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South Africa's Hearing Screening Technology Makes Global Impact

By Innovation Edge

With just less than a decade since its launch in South Africa, hearScreen is now used in 30 countries worldwide – in sub-Saharan Africa, the US, South East Asia and Europe – enabling early detection of hearing issues in young children in low-resourced areas. hearScreen is also the flagship solution that inspired the creation of 16 other hearing screening products and diagnostic equipment developed by the hearX Group, resulting in over 2.5 million hearing screening tests being conducted.

Of these, 2 million were conducted on young children. This remarkable achievement has been made possible through partnerships between hearX and various entities around the world. These include the Department of Health and Department of Basic Education in South Africa, the World Health Organisation and large-scale projects supported by the Google Impact Fund and various other NGOs.

Hearing problems are among the most common health issues in young children, with lifelong impacts on their development and quality of life. Research has shown that hearing loss affects at least 22 out of every 1 000 children in underserved communities in South Africa. These issues can hinder a child's ability to develop speech, language, and social skills.

The ability to hear sounds and words is vital for children to learn to communicate and understand the world around them, however, children with hearing loss may struggle in these areas. Unfortunately, such impairment can often go undetected, especially in low-resourced areas where systematic screening programmes, screening equipment, and trained personnel may be lacking or limited.

With R1.5 million funding and strategic support from Innovation Edge in 2015, hearX was able to take hearScreen off the ground, providing affordable and accessible hearing screening services to underserved communities. After effective implementation in South Africa, hearScreen is creating a significant impact on improving early detection of hearing loss and enabling timely interventions for those in need across the globe.

“The investment and support from Innovation Edge has allowed the hearX Group to make a significant impact in the field of healthcare by providing innovative and effective screening solutions across the world, says Seline van der Wat, COO of the hearX Group.

Click here to read the article about hearScreen’s impact.

Innovation Edge is always on the lookout for innovative solutions that aim to address early childhood challenges in South Africa. The impact-first investor supports mission-aligned entrepreneurs and social innovators by de-risking early stage product and service development, igniting the ecosystem around them and providing multiple rounds of funding, bespoke strategic coaching, operational support and connections to social capital.

By investing in such solutions, Innovation Edge hopes to level the playing field for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, setting them on a path towards a brighter future.


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