss. So far, Hilton have helped people in the US, Peru, Kenya and Uganda, to restore their hearing.
The reason, Bridget Hilton and Joe Huff choose to create the “headphone” company was because according to them the market was way over-saturated, at the same time they felt there was nothing cool or fashionable enough in the market. They wanted to create something that would help them reflect their values, fashion sense and sound quality. As they have a saying “Our product sounds good, looks good, does good”.
Introduction to the product
LSTN unlike any other headphone selling company, builds a charitable component into their business model where part of every purchase goes to the Starkey Hearing Foundation, whose mission is to help people restore their hearing, as they cannot afford to have medical help.
Most of the headphones making companies uses plastic for creating their product that is difficult to recycle under many circumstances, making them un-friendly for the environment (Bennett, S, 2014).
As we are well aware that plastic pollution is one among the many reasons for the cause of global warming. With the increasing population plastic pollution have taken a huge troll on the marine life, it is estimated that by 2050, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish, by weight (Harrington, R, 2017).
LSTN, a company that not only helps in charitable work but also create environmental-friendly products.
In order to reduce the consumption and dependence on plastic, LSTN creates there headphones from wood. However, using wood still means the trees have to be cut down and that is not considered as eco-friendly, but the case with the LSTN headphones is different because instead of cutting down trees, they make their products from upcycled wood from the furniture makers, that otherwise would have gone wasted. They legally harvest the wood through licenses with the local government. LSTN Company, makes three beautifully different headphones, handcrafted from reclaimed beech, cherry ebony and zebra wood. Where most of the companies uses generic mass-produced driver’s small speakers inside the headphones, LSTN uses custom-made drivers that resonate with the wood material. And that is what makes their product better from their competitors.
The customers can easily purchase their desired headphones through online booking, and can also buy them from the markets. Regarding the purchases the customers can easily contact and consult with the LSTN team. They also guarantee to take back the product within 30 days if the customers are not happy with their purchase and also provides 1 year warranty to all of their audio products with five-star quality (LSTN Sound Co 2017).
The Parents are crying while witnessing their daughter to hear for the first time. Teenagers dancing when they suddenly reconnect with their peers and the world around them. Being humbled by the impact of seeing a 110-year-old man as he suddenly hears sound after 50+ years. These are just 3 stories among all the other 22,000 lives LSTN been able to change because of their innovative work.
We should be more considerate, regarding the ways our purchases are affecting the environment. If we become more cautious about what type of product we buy, and think if our purchases are being helpful apart from our use, will help us bring a huge difference not only in ours, but in others’ lives as well. We can simply take care of each other through small thoughtful steps. There are only few companies through which we can say our purchases are making a difference, and LSTN is one of them. Just imagine, buying a simple headphone from LSTN can help someone to restore their hearing. We need to bring a change in this world, and indeed, these small steps can lead us towards a better tomorrow.
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