Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

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Hearing for all! Singing legend Anuradha Paudwal is a strong advocate of charity work and she is making sure everyone gets to enjoy her melodious voice, especially kids with special hearing needs. After releasing a short PSA film, Silent Chaos, on World Deaf Day, the singer sat down for a detailed conversation about her effort to help those in need through her initiative Suryodaya Foundation.

Singer Anuradha Paudwal talk about helping those with hearing problems.
Singer Anuradha Paudwal talk about helping those with hearing problems.

The Padma Shri Singer has been improving the lives of many kids with hearing needs across India. She has so far donated over 15000 hearing aids and her journey began last year. She said, “Last year I signed up with a company of hearing aids. I was really not into this sector. I had asked them why they needed me as a brand ambassador. They said it is to spread awareness.”

“I started to think about how I could contribute and realised there’s a dearth of people who are aware of the perils of hearing deficiency. If you cannot see then the person goes to buy glasses immediately but for hearing… I don’t know what the reason (behind people’s negligence) is… I gathered the price (of a hearing aid) can be a very big factor. They are heavily priced and those which might not be very expensive, seriously lacking in quality.”

Anuradha Paudwal reached out to deaf students

Anuradha reached out to the hearing aid company and bought them at a special price. She began screening campaigns in schools. “I was shocked to know that there were more than 300 students in normal schools who had hearing deficiencies. I started buying hearing aids and being their ambassador, I could get them at a special price. We started camps and distributed them to children,” she said.

With time comes experience. Anuradha too picked up a lot during her initiative and learnt the grievances of those affected. She recalled, “During these camps, some parents used to tell us ‘Your hearing aids are not of good quality. They stop working after a few days’. I came to know it’s not the apparatus which was faulty, it’s just that it comes with one battery. A battery lasts for only ten days and needs a change; it wasn’t clear to the parents. So when we started donating aid through Suryodaya Foundation, we made sure that we provided batteries for six months so that they get into the habit of changing the batteries.

“We also learned that parents were initially not aware of their child’s problem. They say ‘We got to know after 4-5 years of age. Log bolte they kuch kuch bache deri se bolte hai (people assume some kids take time to speak)’ It never struck them their kid might not be talking because they can’t hear. There’s a dire need to spread awareness,” she said earnestly.

Anuradha Paudwal on pitfall of loud music

There are a lot of factors that might contribute to or affect one’s hearing ability and one of them can be the impact of loud music. When questioned Anuradha her honest thoughts on the kind of music, she instantly replied, “Of, course, it’s bound to happen. Aaj kal itna loud music hota hai (these days there’s loud music everywhere). It’s not good for the heart also. At parties, DJs play music like there’s no tomorrow. They get a kick from loud music but in the bargain, they are hampering their own hearing sensitivity.”

Citing an example of lack of hearing sensitivity in students, she added, “Sometimes a kid keeps scoring low marks. Everyone tells them ‘Tu dhyan nahi deta (you don’t pay attention in class)’. Probably the problem is they can’t hear the teacher and grasp. The awareness is so low that they don’t know. Baki sari cheezien toh thik se kar leta hai (He is doing everything else). What’s wrong with his hearing?”

Anuradha Paudwal on ‘weird’ music offers

Has anyone ever approached Anuradha for a song with loud music which could have affected the kind of audience that still loves her? She smiled and counted her blessings, “Not yet. I have been blessed because aisa koi vichitra gane mere pass aye nahi (thank God I didn’t get any such weird song). All the songs I have done are either romantic, emotional or soft. I kept getting the same kind.”

Not only providing hearing aids for kids, but the playback singer has also helped many with her several initiatives. From building a school for HIV-infected to adopting drought-prone villages in Nanded, to even sponsoring education for kids, she has been highlighting the importance of giving back to the world.

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