HIV or AIDS increase the risk of hearing loss and inhibit speech development. Babies of HIV-positive mothers are more likely to suffer from congenital hearing loss as a result of the virus infection or develop hearing impairment over time. These babies have an increased risk of middle ear infections, which can lead to sound transmission difficulties. The loss of hearing inevitably has far-reaching emotional, social, but also professional and therefore economic consequences. This is why surveillance in patients with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis is important. Hearing loss – a non-communicable disease – is regarded as the most common sensory deficiency in the human population. It is estimated that at least 41 million children under the age of 15 live with hearing loss in developing countries. This makes this disease a silent, overlooked epidemic in developing countries like South Africa.
Since 2014, Ndlovu Wits Audiology (NWA) provides comprehensive ear-and hearing care services. This includes not only the detection, monitoring and treatment of damage, but also contraception through regular community education programmes.
Hearing screening for newborns for early detection is offered at five clinics in the Elandsdoorn area. There are school examinations, ototoxicity tests, monitoring of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis patients at Ndlovu Care Group clinics and diagnostic tests. The Ndlovu Care Group sees the creation of awareness of the problem as the most important first step. A hearing impaired child is often treated as mentally disturbed. Many signs of the disease can be easily treated at an early stage.