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New Mobile Hearing Screening Audiologist Referral App to Launch in US

De Wet Swanepoel, PhD

June 18, 2018
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South African Start Up, hearX Group, Collaborates With American Academy of Audiology on New Consumer Hearing Screening App and Outreach Initiative

 

AudiologyOnline: What is the hearScreen USA mobile app?

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Prof De Wet Swanepoel: hearScreen USA is a mobile hearing screening application that will be available on most Android and iOS smartphones when it is launched in Fall 2018. It is the first comprehensive mobile hearing screening application in the US that also connects individuals to local licensed audiologists.

AudiologyOnline: Who developed this app?

Prof De Wet Swanepoel: The app has been created by the hearX Group with collaboration from the American Academy of Audiology. This social enterprise was founded in South Africa and is not related to US-based organizations with similar names. hearX’s mission is affordable access to hearing care using smart digital health solutions that anyone can use, anywhere. More information can be found at https://www.hearxgroup.com/

AudiologyOnline: Why was this app developed?

Prof De Wet Swanepoel: According to a 2016 study by the National Institutes of Health NIDCD, approximately 15 percent (37.5 million) of American adults aged 20 to 69, have some trouble with hearing and approximately 28.8 million could benefit from the use of hearing aids. As the population ages, more Americans will face hearing health challenges. 

hearScreen USA will make hearing screening more accessible and convenient and make it easy for consumers to connect directly with licensed audiologists. By leveraging the current use of smartphones, the hearScreen USA app revolutionizes decentralized detection of hearing loss and connecting persons to hearing care by audiologists.

AudiologyOnline: How does the app work? 

Prof De Wet Swanepoel: By using the free app (available in iOS and Android), consumers will be able to screen their hearing using the validated speech-in-noise test procedure. Based on a personal hearing score derived from the signal-to-noise ratio in reference to normative data the app offers personalized hearing tracking. Those who fail the test can use the in-app person-centered decision support tool developed in partnership with the Ida Institute. Online bookings to audiologist will be a future feature included in the hearScreen USA offering.

Based on technology developed at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, in partnership with collaborators around the world, the app provides accurate detection of hearing loss in under three minutes. 

AudiologyOnline: How does the app connect consumers with licensed audiologists?

Prof De Wet Swanepoel: Yes, hearScreen USA has partnered with the American Academy of Audiology (Academy). If a possible hearing problem is detected, the app will link to the closest audiologists who have signed up to be part of a database through the Academy.

AudiologyOnline: How does an audiologist sign up to be part of the database?

Prof De Wet Swanepoel: An audiologist can sign up as a referral partner for the hearScreen USA App via this link. Academy members can participate for free and can also receive a discount on the premium subscription.

The audiologist will be prompted to create a hearX Group account in order to login to the system and register. The audiologist will then need to submit their relevant practice details in order to complete the process. Once registered, the audiologist will receive a notification when the system goes live in Fall 2018. 

AudiologyOnline: Can this app be used in Canada or other countries besides the US?

Prof De Wet Swanepoel: The app can be downloaded by people outside of the United States once it’s live on the App stores. To be referred to an audiologist, however, is a functionality only available to those audiologists and patients within America. 

AudiologyOnline: Where can I find more information or be notified when the app is available?

Prof De Wet Swanepoel: For the latest information about the App and to be notified once it’s live, as an audiologist you can sign-up as a referral partner via our website and you’ll be prompted when the App goes live in Fall 2018 and when you can expect to start receiving referrals to your practice. Alternatively, as a consumer who would potentially like to download the App, to stay up to date with the latest news regarding the App by following our Facebook and Twitter pages: @hearScreenUSA

More information can be found on the hearX website or the hearX Partner Page on AudiologyOnline.

hearX app

References

Blackwell, D. L., Lucas, J. W. & Clarke, T. C. (2014). Summary health statistics for U.S. adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2012. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 10(260).

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de wet swanepoel

De Wet Swanepoel, PhD

Dr De Wet Swanepoel is professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Pretoria with adjunct positions at the University of Western Australia, and as senior research fellow at the Ear Science Institute Australia. Prof Swanepoel’s research capitalizes on the growth in information and communication technologies to explore, develop and evaluate innovative service delivery models and applied solutions to improve access to ear and hearing care. He has published more than 140 peer-reviewed articles, books and book chapters and has received numerous international awards in recognition of his work. Prof Swanepoel serves as president of the International Society of Audiology and as deputy editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Audiology.

He has been actively involved in research, related to early identification systems and diagnostic techniques for hearing loss and he has expanded this into the area of ear and hearing telehealth. Dr Swanepoel is the lead inventor and co-founder of the hearX Group, an award-winning startup specialising in smart digital health solutions for hearing loss. To date, by means of these solutions, the hearX Group has provided access to hearing care to more than 150 000 people across 25 countries towards De Wet's vision for the company - to see healthy hearing reach everyone, everywhere. 



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