What problem are you trying to solve?
1.3 billion people worldwide have hearing loss. 80% of people suffering from hearing loss are living in low and middle-income countries. These global estimations are based on very few prevalence studies and the majority are conducted in high and upper-middle income countries (i.e. national hearing loss prevalence studies have only been conducted in two of 51 African countries). To get more accurate numbers about hearing loss and identify trends and needs in developing countries, more data needs to be collected. No standard platform exists for collecting and compiling population-based hearing loss prevalence data. Academics, doctors and stakeholders are working in silos, using a variety of tools, non-standard formats and storing data in local databases. Resulting in limited to no sharing of information globally. While highly cost-effective solutions exist for conducting prevalence studies in other fields, none have been developed and taken to scale within the field of hearing loss.
What is your solution to this problem?
World Wide Hearing has built a cloud-based web portal and a smartphone application to automate and optimize data collection and sharing processes. Using the latest technology, the Global Hearing Loss Database (GHLD), compliant with World Health Organization (WHO) protocols, is an easier and less costly option for field workers and researchers to implement population-based surveys to assess prevalence of hearing loss and its causes. With GHLD, abiding by HIPAA standards, researchers can collect and securely centralize and analyze the information. The digital, user-friendly interface makes conducting hearing loss prevalence studies possible in developing countries; no more paper forms and checklists. Data collected through the GHLD helps NGOs and policy-makers develop and implement cost-effective interventions in hearing care, directly impacting lives of people with hearing loss. Enabling them to break free from social isolation and connect to their world.
What is your latest update on your innovation?
World Wide Hearing hired software developers specialized in mobile health solutions to design and develop the mobile application. World Wide Hearing, using an agile methodology, continuously gathered user feedback from field workers and conducted prevalence studies to ensure the solution is adapted to users’ needs. A test version of the platform has been completed and internally tested. The final version of the application will be tested in September 2018 as part of a prevalence study conducted in Kenya that will screen at least 4,000 people.