Hearing management

Updated 29 November 2017

WHO International Hearing Day 2016

The International Ear and Hearing Care Day is celebrated annually on 3 March. The aim is to raise the awareness among the general public of hearing loss and ear diseases, and offer various options for prevention through appropriate ear care.


On 3 March 2016 World Hearing Day will be recognised by the World Health Organisation to highlight hearing loss as one of the most common chronic disabilities. It ranks high among lifestyle diseases such as heart attacks and strokes. Audiologists will be celebrating it through open days in their practices, talks to members of the public, including learners at schools. 

Loud music, a big part of modern recreational activities, is another important cause of hearing loss and tinnitus. There are exciting new developments in the field of technology and hearing aids that will make devices more affordable to the general public.

Read: What is hearing loss?

On the point of access to hearing health care services,members of the public need to find a point of entry into the hearing health care system that will give them information, a baseline hearing screening for example, and/or refer them to an Audiologist for an in-depth assessment. 

In the UK, Europe, the USA and Australia user-friendly smartphone applications and landline telephone hearing tests are easily accessible.  Researchers in South Africa have been working in collaboration with experts in Europe to develop a similar application for our population. 

In conjunction with World Hearing Day, the University of Pretoria will be launching hearZATM as the National Hearing Test to screen for hearing loss by means of a user-friendly smartphone application.  

Read: Symptoms of hearing loss

With more than 3.2 million people in South Africa suffering from permanent hearing loss, hearZATM will provide access to early detection to anyone with a smartphone. The application will be available for a free download from iOS and Android app stores, giving users a free sponsored hearing screening test.

HearZATM has partnered with local professional organisations for hearing healthcare providers to ensure widespread access to hearing healthcare services. Persons who fail a hearing test will be provided with the contact details of their closest hearing healthcare providers.

Read: Causes of hearing loss

The creators of the app have developed a referral system (hearData) that ensures that persons who fail a hearing test on hearZATM are linked with their closest hearing health providers. Audiological practices have registered on the referral platform in order to receive hearZA referrals.

It is estimated that 260 000 hearZATM tests will be completed by December 2016. This makes hearing health care easily accessible to those with suspected or real hearing problems. Hearing well equals living well! 

Read more: 

The gift of hearing

Illegal hearing aids 'dangerous' 

Check hearing problems out


Ask the Expert

Hearing Expert

Dr Kara Hoffman graduated from UCT in 2004, thereafter she completed her year of community service in Durban. In 2010 she completed her Masters Degree in Paediatric Aural Rehabilitation from UKZN. In 2016, she became a Doctor of Audiology through the University of Arizona (ATSU). Dr Hoffman and her partner Lauren Thompson opened a fully diagnostic audiology practice called Thompson & Hoffman Audiology Inc. In 2011 with world-class technology and equipment to be able to offer the broad public all hearing-related services including hearing testing for adults and babies, vestibular (balance) assessments and rehabilitation, industrial audiology, hearing devices, central auditory processing assessments for school-aged children, school screening, neonatal hearing screening programmes at Alberlito and Parklands Hospital, cochlear implants and other implantable devices, medicolegal assessments and advanced electroacoustic assessments of hearing. Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. are based at Alberlito Hospital in Ballito, St Augustines Hospital in Durban and at 345 Essenwood Road, Musgrave. The practices are all wheelchair friendly. There are three audiologists that practice from Thompson & Hoffman – including Dr Kara Hoffman, Lauren Thompson & Minette Lister. The practice boasts professional, highly qualified, and extensive diagnostic services where all your hearing healthcare needs can be met. The additional licensing in vestibular assessment and rehabilitation, paediatric rehabilitation and cochlear implantation places this practice in one of the top specialist audiological positions in South Africa, with a wealth of experience in all clinical areas of audiology and is a very well respected and sought-after practice.

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