Undergraduate Students Excel at Health Science Research Day
Research excellence was celebrated at the Discipline of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology’s annual undergraduate Research Day.
Prominent Occupational Therapist, Professor Robin Joubert, an alumnus of UKZN and the former University of Durban-Westville, delivered the keynote address.
Joubert commended audiologists and speech language pathologists for the work they did, adding that hearing brings incredible joy. ‘That awesome and wonderful gift of hearing has to arguably be the most important of our senses. Without it, we are subject to a life without a multitude of inexplicable joys, experiences and pleasures,’ said Joubert.
She spoke about the importance of research and highlighted research focus guidelines for Audiology and speech language pathology in South Africa, including an emphasis on relevant research, preventative vs curative research and a focus on Afrocentric, rather than Eurocentric research.
Joubert encouraged budding Audiologists and speech language pathologists to engage in research to improve people’s lives. ‘We need to become advocates for people who are disadvantaged, not only by society, but by their disability,’ she said.
‘Don’t let today be the first and last time you undertake research. Your profession and the people of South Africa desperately need you to produce evidence of better ways of preventing hearing disorders as well as improving the lives of those with them.’
The undergraduate students showcased their research on a range of topics including jaundice as a risk factor for hearing loss in infants, an audit of healthy lifestyle behaviors among South African patients with stroke related communication and /or swallowing disorders, and parents' perceptions and experiences of learning South African Sign Language in the eThekwini region.
A project titled: “Self-Ear Cleaning Practices and the Associated Risk of Ear Injury and Ear-Related Symptoms in a Group of University Students”, presented by H. Phakathi, G. Shoyisa Y. Suder and S. Thaver, won Best Project in Audiology. The project was supervised by lecturer in Audiology, Mr Nasim Khan.
The study concluded that complications participants experienced supported the research evidence that self-ear cleaning practices pose a risk, necessitating more community information and education to discourage self-ear cleaning practices and promote good ear hygiene.
A study conducted by L. Cole, N. Khumalo and Y. Kharwa titled: “The Use of Social Media to Provide Support to Caregivers of School-aged Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder between the Ages of 4 and 12 years”, won the prize for the Best Speech Language Pathology Project.
Findings of the study supported the use of a social media support group on WhatsApp as it provided ongoing support to parents of children with ASD, implying that such a group may have clinic significance for use by speech-language pathologists as well as the creation of similar groups on other platforms. The study was supervised by Lecturer, Ms Saira Karim.
These two outstanding projects will be presented at the College Research Day.
The presentations were adjudicated by Professor J. van Heerden, Professor Kitty Uys and Mr Percy Mashige.