WHO app equips phones with hearing loss radar


HearWHO app

A free app - "hearWHO" - for mobile devices has been launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to help users detect their own hearing loss.

The run up to World Hearing Day on March 3 served this year for the global health overseer, WHO, to launch a new app offering a simple test that could show that its user has hearing loss and would be advised to seek professional advice. Aimed specifically at those exposed to high noise levels, the app can also be used, says WHO, by health providers requiring a screening tool in situations with poor resources.

But behind the app's functionality, features, and early loss detection purpose lies a smart ulterior motive more in line with WHO's everyday purpose: boosting awareness. "Above all, this app will help us increase awareness of the importance of ear and hearing care," said Dr. Shelly Chadha, WHO Technical Officer.

Estimates available to WHO predict that, by 2050, one in every ten people will be hearing disabled. Unaddressed hearing loss means an annual global cost of $750bn. "We encourage people to 'Check your hearing!' in order to help preserve this valuable gift that helps us to enjoy life," said Dr. Chadha.

The hearWHO app uses validated digits-in-noise technology through an interface that invites the user to listen to numbers pre-recorded against varying levels of background sound. User responses generate a score and then stores this for periodic monitoring. Reminders to test again can be set, and the meaning of the results is explained.

Source: World Health Organisation