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10/27/2018  |   3:30 PM - 4:30 PM   |  Kramer Lecture Theater 3

Development of Audiology Services in Malawi: Highlights and Challenges

Malawi is a landlocked country in southern Africa with a population of approximately 18 million people. Common causes of hearing loss in this population include impacted wax, chronic suppurative otitis media, ototoxic medication, conditions at the time of birth, genetic factors and noise exposure. Many of these causes are preventable. The World Health Organisation estimates around four to five per cent of Malawians have disabling hearing loss (disabling hearing loss defined as >40dB in the better ear for adults and >30dB in the better ear for children). For the last five years, Sound Seekers, a small U.K. charity, has been working with the Government of Malawi to develop comprehensive audiology services based at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre, Southern Malawi, and improve access to education for children with hearing loss who may otherwise be excluded from school. Sound Seekers sponsored the training of two Malawians to become the country’s first ever audiologists. The audiology clinic at QECH was officially opened in 2016 and provides state of the art diagnostic testing, including visual reinforcement audiometry, auditory brainstem testing, otoacoustic emissions, pure tone audiometry as well as ear syringing, the fitting of digital hearing aids and has an ear mould lab on site. Outreach services are also provided using a vehicle and trailer with two sound-proof booths for accurate hearing assessment in rural areas. The two Malawian audiologists now lead the service, working alongside five audiology officers and an ear mould technician to assess the hearing of patients of all ages and providing the necessary clinical intervention and onward referrals. We will present clinical findings and data collected over the last 3 years and discuss the challenges faced as well as plans to move forward.

  • Showcase the development of audiology services in Malawi
  • Discussion of barriers and challenges faced when building audiology service provision
  • To explore how children with hearing loss are supported in Malawi


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Bhavisha Parmar (POC,Primary Presenter), Sound Seekers ,;
Bhavisha Parmar is a practising audiologist and has since worked extensively with both the adult and paediatric populations. After completing volunteer projects in rural India with Raleigh International and an MSc in Advanced Audiology in 2016, Bhavisha was inspired to link her passion of audiology and development work. This lead her to volunteer with Sound Seekers in 2017 for one year in Zambia, where she set up the first Children’s Hearing Clinic in the country. She is currently the paediatric audiology team lead within a London based clinic whilst completing a PhD investigating the assessment of spatial hearing and optimisation of hearing devices. Bhavisha continues to volunteer for Sound Seekers as the Special Advisor (Audiology) to provide technical and clinical advice and support for all projects.


Financial - No relevant financial relationship exists.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exists.


Financial - No relevant financial relationship exists.