Hearing Health Awareness and the Need for Educational Outreach Amongst Teachers in Malawi

Grant Kapalamula, Kelly Gordie, Memory Khomera, J. Zachary Porterfield, Julia Toman, Jenna Vallario

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Malawi, as a low-income country in southeastern Africa, severely lacks early identification, diagnosis and intervention measures for hearing loss. Due to its constrained resources, an educational awareness campaign targeted at professionals can be a cost-effective instrument in promoting good health care through awareness, prevention, and early identification of hearing loss. The aim of this study is to assess school teachers’ knowledge of hearing health, audiology services, identification, and management of hearing issues before and after an educational intervention. Methods: A Pre-Survey, followed by an educational intervention, and a Post-Survey were completed by teacher participants. A similar World Health Organization-derived survey was also administered to compare to our locally adapted survey. Trends related to efficacy, performance, and survey improvement were evaluated. Results: A total of 387 teachers participated. The average score on the Post-Survey was significantly improved compared to the Pre-Survey (71% to 97% correct responses) with the educational intervention. The only predictive variable related to performance was the location of the school within the capital of Lilongwe compared to rural sites outside of the capital. Our locally adapted survey compared favorably to the WHO survey. Conclusions: The results suggest that there is a statistically significant improvement in the implementation of an educational program to increase the knowledge and awareness of hearing health care among teachers. Some topics were more poorly understood than others, suggesting the need for targeted awareness interventions. Location within the capital city had some effect on performance but a high rate of correct responses was achievable across the participants independent of age, teaching experience, or gender. Our data support the idea that hearing health awareness interventions can be an effective and low-cost option to equip teachers to effectively serve as an advocate for improved identification, early diagnosis and appropriate referral of students with hearing loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-284
Number of pages14
JournalAudiology Research
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.

Keywords

  • Africa
  • Malawi
  • education
  • global audiology
  • hearing conservation
  • hearing health
  • hearing health awareness
  • hearing loss
  • humanitarian audiology
  • pediatric audiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Podiatry

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