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Bridging the gap between early identification and intervention in the paediatric population with hearing impairments

Dhanashree Pillay, Sharon Moonsamy, Katijah Khoza-Shangase


The aims of early hearing detection and Intervention (EHDI) policies are to identify and manage hearing loss as soon as possible, thereby minimising the effects of undetected hearing loss on the communication ability of the paediatric individual. The profession of audiology in South Africa is growing, and consequently the numbers of available audiologists who enforce the EHDI principles of early detection are also increasing. However South Africa, as a developing country, has additional barriers that prevent the EHDI principles from being fully achieved. These barriers have led to the existence of a significant gap between the identification of a hearing loss and the management of this communication disability. Hearing impaired paediatric individuals who seek medical assistance from the public health care sector are faced with the challenge of insufficient financial resources and funding to provide them with the appropriate hearing amplification apparatus to manage their hearing loss effectively. Paediatric individuals may wait for up to 2 years until these funds become available; thus leading to undesirable consequences for the development of speech, language and communication skills. The purpose of the current study was to explore how implementation of an alternative service provision model that advocates public-private partnership; in the form of a hearing aid bank, can facilitate the achievement of EHDI principles; thereby bridging this significant gap between detection of hearing loss and actual intervention. Findings highlight the need for thorough interrogation and exploration of such public-private partnerships, such as the Wits Hearing Aid Bank Project (Wits-HAB), as vehicles to providing the much needed services to the hearing-impaired paediatric populations in developing countries.

Authors' affiliations

Dhanashree Pillay, University of the Witwatersrand

Sharon Moonsamy, University of the Witwatersrand

Katijah Khoza-Shangase, University of the Witwatersrand

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early hearing detection; intervention; paediatric HAB

Cite this article

South African Journal of Child Health 2010;4(4):92.

Article History

Date submitted: 2010-11-08
Date published: 2010-12-08

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