Original Research

Contributing factors to high prevalence of hearing impairment in the Elias Motsoaledi Local Municipal area, South Africa: A rural perspective

Karin Joubert, Donna Botha
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 66, No 1 | a611 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v66i1.611 | © 2019 Karin Joubert, Donna Botha | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 September 2018 | Published: 20 February 2019

About the author(s)

Karin Joubert, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; and Ndlovu Wits Audiology Clinic and Outreach Programme, South Africa, South Africa
Donna Botha, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; and Private Practice, Edenvale, South Africa, South Africa

Share this article

Bookmark and Share


Background: There is evidence that the factors contributing to the prevalence and aetiology of hearing impairment vary widely from one country to another. In South Africa, as in other low-income and middle-income countries, more context-specific information on the estimated prevalence of hearing impairment and the factors that contribute to its onset is required.

Aim: The aim of this study was to provide decision-makers and hearing health professionals with local and accurate information on the prevalence of ear and hearing disorders in the Elias Motsoaledi Local Municipal (EMLM) area of the Limpopo province, South Africa.

Methods: The World Health Organization (WHO) protocol for population-based surveys of prevalence and causes of deafness, hearing impairment and other ear diseases was utilised. A random multi-stage cluster sampling strategy, two-stage sampling, was utilised to select the seven municipal wards and 357 households through the probability proportional to size method. A total of 850 participants were included in the study.

Results: The overall prevalence of hearing impairment was 19.88% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.15–0.2) and 8.94 (95% CI: 0.08–0.12) for disabling hearing impairment. The prevalence of ear disease was 13.19% (95% CI: 0.10–0.15), with impacted cerumen and otitis media reported most often. Associations with hearing impairment were established for age, gender and hypertension.

Conclusion: The study has shown a higher prevalence of disabling hearing impairment in the rural EMLM area of the Limpopo province compared to global prevalence rates. In addition, known factors associated with hearing impairment were confirmed.


Prevalence; Hearing impairment, Disability hearing impairment, Rural, South Africa


Total abstract views: 431
Total article views: 453

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.