Award-winning mHealth Platform, hearScreen, in partnership with the University of Pretoria, will launch a National Hearing Test app, called hearZA™, on World Hearing Day.

The free hearing screening app will be available for download in the Android and iOS stores on the 3rd of March 2016.

Recent WHO estimates indicate that there are 360 million people in the world with disabling hearing loss – about 5.3% of the world’s population. In South Africa more than 3 million people suffer from permanent disabling hearing loss.

Unidentified hearing loss has far reaching consequences including communication difficulties, less energy and a higher risk of depression and dementia, said hearScreen in a statement.

To increase awareness of healthy hearing, hearScreen “gamified” their hearing test to allow users to share their “hearing score” and to challenge friends via Facebook and Twitter.

The two-minute test requires users to listen to simple digits in the presence of background noise. On completion, each user receives a unique hearing score with a higher score indicating better hearing.

“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 lead-inventor of hearZA™, Prof De Wet Swanepoel.

To ensure appropriate follow-up services, those identified with a hearing problem will be linked to their closest hearing healthcare providers based on geolocation. The South African Association of Audiologists and Speech Language and Hearing Association (SASLHA) have partnered with hearZA™ to build a national referral network.

The first 12 people identified with a disabling hearing loss using the hearZA™ app will receive a sponsored audiological evaluation at their closest provider and hearing aids if indicated. Hearing aids are donated by leading manufacturers, Sivantos and Oticon.

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