Original Research

National survey of paediatric audiological services for diagnosis and intervention in the South African private health care sector

Miriam E. Meyer, De Wet Swanepoel, Talita le Roux
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 61, No 1 | a62 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v61i1.62 | © 2014 Miriam E. Meyer, De Wet Swanepoel, Talita le Roux | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 February 2014 | Published: 11 November 2014

About the author(s)

Miriam E. Meyer, Department of Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
De Wet Swanepoel, Department of Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Ear Sciences Centre, School of Surgery, University of Western Australia, Australia; Ear Science Institute Australia, Subiaco, Australia
Talita le Roux, Department of Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Objective: A national survey of early hearing detection and intervention services was undertaken to describe the current status of diagnostic and intervention services in the South African private health care sector.

Methods: All private hospitals with obstetric units (n = 166) were surveyed telephonically. The data was integrated with data collected from self-administered questionnaires subsequently distributed nationally to private audiology practices providing hearing screening at the respective hospitals reporting hearing screening services (n = 87). Data was analysed descriptively to yield national percentages and frequency distributions.

Results: Average reported age at diagnosis was 11 months. Most participants (74%) indicated that less than 20% of infants fitted with hearing aids received amplification before the age of 6 months. Most (64%) participants indicated that the average period between confirmed diagnosis and hearing aid fitting was 1 month, on par with international benchmarks. Only 16%–23% of participants included all diagnostic procedures recommended by the Health Professions Council of South Africa’s 2007 position statement for minimum diagnostic test batteries for infants and young children.

Conclusions: Diagnosis of hearing loss, hearing aid fitting and audiological intervention is delayed significantly in the South African private health care sector. Improved services should include integrated systematic hospital-based screening as part of birthing packages with diagnostic referral to specialist paediatric audiologists for accurate assessment and management of patients in a timely manner.


Keywords

newborn hearing screening; paediatric audiology; diagnostic audiology; early intervention; early hearing detection and intervention

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Crossref Citations

1. Communication and school readiness abilities of children with hearing impairment in South Africa: A retrospective review of early intervention preschool records
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doi: 10.4102/sajcd.v66i1.604