The general awareness of hearing impairments in South Africa is low, despite having millions of people in the country suffering from it. This disturbing factor is what led e-health startup hearScreen to launch a mobile game on World Hearing Day called HearZA, as an effort to raise awareness on the issue and hopefully turn the statistics around.
The hearing test app was launched last Thursday on Android and Apple iStore. HearZA is specifically made to identify any signs of hearing loss and thus help sufferers to get help as conveniently as possible.
Using the app, you simply test your hearing by listening to easy digits while there is a background noise. Users are then scored according to their responses, referring those with low scores to healthcare providers in their respective areas.
“The smartphone-based National Hearing Test is the first of its kind. Not only providing accurate testing but encouraging hearing health awareness through a gamified user-experience,” said Professor De Wet Swanepoel, lead inventor of HearZA.
It is estimated that more than 1.2 million children aged between 5 and 14 years suffer from moderate to severe hearing loss in both ears. In South Africa alone, about 7.5 percent of the school children suffer from varying degrees of hearing loss. Undiagnosed and unattended to, this affects their overall performance in school, and could put them at risk of being injured on the road due to not hearing warning sounds clearly and promptly.
According to a statement by hearScreen, unidentified hearing loss has far reaching consequences that include communication difficulties, less energy and a greater risk of depression and dementia.
One of the main reasons why there is such a high rate of people suffering from hearing impairment in the country is due to a lack of resources, or lack of access thereof. This hearing app will be easily available for everyone to download- the more people get diagnosed, the better the chances of treatment. Innovative solutions to national challenges!