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Self-test 'hearing impairment App' launched.

Kenyans will now be able to check their hearing ability regularly in the comfort of their homes.

This is after an app, hearWHO, a free application for mobile devices which allows people to check their hearing regularly and intervene early in case of hearing loss was launched.

The app was launched on Sunday by the World Health Organization and on Monday in Kenya during the World Hearing Day at Kenyatta National Hospital.

The app is targeted at those who are at risk of hearing loss or who already experience some of the symptoms related to hearing loss.

Dr Isaac Wahome, the only specialist in hearing devices at the hospital called on Kenyans to download the app which is now available on Android and IOS.

"Those expected to benefit are people who are often exposed to high levels of sound, such as those who listen to loud music or work in noisy places; people who use medicines that are harmful to hearing; and people aged above 60 years," Wahome said.

According to the medic, symptoms indicating the onset of hearing loss include a ringing sensation in the ear, known as tinnitus frequently missing parts of a conversation, and a tendency to increase the volume of the television, radio or audio devices.

"Early detection is important so as to help identify risky behaviours that need to be changed and ascertain the most appropriate intervention needed to address hearing loss," he said.

Wahome called on the Ministry of Health to train more personnel and ensure hearing devices are readily accessible to all.

"People have to travel from far to come to Kenyatta Hospital yet more trained personnel at local level would ensure hearing impairment cases are handled locally and only serious ones escalated to the national facility," he said.

The medic said it takes between Sh30,000 and Sh700,000 to purchase a hearing device, depending on specifications.

According to statistics from a survey conducted in 2007 by the Kenya National survey, it was estimated 12 per cent of Kenyans had hearing impairment of which 52 per cent were female and 49 per cent male.

In 2009, 3.5 per cent of the population had disabilities where 14.1 per cent had a hearing impairment.

The Kenya National Association for Deaf estimates 800,000 persons have disabilities.

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Mar 4, 2019
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