Free Hearing Screening for UKZN Community on Deaf Awareness Day
Do you often miss out on conversation? Do you think people are mumbling? Do people complain that you put up the volume too high? Do you struggle to hear people on the phone or even in group conversations? These symptoms should urge you to get your hearing tested.
This was the message relayed by fourth-year Audiology students when they held the discipline’s Annual Deaf Awareness Campaign at the Westville campus as part of Deaf Awareness Month.
The campus Quad was abuzz with staff and students who flocked to the students’ exhibition to collect information and receive a free hearing screening in the Audiology Clinic which offers testing on an ongoing basis. Tests are conducted by Audiology students under the supervision of a qualified Audiologist.
Hearing loss can be caused by exposure to loud music, industrial noise and gun firing. It can also be caused by ear infections, genetics, ototoxic drugs such as medication, ageing and a host of unknown factors.
The Deaf Awareness Campaign alerted the University community to the fact that although it is more common in older people, anyone – from babies to adults – can suffer hearing loss.
A person who is unable to hear some sounds is said to present with hearing loss while a person who is able to hear some sounds is said to be hard of hearing. It is when an individual is unable to hear any sounds at all that they are considered as deaf.
Ms Shannon Magee who was based at the campus Audiology Clinic on the day said they were pleased to see so many people turn up for screening. ‘What we’re doing today is helpful to the University community. It’s also free-of-charge so we’re quite glad to see so many students and staff rocking up.’
Attracting passers-by with the rest of the team at the Quad was Audiology student Mr Mondli Mkhanya who said it was exciting to see such a good turnout. ‘Awareness is going just the way we hoped it would,’ he said.
Mkhanya decided to study Audiology at UKZN because, hailing from a rural village in the Eastern Cape, he felt more could be done to help people with hearing impairment outside of urban areas. It bothered him that people were assumed to be “dumb” just because they had difficulty hearing, and he hopes to make use of the skills and knowledge he acquires at UKZN to help these communities.
Mkhanya said it was important to raise hearing awareness in indigenous languages because this would sensitise otherwise uninformed people about what it means to live with a hearing impairment, the dangers of losing one’s hearing, and it would educate them about understanding and caring for those who had lost their hearing.