YOLANDA SITHOLE

The Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology launched a self-service hearing test kiosk. The hearing test was free for all UP students and staff, on 3 March. The kiosk was at the Merensky Library on Hatfield Campus – it was self-service and user-friendly which made it easy for students and UP staff to use. The kiosk gives students a score, which, if below 50, the student is referred to a professional, and those with a score of higher than 50 would be considered to have a good hearing range.

Solomon Matheza, a final-year Education student, took the test. Matheza said he found the test to be helpful as he got to see his hearing-range score. After taking the test, he was required to type in his contact details as a referral to a professional audiologist. Keegan Bosman, a first-year BCom general student, described the test as convenient, simple to navigate, and that he would highly recommend it to other students. Both Matheza and Bosman emphasized that the hearing test device was convenient as it automatically calculated the hearing range, and, if needed, refers the tester to a professional.

The Clinical Coordinator of the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Dr Christine Louw, explains the aim and importance of World Hearing Day:

What is the aim behind the free hearing test initiative?

The aim behind the free hearing test initiative is two-fold: Raising awareness about hearing loss and increasing access to hearing care services. It is important to raise awareness in the younger generations as more than one billion students and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices, according to the World Health Organization. Furthermore, when a screening service is brought closer to the public, in this case, the staff and students of the University of Pretoria, access to hearing care can be improved.

If a UP student/staff member finds that they have a hearing problem after taking the test, what steps can they take from there?

After completing the hearing screening using the self-test kiosk […] students and staff can be directly connected with the UP-Audiology Clinic situated on the Hatfield Campus.

What measures can people take to prevent hearing loss?

1) Protect your hearing from loud noises.

This can be done by:

  • Minimising your exposure to loud noises that are persistent.
  • When listening to music through headphones or earphones on your personal audio device, keep the volume down.
  • Wear ear protectors during any activity that exposes you to very loud noise (above 85 decibels).

2) Be sensitive to subtle changes in your hearing – if you experience any ringing in your ears, or struggle to follow a conversation in a noisy area, such as a restaurant, see an audiologist.

3) Get your hearing checked annually.

The self-test kiosk is situated on level three in Merensky Library and can be used by UP students and members of staff.

 

Image: Kamogelo Mogapi

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