Acceptability of the Wulira App in Assessing Occupational Hearing Loss among Workers in a Steel and Iron Manufacturing Industry

Industrial workers are at a high risk of acquiring noise induced hearing loss, yet there is minimal hearing loss screening of such groups of people. Pure Tone Audiometry (PTA), the gold standard for hearing loss screening, is expensive, and not readily available at health sites. Mobile audiometry can bridge this gap. However, there is limited knowledge on its acceptability in low-income countries like Uganda. We aimed to assess the acceptability of using the Wulira App, a validated mobile phone app, in assessing hearing loss among industrial workers in Kampala. We carried out a qualitative study in a steel and iron manufacturing industry in Kampala, in April 2021. Four Focus group discussions (FGDs) with 8 participants per FGD, and 12 In-depth Interviews (IDI), were conducted on the industrial workers. The industrial workers were first tested for hearing loss, then enrolled for the FGDs and IDI. A semi-structured interview guide was used. Audio recordings were transcribed verbatim. Themes were derived using thematic content analysis, borrowing from Sekhon’s model of Acceptability of Health Interventions. Industrial workers found the Wulira App user friendly, cheap, time saving, and an effective hearing loss assessment tool. However, barriers such as lack of smart phones, difficulty in navigating the app, and fear of getting bad news hindered the App’s acceptability, as a hearing assessment tool. Hearing loss assessment using Wulira App was acceptable to the industry workers. There is need of informing industrial workers on the essence of carrying out regular hearing loss screening, such that barriers like fear of getting screened are overcome.
Steel and Iron manufacturing industry, Wulira app, Occupational hearing loss
Atukunda, I., Semulimi, A. W., Bwambale, F., Mumbere, J., Twinamasiko, N., Nakabuye, M., ... & Batte, C. (2022). Acceptability of the Wulira app in assessing occupational hearing loss among workers in a steel and iron manufacturing industry. Plos one, 17(10), e0266858.