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Audiology professor begins global initiative

Vinaya Manchaiah at workVinaya Manchaiah, associate professor and director of audiology at LU, has initiated a global audiology project to improve accessibility and affordability of hearing healthcare services for people in need.

“I have great interest in developing audiology across the globe. I collaborate with researchers from more than 10 countries and there’s much to learn from that,” said Manchaiah, who has considered this project for several years.

The project is a web portal that develops audiology knowledge in each country and also connects various stakeholders. The aim is to facilitate audiology development and services for underserved populations through a website that can be accessed by professionals, students and the public of any country.

Manchaiah say studies suggest more than 360 million people across the globe have a disabling hearing loss, and 80 percent of those people live in low- and middle-income countries and lack access to audiology services. Even high-income areas of developed countries have members who have limited access to hearing healthcare services. 

Device detail“In most parts of the world, audiology is still in its infancy, and its seen more as a technical support function of otolaryngology, acoustics, and so on … there’s a lot of work to do to bridge the inequality in education and access to services,” said Manchaiah.

“We believe the first step in bridging this gap is to understand the audiology education and practice better and to form a network to connect audiologists and other stakeholders across the world,” he said.

The inspiration for the project emerged when Manchaiah’s international work experience and his knowledge of global audiology sparked a discussion with Ross Roeser—an audiology professor with worldwide connections who is also Editor in Chief for the International Journal of Audiology.

Vinaya Manchaiah“I happened to meet with Dr. Ross Roeser from UT Dallas during the Texas Academy of Audiology conference during September 2015. We started working on this together at that point,” he said.

The website is fully functional after careful development. The next step is to populate the site with information for each country, advertise it to relevant stakeholders and evaluate its effectiveness. The project team is building a force of global resource editors and recruiting authors to write articles.

“We invite those who are interested in this initiative to contact us. You can make a difference irrespective of your background” says Manchaiah.