Mobile Device Uses the Net to Tackle Deafness
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
About 3-million people in SA suffer from hearing loss. Every year, about 4,000 people become deaf due to antiretroviral and tuberculosis treatment. Early detection through screening tests could halve this number.
Awareness of hearing impairment is low and primary healthcare facilities do not have adequate staff or infrastructure to do tests frequently enough to prevent permanent hearing loss.
Telemedicine can help healthcare workers to access professionals based hundreds of kilometres away to provide assistance for patients in remote areas where specialist doctors are not available.
There are two types of tele-audiology tests that can be used to improve diagnosis. In an asynchronous test, a patient is tested and the results transferred via the internet to a professional. In a synchronous test, a patient’s hearing is tested in real time, as if they are in a consultation with an audiologist.
This technology solves the problem of distance but not the problem of the shortage of healthcare professionals.
Johannesburg company eMoyo manufactures and distributes mobile audiometers that can detect hearing loss in its early stages. Its KUDUwave software and automated testing processes subscribe to the principles of telemedicine but eMoyo’s newest, groundbreaking innovation, transmedicine, provides world-class interpretations of test results.
The mobile audiometers are synchronous, automated, portable, patient-examination devices. If the results show hearing impairment, patients can be referred to a healthcare professional to receive treatment.