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Two Chicago Teen Entrepreneurs To Receive Free Hearing Aids Compatible With Their Cell Phones

SALT LAKE CITY, June 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Two Chicago teens will receive free hearing aids from Sonic Innovations, Inc. (Sonic), a global provider of hearing care services and solutions, on Wednesday, June 30 at 10 a.m.  The donation will take place during a fitting session with Dr. Linda Burba at Audiologic Services, located at 386 Pennsylvania Avenue in Glen Ellyn, IL.  

Sonic has partnered with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) program to reward Marcella Liggins and Christopher Turnbo, two 17-year-old students from the Chicago Vocational and Career Academy, for their innovative work in NFTE's annual city-wide business plan competition.  Each student will receive a pair of Endura hearing aids and sonicBLU devices, a wireless communication device that allows users of Sonic hearing aids to wirelessly connect to Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones and devices.

"I feel great and am so happy to receive the hearing aids from Sonic Innovations," said Liggins.  "Once I get the hearing aids and connect them to my cell phone, I will feel special and my life will change.  I can't believe I will be wearing a product that is like my business plan idea.  It is like a dream becoming a reality."  Turnbo said, "Life will be so much better because I won't hear a lot of noises in the background with these hearing aids when I am on my cell phone.  I am proud to know I am the first among my friends to wear hearing aids that have a Bluetooth connection.  Now I'm thinking of how to connect an MP3 player or iPod to the hearing aid."

Liggins was born hearing impaired and Turnbo slowly began to lose his hearing at the age of 5.  The students' severe hearing loss requires them to wear hearing aid devices, and they decided that it would be nice to have Bluetooth capability embedded inside their hearing aid so they could hear clearer when talking on their cell phones.  Liggins and Turnbo partnered together and developed a business plan for a hearing aid company that would develop state-of- the-art communications for people who are hearing impaired.  The team entered its plan in the NFTE business competition where they won first place in the semi-finals and a consolation prize in the finals.

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