Low-Cost Tech Spots Hearing Loss
A new prototype device for identifying hearing loss in newborns has been developed by Sohum, a healthcare innovation lab based in India.
The Sohum device is designed for use in parts of the world where no affordable solutions exist for early intervention in congenital hearing loss, which affects half a million babies a year – 100,000 in India alone.
Hearing impairment in developing countries often goes undiagnosed until children are four years old. According to Sohum, this can result in speech loss, impaired communication skills, mental illness and unemployment.
To meet the challenge of affordable mass screening in rural areas and underserved urban centres, Sohum has stripped the expensive brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) technology back to the essentials, while making the device simple to use with minimal training and in noisy environments.
Co-founder Neeti Kailas has been selected as a Rolex Awards for Enterprise 2014 Laureate for her role in the project.
For more healthcare innovations, see our reporting from the inaugural Lions Health awards in Cannes, where low-tech solutions stole the show.