Affordable access to hearing care using connected mHealth solutions that anyone can use, anywhere
Project start date : 10/06/2015
Beneficiary country : South Africa Tanzania, United Republic of Ethiopia Botswana Lesotho Zambia Guatemala Malawi Uganda
About the project
hearScreen is a patented smartphone application that provides a mobile health solution for early detection of hearing loss and linkage of patients to required health services. hearScreen provides an entirely new solution for traditional barriers to the detection of disabling hearing loss by using low cost, commercially available hardware (a smartphone and headphone) together with a custom developed software application. It provides the first smartphone-based hearing test that allows acoustic calibration of test stimuli according to prescribed national and international standards (ISO, SANS etc). It incorporates novel functionalities unavailable in current devices, with integration of real-time environmental monitoring during testing to ensure compliant noise levels, onsite data capturing and sharing capabilities through cellular networks that allow for centralized surveillance and monitoring from a hearScreen cloud-based service. A referral database for hearing health care providers are linked to patients detected with hearing problems through location-based providers linked by text message or email.
Hearing loss is a leading contributor to the global burden of disease (GBD) with 1 in 7 persons affected (GBD, 2016). The recent GBD report estimated that almost one billion people (940 million) suffered from hearing loss in 2015 (GBD, 2016). This makes it the 2nd most common impairment ahead of visual impairment as measured on the years lived with disability (YLD) index.
Timely provision of medical and audiological interventions has the potential to significantly reduce this burden. The first point of entry for providing appropriate interventions however, require early detection options that are accurate, efficient and widely accessible. hearScreen provides an entirely new solution for traditional barriers to the detection of disabling hearing loss by using low cost, commercially available hardware (a smartphone and headphone) together with a custom developed software application. Besides cutting costs by more than 80% compared to traditional devices the innovation significantly improves and alters current models of school and community-based prevention for hearing loss by allowing non-specialist personnel to conduct screening in resource constrained environments. Quality control features such as environmental noise monitoring, automated testing and interpretation along with cloud-based data management and surveillance differentiate it entirely from current options. Location-based data also enable direct communication with patients (or their caregivers) by text message or email linking them to their closest hearing health providers.
11 Full-Time equivalents
6 Service providers
Number of beneficiaries since launch