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US hearing gadgets firm opens Nairobi offices

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An aerial view of a section of Nairobi Kenya. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

US firm Starkey Hearing Technologies has opened offices in Nairobi to serve as the continent’s hub.

The Minnesota-headquartered multinational’s first offices in Africa will house a full hearing care service center with a 3D ear-mold laboratory to make custom hearing devices. The new facility has opened careers opportunities for personnel in audiology, marketing, customer service, sales, and lab fields.

The firm is now eyeing business with the county governments and hospitals to cash in on the growing demand for hearing aids. The firm’s launch comes at a time when impairment in hearing has risen in the past two decades, with data from Kenya National Special Needs Education (KNSE) now showing that one out of every 10 people suffer from the problem.

“Kenya is the ideal location due to its infrastructure, facilities and superior medical services. This will allow us to help people throughout Africa who are suffering from hearing loss to hear better and live better.” said Giscard Bechara, Regional Director for the Middle East & Africa at Starkey Hearing Technologies.

“Plans are underway to open branches in other African countries but Nairobi will remain the Hub of Africa,” said Bechara.

The firm has been in the hearing care industry for over 50 years.

It operates 24 facilities and provides services in more than 100 countries worldwide. It currently employs an estimated 5,000 people.

Some 20 years ago, hearing problems were estimated to affect between five and eight people out of every 100 Kenyans, or less than one in every 10 but current data shows that the number of those affected has grown over time. The data compiled by KSNE shows Kenyans are more afflicted by hearing loss compared to the global average of five people with hearing difficulties in every 100, based on statistics from the World Health organisation (WHO).

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