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Helping People Detect and Prepare for Hearing Loss
- Last week in Purmamarca, Jujuy Province, Argentina, the Government of Jujuy, uSound and Samsung Electronics Argentina signed an agreement to help residents of Jujuy detect potential hearing loss and provide steps to minimize its impact
- The project, dubbed uSound for Samsung, will help give Jujueños access to a simple three-step preliminary diagnosis* that can be done on a smartphone
According to WHO, over 5% of the world’s population – or 466 million people – have disabling hearing loss. In Argentina, hearing impairment constitutes 18% of the existing disabilities – 86.6% of which experience hearing difficulties; 13.4% are deaf.
While those diagnosed with hearing loss can take necessary actions for their individual cases – taking preventive measures to avoid total deafness, getting hearing aids, learning sign language, etc. – those who do not know what’s happening to them are subject to a more frustrating experience. This is especially true for children who may lose the chance to develop their cognitive skills and pursue higher education.
Using Technology to Bridge the Gap
uSound for Samsung is an initiative designed to bring technology to people with hearing loss – to help detect the risk of hearing loss and thus improve their quality of life in such essential aspects as communication and education.
uSound Test is an application that allows users to detect their risk of hearing loss for free. In about 10 minutes, the app reproduces pre-calibrated sounds that users give feedback to. Comparing the results with its database, the app detects specific frequencies the user has difficulty hearing. uSound Test then analyzes the auditory curve that results from the whole test to determine the degree of risk of hearing loss in the person.
Once finalized, uSound for Samsung issues a report with the result, which is a risk indicator that allows users to take corresponding actions. This test is not a medical diagnosis so the app will recommend support from hearing health specialists when needed.
Through uSound for Samsung, the company hopes to use its technology and resources to:
- Raise awareness about hearing loss and improve public policies
- Avoid irreversible damage to hearing organs
- Encourage learning and cognitive development for children
- Develop speech and facilitate social inclusion
- Contribute to a more egalitarian society
Working with the Community
The Government of Jujuy will provide support in resources and workspaces for the hearing loss-detection campaign. uSound will continue to help improve hearing experiences with its products, including the aforementioned test and an app that turns the cell phone into an auditory assistant**. Samsung Electronics will provide the necessary technology to carry out a first pilot test of uSound Test in health centers across Jujuy as well as financially supporting the project.
As a team, the Government of Jujuy, uSound and Samsung Electronics Argentina will help give a larger part of the Argentine community access to tools to potentially change lives through the use of technology.
- Governor Gerardo Rubén Morales, Jujuy Province: “It is a pleasure to accompany uSound, a company from Jujuy, take on its challenges. With the support of Samsung, this project will impact thousands of people with hearing problems. It is great that this project started in Jujuy. We hope it can be replicated throughout Argentina and in other countries – technological innovation knows no boundaries.”
- Ezequiel Escobar, CEO and co-founder, uSound: “We witnessed a truly historic opportunity for our company and for Jujuy. This plan, using our technologies, will benefit many people from Jujuy and has the potential to expand to help many more people around the world. We are talking about a huge impact that grows even more with the support from Samsung and the Ministry of Health of Jujuy.”
- Cynthia Giolito, Senior Manager, Corporate Citizenship, Samsung Electronics Argentina: “uSound for Samsung reinforces our mission to offer technology with a purpose that improves quality of life. We are very proud to embark on this path and we hope to have solid results that will promote hearing accessibility in more places.”
* Not a medical diagnosis
** Not a hearing aid
*** Translated from Spanish and edited for clarity