Karnataka government to screen 1 lakh people in 3 months with new devices for hearing loss

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KUDUwave is a boothless audiometry system that allows hearing care professionals to perform mobile, offline and online hearing testing.

The system allows hearing tests to be carried out anywhere. This technology has helped maintain hearing care services even during the pandemic.

For the early detection of hearing loss, the health department recently launched a one-day training program for administrative physicians, ENT surgeons and district audiologists in the use of boothless audiometers, for screening deafness in children and adults.

Thirty-nine taluk and district hospitals in Karnataka have been equipped with such devices.

Audiometric tests are performed to assess the level of hearing loss. As the tests consist of listening to quiet sounds, to reduce ambient noise, they are traditionally carried out in soundproof rooms. But KUDUwave is a cabinless audiometer and is portable, and hence the test can be done anywhere.

Dr. Chandrika BR, Nodal State Manager for the National Deafness Prevention and Control Program (NPPCD), said: “There are 52 SC/ST constituencies. In these constituencies, we have distributed these devices to 34 taluk hospitals, three community health centers upgraded to taluk hospitals and two district hospitals.Audiometry testing is usually done in a soundproof room.But this machine can be used in outreach camps, screening will be therefore easy.

According to Dr. Chandrika, for the projected population of 2021-2022, 20,39,910 people suffered from hearing loss. “We have set ourselves the goal of screening one million people in three months in the areas where these hospitals are located,” she said.

According to the latest available prevalence data, at least 6.3% of the state’s population suffers from hearing loss. “Setting up soundproof rooms for traditional audiometry testing goes up to Rs 7 lakh, but these KUDUwave boothless audiometers cost Rs 5 lakh. That’s the cost-benefit ratio,” she said. According to state estimates, for every one lakh population, at least 291 suffer from hearing loss.

Country Manager of Hearing Health Care Clinic AS India (which is the official distribution partner for these devices in India), Moufiq Sattar, said, “In Karnataka, in total, 45 to 50 devices have been sold, including four All India funded by the center. Institute of Speech and Hearing in Mysuru.”

Side effects of TB drugs cause hearing loss. Thus, these devices have also been distributed among centrally funded tuberculosis hospitals under the Johnson & Johnson CSR program. The Oreva RS chain of hearing clinics uses these devices in Ballari, Hubbali, Bagalkot and Davangere.

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