Knowledge and cultural beliefs of mothers regarding the risk factors of infant hearing loss and awareness of audiology services

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Samantha M. Govender *
Nasim Banu Khan
(*) Corresponding Author:
Samantha M. Govender |


The aim of the paper is to describe the knowledge of mothers in Durban, South Africa, regarding risk factors of hearing loss in infants and their awareness of audiology services, and to describe their cultural beliefs about the risk factors for hearing loss in infants. A descriptive survey design with quantitative methods of analysis were used. Conveniently sampled mothers (n=102) receiving postnatal care for their infants from eight provincial clinics within Durban consented to participate, yielding a response rate of 48%. A questionnaire was used to collect the data and the Cronbach α was calculated yielding a score of 0.835, indicating good internal consistency and reliability of the questionnaire. Sixty percent of the mothers were aware of risk factors, such as middle ear infections, ototoxic medication and consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. Seventy percent were unaware that NICU/mechanical ventilation for more than 5 days, prematurity, rubella and jaundice are considered risk factors for hearing loss, implying a need to create awareness amongst mothers regarding such risk factors. Sixty percent (n=62) believed that bewitchment and ancestral curses can cause hearing loss. Cultural beliefs were associated with hearing loss, therefore, health professionals need to demonstrate cultural competence when providing audiology services, especially in a culturally and linguistically diverse countries such as South Africa. Although the mothers had an average knowledge about risk factors, two thirds did not know which professional to seek help from. There is a need to create awareness amongst mothers regarding the risk factors of infant hearing loss as well as audiology services in order to facilitate early detection and intervention. There is a need for health professionals to demonstrate cultural competence when working with their patients.

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