Healthcare practitioners’ views about early hearing detection and intervention practices in KwaZulu‑Natal, South Africa

N Khan, L Joseph


Background. Healthcare practitioners’ views, understanding of and support for early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) is essential for its effective implementation

Objectives. To determine public healthcare practitioners’ views about EHDI at primary healthcare level based on primary-care nurse’s awareness and referral practices related to high-risk factors for hearing loss and the challenges with EHDI implementation.

Methods. A customised questionnaire (α=0.71) was used to survey a sample (N=38) of relevant healthcare practitioners, including audiologists, speech therapists and ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists from 11 purposively selected hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (SA).

Results. Practitioners had a positive view towards hearing screening being mandatory and that it should form part of the birth package offered to mothers. Approximately 58% of participants agreed that the list of high-risk factors issued by the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH) is relevant in the SA context and 50% agreed that infants with hearing loss globally present with similar high-risk factors. Approximately 21% of the participants disagreed with this, suggesting that the risk factors differ among populations. Only 45% of participants considered primary-care nurses to be aware of high-risk factors for hearing loss. Most were thus unlikely to refer infants for further hearing testing.

Conclusion. Poor awareness, lack of infrastructure for screening and limited resources necessitate further education and training for nurses on risk factors and resource availability at the primary healthcare level is crucial, considering that the majority of South Africans access services at this level of care.

Authors' affiliations

N Khan, Discipline of Audiology, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

L Joseph, Discipline of Audiology, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Full Text

PDF (223KB)

Cite this article

South African Journal of Child Health 2020;14(4):200. DOI:10.7196/SAJCH.2020.v14i4.01708

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-12-14
Date published: 2020-12-14

Article Views

Abstract views: 1051
Full text views: 553

Comments on this article

*Read our policy for posting comments here