Clinical Perspective

Analysis of barriers and facilitators to early hearing detection and intervention in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Naedene Naidoo, Nasim B. Khan
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 69, No 1 | a839 | DOI: | © 2022 Naedene Naidoo, Nasim B. Khan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 May 2021 | Published: 31 January 2022

About the author(s)

Naedene Naidoo, Discipline of Audiology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville Campus, Durban, South Africa
Nasim B. Khan, Discipline of Audiology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville Campus, Durban, South Africa

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Background: There is slow progress in early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) services within South Africa. Audiologists are EHDI gatekeepers and can provide valuable insights into the barriers and facilitators that can progressively move EHDI towards best practice in South Africa.

Objectives: The study aimed to determine the barriers and facilitators to EHDI in KwaZulu-Natal as reported by audiologists/speech therapists and audiologists (A/STAs).

Method: A descriptive qualitative approach was used. Telephonic interviews were conducted with 12 A/STAs working in public and private healthcare facilities, using the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats (SWOT) conceptual framework. Data was analysed using thematic analysis in conjunction with NVivo software.

Results: One of the main barriers perceived by A/STAs, affecting EHDI was the lack of resources in healthcare facilities. The participants indicated that although there was a guideline in place to guide practice, it may be more suited to an urban area versus a rural area. Poor knowledge and awareness of EHDI was also identified as a barrier. Information provided from A/STAs at grassroots level, in the various provinces, may benefit in developing a more contextually relevant and practical guideline. Facilitators included; development of task teams specifically for EHDI programmes, creation of improved communication networks for collaboration and communication, training of healthcare professionals and improving data management systems.

Conclusion: Strategies such as an increase in resources, further education and training, development of contextually relevant, culturally, and linguistically diverse practices and protocols need to be in place to improve EHDI implementation. Further research, clinical implications and limitations are provided emanating from the study.


EHDI; SWOT analysis; barriers; facilitators; South Africa


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