Shilpa Huzurbazar

Speech & Audiologist, Sanwad

Let’s start by telling us a little about your background, parents, family, where were you born, and where do you live?

My name is Mrs. Shilpa Rajiv Huzurbazar, Speech and Audiologist since 1990. Let’s start from my early days. I was born on 25th December, 1969. My father was Production Engineer and mom was a teacher. We are a family of five - me, my brother who is a Computer Engineer and my sister is Commerce Post Graduate. I was born and brought up in Mumbai. I have pursued my specialization from Aliyavar Jung National Institute Mumbai. Till 1993 I was doing my private practice in Mumbai and also internship with ENT specialist but being empathic towards hearing handicapped people specially young children of all ages, I was also working as therapist in Private School on honorary basis. I got married in 1993 to Mr. Rajiv Huzurbazar, B. Pharm., who is currently has his own manufacturing unit in Kolhapur, Maharashtra. I am blessed with three sons. Elder is one is currently pursuing his Masters in Audiology in Mumbai, and other two are doing their engineering studies from Kolhapur. After marriage I moved from Mumbai to Kolhapur. Before coming here, I had done market survey for career prospects for me, and to my surprise I got my very first patient next day after my marriage.

This is how the journey of Sanwad started in the year 1993 in Kolhapur, Maharashtra. Sanwad means effective way of communication.

What did you want to become growing up? And what did you go to school for?

Interestingly, we had one care taker at our home while we were young. That lady had hearing issue, which made me curious about this community. I have personally seen their struggle. Also, I was observing irregularities of medical profession closely as other family members are in medical field. So I decided to take up a career where I can balance my life and work, and also serve the community. I had two options Orthotic and Prosthetics, and second was Audiology and Speech pathology, and I decided to go for Audiology.

In one word (okay, one sentence), who/what are you?

I am a professional, empathetic and meticulous person. I am also a poet at heart.

How would you describe your business/profession?

Sanwad started in 1993 in one room but it is currently one of the biggest Audiology Centre in Maharashtra. Head office is in Kolhapur, Maharashtra. We have total of five branches. Two are in Kolhapur, one in Mumbai, one in Ichalkaranji in Kolhapur District and one is in Belgaon located 110km from Kolhapur in Karnataka state. We have 25 employees. Our centre has full time psychologist, personal therapist, and visiting geneticist, centre manager, number of special educators, and speech assistants. As Audiology and Speech therapy is dual profession, we deal with electronics, sound current, amplification, sound processing in the brain, and speech process in the brain. Our prime objective revolve around three points a. early detection b. effective and practical rehabilitation c. work equally on prevention of handicapped and also serve the hearing handicapped people with diagnose, tests and treatment by counselling.

The general category is hearing impaired old people, to whom we suggest proper hearing aid after advanced audiometric tests. The other category is small children having learning disability, down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, mentally retired cleft lip and palate, dyslexia, agraphia, childhood aphasia dysarthria, stuttering cluttering and voice disorders. The objective itself requires vast study and keen attention towards each individual patient. Thus, has great social importance.

Young groups facing problems or require professional treatment such as:

A] Stammering

B] Voice modulation for performing arts like plays, cinema etc.

C] Changing of voice tone to suitable gender.

Apart from counselling to parents, speech therapy, audiology, Sanwad is also engaged in social awareness campaigns regarding Hearing Hygiene in and around Kolhapur. I have also worked for special project designed by Manchester University for Autism in rural area, and technical/service support for hearing aids of all brands.

How did you get started in the industry/project?

As I mentioned earlier that I had patient very next day from my practice, but as Speech and Audiologist my main focus on children with different disabilities and their rehabilitation without any medication. My first case was from remote area, a child with operated cleft palate. With therapy we could achieve desired results with that case. Slowly as parents started attending therapy sessions, results were showing. Confidence of parents and patients resulted into growth. After 2012 we had to start other branches, mainly to cater all age group patients, as they could not come to main centre.

What according to you are the most important life lessons you’ve learned that have made you better at what you do?

My passion became my profession. What I learnt apart from materialistic success is profession contentment, which is important professionally. Also, patience is the key to success.

Describe your daily/weekly routine.

I always wanted to maintain work and life balance. Till date, I try to follow the same by systematising my daily and weekly schedule. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I visit my other Kolhapur branches, and once a month I go to Belgaon. As far as my daily routine is concerned my morning timing is for family, and Sunday is holiday. From 11.30am to 9pm, I work in my centre.

Share some of the growing pains in the industry/ profession/ startup/ latest project, and any failures, setbacks. And how you dealt with or overcame them.

Our main focus was always on early detection and rehabilitation. In early days, patients and their parents used to walk-in after detection of problem. When we suggested therapy, they used to turn down as we never prescribed any medicines. But after couple of consultations when they started seeing results, confidence started building up. Major hindrance was that we also suggested follow-up sessions at home. Initially due to lack of awareness and poor educational background, they could not do that, so we had started taking all sessions at main centre. Building confidence was major struggle we faced but with time and patience we managed.

Any lessons learnt from these setbacks that you can share with our readers?

For last 25 years, I have been practicing as Speech Therapist and Audiologist. From all my setbacks or struggles what I learnt is Patience, Perseverance and faith in your profession helps you to overcome.

What drives you?

I am passionate about my Profession, and that drives me.

What next? Where do you go from here? (1/3/5 years out)

Now Sanwad has already started working on its Research and Development Centre in Mumbai. It will be operational within three years from now.

Any practical and philosophical advice you would like to share?

I would just like to tell specially to professionals that kindly focus on your quality of work. If you are an entrepreneur, quantity of business will automatically follow.

Please list any charity or non-profit you support that you would like readers to know about?

We have own NGO called Astha in Kolhapur in the year 2000. Our main objective is to could take care Mentally Retired kids till the age of 18 years, whose parents are not in an economical position to give them treatment and therapy. We take care of them and try to make them self-sufficient with skills development. Our focus is to bring them to main stream. Right now we have total 70 students in our NGO.

Rapid Fire

Favorite City: Mumbai

Favorite Movie: Dangal

Favorite Songs: Gazals

Favorite time of day: When I am gardening.