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Redesigning Community-based Healthcare – Implementation of mHealth and Tele-audiology Technology in Africa

The majority of countries on the African continent do not have access to any ENT, audiology or speech therapy services. As a result of this crippling lack of resources, NGOs and hearing healthcare providers working on the ground are having to become clinically creative in an attempt to address the growing crisis of hearing loss that they face on a daily basis. There are currently no official minimum standards for outreach audiology missions and as a result, there is no control over what methods are implemented by individuals and organisations who decide to set up community-based hearing health projects in Africa. As a humanitarian audiologist, it can be very difficult at times to balance the reality of the situation with best practice guidelines, but the technology that has emerged in the last few years offers us much better opportunities than before. This presentation aims to share the evolution of community-based audiology services in the African context over the last 20 years, ranging from physical mobile clinics to remote applications which leverage the latest advances in mHealth and tele-audiology technology. This presentation will propose a new community-based hearing health model which is currently being developed at HearInAfrica and focuses on reshaping the way in which hearing tests and services are implemented in remote and under resourced areas.

  • To provide an updated summary regarding the extent of the shortage of (and thus the increasing need for) audiology and ENT services in Africa.
  • To provide an overview of the development of community based hearing healthcare services in the African context.
  • To share a new model of community-based hearing health which makes use of a combination of conventional and mHealth/tele-audiology methods and can be implemented across a range of under resourced areas.

18607_10095ShannonO'Leary (née Kruyt).pdf

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Shannon O'Leary (née Kruyt) (Primary Presenter), HearInAfrica, shannon@hearinafrica.com;
Shannon is an audiologist and speech/language pathologist born and bred in Cape Town, South Africa. Having worked in a diverse range of private and public healthcare environments across Africa and in the United Kingdom, Shannon is passionate about improving community-based audiology services. Her main focus is on the crisis of hearing loss in Africa and the associated shortage of audiologists on the continent. She is the owner of HearInAfrica, an independent centre of audiology excellence, which provides a range of conventional and community-based hearing healthcare services. Shannon has a particular interest in tele-audiology and enjoys creating new clinical models to better serve under resourced communities across Africa.


Financial - No relevant financial relationship exists.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exists.


Financial - No relevant financial relationship exists.