Price: Free
App Size: 14MB
Developers: David Howe
Category: Best Consumer – Live out loud, Best Enterprise Development App, Best Breakthrough Developer, Most Innovative App, Wild Card
hearZA is the National Hearing Test of South Africa. The App allows for a clinically validated hearing test on any iOS or Android device in under 3 minutes. With an estimated 6 million South Africans suffering from hearing loss, the hearZA App allows every South African to take a free hearing test on a smartphone. If a problem is detected on the test, which has been developed and validated by the University of Pretoria, a person can be linked to their closest hearing health provider based on geolocation.

Hearing loss is called the silent epidemic, ranking as the 5th most significant global burden of disease based on years lived with disability. Hearing loss is an invisible and therefore often underestimated disabling condition. It has pervasive and far reaching effects on development in children including speech, language, cognition and socio-emotional well-being and is on of the major barriers to educational success. In adults its effects include social isolation, increased depression and cognitive decline with a threefold increase risk of developing dementia. It also results in higher unemployment rates, lower earning capacity, poor overall health, fatigue, and increased health care costs and mortality.

Early detection remains the key to eliminate avoidable impairment related to hearing loss – this is what hearZA is about. The hearZA App makes widespread systematic hearing screening possible by providing access to a cost-effective, sustainable solution to anyone with a smartphone. Individuals who fail a hearing test will be linked with their closest hearing health care providers based on geolocation to close the loop in the referral and follow up hearing health care system. hearZA is a world first to provide a National Hearing Test on a smartphone platform that allows decentralised access to hearing testing, regular hearing health monitoring, and the ability to connect patients to the care the require. Users generate their own personal hearing health profile allowing for hearing health monitoring.

The App is simple to use and has been validated across all 11 official South African languages with respective normative data. hearZA was developed by the University of Pretoria over a period of 3 years with extensive validation and normative research published in foremost peer-reviewed journals. hearZA boasts an accuracy rate exceeding 90% for correctly identifying hearing loss. The increasing penetration of smartphones means that the smartphone-based digits-in-noise hearing test in a country like South Africa can provide access to hearing testing in rural and urban areas, across different socio-economic strata. The hearZA vision is to allow every South African the opportunity to test their hearing and to be linked to the necessary service providers.

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