Volume 2, Chapter 13: mHealth solutions in hearing care for sub-Saharan Africa



Over 5% of the world’s population, 360 million people, have a disabling hearing loss with the prevalence of hearing loss set to increase due to an aging world population.  This together with the limited number of hearing health providers globally exacerbates the gap in demand for hearing care and the availability of hearing care. Furthermore, countries are unlikely to invest in the high costs associated with typical audiometric equipment and the need for skilled persons to conduct audiometry is a major barrier to access. As a result, hearing loss remains largely unidentified in children and adults. However, with the widespread penetration of 1.08 billion smartphones worldwide, mobile health or mHealth hearing health applications are demonstrating promise to overcome barriers of cost and penetration. This chapter is considers mHealth projects underway in sub-Saharan Africa for improved hearing health access. These projects include consumer solutions (e.g. hearZa) as well as clinical use of mobile applications for screening and diagnosis (e.g. hearScreen and hearTest) in the health and education settings.




  • Multimedia 1. Multimedia 1. hearScreen webpage:  http://www.hearxgroup.com/hearscreen









Contributing Authors

Faheema Mahomed Asmail, PhD


Dr Faheema Mahomed-Asmail is a lecturer and clinical research audiologist at the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa. Her research and clinical interests are in the field of telehealth and access to hearing health care which involves early identification and diagnosis of school-aged hearing loss, including screening, diagnostic assessment, the use of mobile technology and automated testing. She has published numerous peer reviewed articles and chapters in books and is a reviewer for a number of ISI accredited journals. Dr. Mahomed-Asmail can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


De Wet Swanepoel, PhD


Dr. De Wet Swanepoel is professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Pretoria with adjunct positions at the University of Western Australia, University of Texas at Dallas and is a senior research fellow at the Ear Science Institute Australia. Dr. Swanepoel’s research capitalises on the growth in information and communication technologies to explore, develop and evaluate innovative service delivery models and applied solutions to improve access to early development and health services, particularly in ear and hearing care. He has published more than 130 peer-reviewed articles, books and book chapters and has received numerous national and international awards in recognition of his work. Dr. Swanepoel serves as president of the International Society of Audiology and as deputy editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Audiology. Dr. Swanepoel can be reached at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.