Quality and readability of information pamphlets on hearing and paediatric hearing loss in the Gauteng Province, South Africa

Karin Joubert, Esther Githinji
International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology 2014, 78 (2): 354-8

OBJECTIVES: The implementation of early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) programmes is necessary in order to facilitate the early identification of hearing loss. An important component of EHDI is parental education. International and national guidelines stipulating that comprehensive, unbiased and appropriate information pamphlets should be provided to parents as part of EHDI programmes, however little is known about the availability and readability of such materials in South Africa. The objectives of this study were therefore to determine the availability of information pamphlets on hearing and hearing loss in children at public hospitals in the Gauteng Province of South Africa. In addition, the quality and readability levels of these pamphlets were determined.

METHODS: A non-experimental, descriptive research design was employed for this study. Information on the availability of leaflets at public health hospitals was obtained through a telephonic survey. Twenty-one information pamphlets available at these hospitals were then evaluated to determine the quality and readability levels.

RESULTS: It was found that 73% of audiology departments at public hospitals in Gauteng had information pamphlets available on hearing and hearing loss in children. Of the pamphlets evaluated, the majority were rated to 'present with serious problems' questioning the quality of the content included. In addition, it was found that on average the readability level of these pamphlets were at a sixth-grade level, much higher that the recommended fourth-grade reading level.

CONCLUSIONS: The need for development of quality educational material focused on providing parents with unbiased, comprehensive and appropriate information on hearing and hearing loss in children has been highlighted. Proposed guidelines were recommended to assist audiologists in this endeavour. The importance of providing appropriate parental educational materials for the success of EHDI in South Africa should not be underestimated.


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