Test your hearing at newly launched self-test kiosk at Merensky 2 Library

Posted on March 16, 2020

On 3 March 2020 the Faculty of Humanities’ Department of Speech-Language   Pathology and Audiology, in collaboration with the Department of Library Services, commemorated World Hearing Day by launching a hearing self-test kiosk at the Merensky 2 Library.

The kiosk serves as an important reminder that the ability to hear is a vital stimulus that brings together language, triggers critical thinking and keeps us within the intellectual company of our fellow humans. Among the many informative and accessible facilities offered by the library, the hearing self-test kiosk is an important step towards addressing hearing loss.

“We appreciate collaborations with other faculties and departments to achieve our set strategic priorities. This one initiative demonstrates that the University cares about the internal community,” said Lindiwe Soyizwapi, Director of Department of Library Services.

The kiosk uses technology developed within the department and is a continuous service that is available to UP staff and students. It is recommended that hearing tests are conducted annually, and be more accessible to the general public. “It is not simply about the acquisition of information, rather, it is about intervention and use in the fields of research, teaching and service,” said Professor Vasu Reddy, the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities.

“The World Health Organization’s theme of the year, Hearing for Life, aims to spread awareness about hearing and hearing health, especially within the Global South,” said Professor De Wet Swanepoel, Department of Speech-language Pathology and Audiology. Hearing loss is a silent epidemic that affects every person in pervasive ways. The World Health Organization indicated that 466 million people globally (accounting for around 5% of the global population) have permanently disabling hearing loss – the vast majority of whom live within Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, comprising the lower-middle income sector of the global population. Prof Swanepoel further noted that research indicates that hearing loss leads to a significant increase in depression, social isolation, as well as a deeper cognitive decline leading to conditions such as dementia.

The loss of hearing innately affects how humans relate to their community and vocations leading to increased levels of unemployment. This suggests that hearing loss inordinately affects those in geographical environments where there is no access to facilities to test a person’s hearing ability. Blindness separates people from things; deafness separates people from people,” said Hellen Keller.

“Consequently, UPs celebration of World Hearing Day highlights the dire need for testing and showcases a home-grown hearing testing technology that global audiences can access,” said Austin Pinkerton.

- Author Jimmy Masombuka

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