Prof. Swanepoel says, “Our hope for hearZA is for every South African to take the opportunity to have a free hearing test in the comfort of their own homes. For those identified with hearing loss, we hope that through the app’s linkage to hearing health providers feature they will take up hearing care. For those who have normal hearing, our hope is that they will continue to use the app to monitor their hearing ability every year to ensure they take care of their hearing.”

According to Prof. Swanepoel, “More than three million South Africans suffer from permanent, disabling hearing loss.” Hearing loss has major effects on child development in terms of speech, language, cognition and socio-emotional well-being. This may cause struggles in educational success. Hearing loss also has striking effects on adults, such as social isolation, depression, cognitive decline and an increased risk of dementia.

At the time of going to print, the app has tested 24 646 people and has identified 4 773 people with hearing impairments. hearZA is available for download on Android and iOS platforms.

 

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