Hear we go

Updated: 2011-08-19 10:47

By Zhang Xi (China Daily European Weekly)

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His friends were a source of major encouragement. "A few of my best friends were studying it and persuaded me to follow them and soon I have found that this is what I want to do in my life," he says. "Sometimes coincidences write the best scenarios, especially for someone who doesn't really know what to do. And at that time I didn't really know after all."

After working for such a major international company, he decided it was time to branch out and start his own company, New Wave European Hearing Solutions.

"In so many ways I gained great experience working for GN ReSound. First, I developed my professional skills and deepened my knowledge, not only about audiology and hearing aids, but also how to interact and work in different, sometimes very challenging environments and with people from many cultural backgrounds," he says.

"But I wanted to have a more direct impact on the hearing impaired population in China by not only fitting hearing aids to patients but teaching them how to do it. So I established New Wave project together with my like-minded Norwegian friend Peter Buvik Vibe."

The company provides hearing tests and consulting services to adults and children.

Balicki believes that his new company can be successful because of the "major shortage of professional audiologists in China, and it is not an officially recognized profession yet".

"The Chinese population is getting older and one of the challenges is to make sure they can have enough professionals to provide them with the level of services they deserve", he says.

He says more time may be needed before mainstream Chinese better understand what an audiologist does.

"Some of our patients went to see the doctors first, but doctors are not specialized in hearing testing and are especially not trained in fitting hearing aids. This my job," he says.

"This is the difference between China and Europe. Back in Europe, people who have problems with hearing go see an audiologist first and then, after being diagnosed by the audiologist, they go to see the ear, nose and throat doctor if there is the need.

"Here in China, due to the lack of audiologists, people go to see the doctor. But as the awareness of the society about importance of hearing is increasing, more and more people are looking for professional audiologists, not only ENT doctors."

Building a new company is always a challenge, especially when its services are relatively unknown. But word is spreading quickly.

"People know about us from our advertising but also because of our very good reputation. Our patients are satisfied with our services so they recommended our company to others," he says. "We also organize seminars about hearing and explain to older people how they can take care of their hearing. And we also go to schools.

"It is crucial to educate kids about how important hearing is in their life, and how to protect it. Especially now when some specialists already call the young people the 'MP3 generation'. This generation has the highest loss of hearing than ever before."

As well as their normal daily business routine, Balicki and his business partner offer their services at nurseries and nursing homes free of charge. "We are always very happy to do that as we get a lot of appreciation for our work. It even happened once that one old lady sang a song for us. It just made my feel that my work is really worth something," he says.

"I believe that if China would open more to small business run by young people you can only benefit from it. We can both learn from each other and create a unique co-operation model.

"I believe with our knowledge and experience we can really make a difference."

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