Approximately four million South Africans suffer from hearing loss.
This is according to a study by HearX, a South African business incubation programme that provides a digital health solution to low-income earners’ problems when accessing quality hearing screening and hearing aids.
The study revealed that in a vast continent such as Africa, 90% of affected persons do not have access to hearing-related care.
Described as an invisible epidemic, the impact that hearing loss could have and the importance of healthy hearing were highlighted on World Hearing Day, which was observed on Wednesday, 3 March.
It raised awareness of the prevention of deafness and hearing loss, and the promotion of ear and hearing care across the world.
“The experience of hearing loss can be a very lonely and isolating one, because humans are inherently sociable creatures,” said Prof. De Wet Swanepoel of HearX, an entrepreneur who graduated from the Innovation Hub’s Maxum Smart business incubation programme in 2017.
“The modern world, especially in low-income communities, is still lagging in catering to the special needs of people who suffer from hearing loss.”
It was found that 8% of people with disabling hearing loss live in low and middle-income countries.
According to Swanepoel, HearX is exploring the introduction of financing solutions such as subscription-based models facilitated by mobile money payments with an award from the Assistive Tech Impact Fund.
“We believe in healthy hearing for everyone, everywhere.”