Today will see the launch in South Africa of a National Hearing Test for World Hearing Day.
The hearZATM App, developed and validated by the University of Pretoria, will provide users with a free hearing test courtesy of Vodacom for recognising the importance of this course by funding 112 500 tests for South Africans.
“At Vodacom we have always believed in the centrality of ICT in delivering effective healthcare in Africa. This partnership highlights Vodacom’s commitment to support health accessibility through mobile health (mHealth) applications,” says Vuyani Jarana, Vodacom Business Chief Officer.
In South Africa, undisclosed hearing loss has far reaching consequences including communication difficulties, fatigue, and a higher risk of depression and dementia.
Prof De Wet Swanepoel, lead-inventor of hearZATM, the downloadable Android and iOS application, confirms that more than three million South Africans suffer from permanent disabling hearing loss.
The smartphone-based National Hearing Test is the first of its kind. Prof Swanepoel adds: “this will not only provide accurate testing but it will encourage hearing health awareness through a gamified user-experience”.
Early detection with hearZATM can ensure better hearing for better living. Persons identified with a hearing problem will be linked based on geolocation to their closest hearing health care providers.
In support of World Hearing Day, 18 persons identified with a disabling hearing loss using the hearZATM App will be sponsored for an audiological evaluation and hearing aids. Hearing aids are donated by Sivantos, Oticon and the Ear Institute.