What is DREET here to solve?
In Botswana and most developing countries the issue of hearing loss is an all too common reality with the world health organization estimating that over 626 million people globally having disabling hearing loss almost two thirds of which come from low to middle income countries. One of the main reasons for this discrepancy is the access to the screening tests needed to diagnose hearing impairments. Where in most developed countries there is on average one audiologist for every 20,000 people, while in developing regions, such as Africa, that number can be one for every two to six million people. This extreme shortage of health specialists means that most impairments go undetected and unmanaged for a larger number of individuals across the globe. In addition to access, the combined costs of traditional hearing aids, $1800, and batteries, $1/week, is far out of the price range for many individuals in developing countries. We realized that in order to meet our goal of lowering hearing loss and its burden we would need to bring the hearing assessment and resources out to the communities that lack access to specialist or the ability to pay for high cost equipment.
This is where DREET comes in. DREET, which stands for Detection, Research, Education, Equipment, and Training, is a tried and tested health care program that looks to break down these barriers to by taking holistic approach to solving the challenges posed. With our innovative smart phone hearing test app, pure tone, we can bring a cost effective and mobile way to screen for hearing impairments to those communities that traditionally lacked access. We plan to select the best distribution channels that will allow us reach highest number of individuals, identify the right price point for the screening test, and develop promotional material that will allow us to connect with different markets, from children to mothers and beyond. Finally, we will build strong training program for all our distribution partners/field workers to help multiply the impacts they have on each community and empower them with the right tools and resources they need to be successful. Together we will be able to help reach and diagnose more individuals, provide guidance to affordable resources such as our solar powered hearing aids, and educate communities on topics from prevention to societal integration.