Clinical Perspective

Ten years’ experience with bone conduction hearing aids in the Western Cape, South Africa

Silva Kuschke, Christine Rogers, Estie Meyer
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 70, No 1 | a940 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v70i1.940 | © 2023 Silva Kuschke, Christine Rogers, Estie Meyer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 July 2022 | Published: 27 January 2023

About the author(s)

Silva Kuschke, Department of Audiology, Faculty of Rehabilitation Sciences, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa; and, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Faculty of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Christine Rogers, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Faculty of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Estie Meyer, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

Abstract

Untreated conductive and mixed hearing losses as a result of middle ear pathology or congenital ear malformations can lead to poor speech, language and academic outcomes in children. Lack of access to centralised hearing healthcare in resource-constrained environments limits opportunities for children with hearing loss. Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital (RCWMCH) is one of only two dedicated paediatric hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa. Between 2016 and 2021, 29 children received implanted bone conduction hearing devices, and 104 children were fitted with bone conduction devices on softbands. The authors’ experience at RCWMCH suggests that bone-anchored hearing devices, either fitted on softbands or on implanted abutments, can provide solutions in settings where patients have limited access to hearing healthcare and optimal classroom environments. Hearing healthcare should be accessible and delivered at the appropriate level of care to mitigate the adverse effects of hearing loss in children.

Contribution: This article describes strategies employed at RCWMCH such as fitting bone conduction hearing devices on a softband immediately after hearing loss diagnosis and conducting follow-up via remote technology to make hearing healthcare more accessible to vulnerable populations.


Keywords

bone conduction hearing aids; hearing loss; softband; abutment; accessible hearing healthcare

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