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Hearing Loss Initiative uSound for Samsung Gets Official Launch in Jujuy

uSound for Samsung, an app that helps users to test for potential hearing loss, will be distributed throughout the Argentinian province of Jujuy

 

Last Friday, the uSound for Samsung project was officially launched in Purmamarca, Jujuy. The event was attended by Argentinian President Mauricio Macri along with hundreds of people from different communities throughout the Jujuy province. uSound for Samsung facilitates the early detection of hearing loss through a simple three-step process using a smartphone and a pair of headphones.

 

uSound for Samsung will help give Jujeños access to a simple three-step preliminary diagnosis* that can be done on a smartphone

 

According to the WHO, over 5% of the world suffers from hearing loss, with estimates showing that more than 3 million people in Argentina experiencing this problem. By encouraging early detection, authorities hope to avoid irreversible hearing loss, encourage learning and promote cognitive development in children, facilitate social inclusion, and raise awareness about hearing loss so appropriate public policies can be made.

 

The uSound initiative is spearheaded by young entrepreneurs from Jujuy and presents innovation with purpose, allowing for simple and effective technologies to help people detect potential hearing loss using just their smartphones. The app then provides users with a risk report allowing them to take the appropriate action and get further advice from a hearing loss specialist if necessary. The data collected will also contribute to the intelligent allocation of resources for the communities that require them. uSound and the government of Jujuy share an ambitious goal: that this local project will be promoted, developed and spread throughout the world, therefore helping more people and inspiring new solutions in the future.

 

A resident of Jujuy tests uSound for Samsung

 

The launch event took place at Los Colorados in Jujuy. The first 300 audiometric tests were conducted, with the total number in the Jujuy province expected to reach 30,000 in the next three months. There was also VR content available which illustrated the difficulties people with different levels of hearing loss experience, enabling guests to empathize with those affected and get a taste of what they go through.

 

Sang Jik Lee, President, Samsung Electronics Argentina (left), President Mauricio Macri (center) and Governor Gerardo Rubén Morales, Jujuy Province (right) were among the hundreds that attended the uSound for Samsung launch event

 

During the event, Jujuy’s Governor Gerardo Morales highlighted the work of the young uSound team and recalled their humble beginnings in Tilcara, saying, “From a 4 × 4 room, with great effort this team have created an application that has been recognized by various institutions around the world, including Harvard, demonstrating the best of Jujeño’s entrepreneurship.”**

 

Sang Jik Lee, President of Samsung Argentina, said, “This project proves that when we work together, we can do the impossible, using innovation with purpose as our guide.”

 

Ezequiel Escobar, CEO, uSound (right) shows Argentinian President Mauricio Macri (left) how uSound for Samsung works

 

Ezequiel Escobar, CEO and co-founder of uSound, said, “We held this event at Los Colorados because it connects us with our Pachamama, with our roots and because we wanted to show that it is possible to innovate in Jujuy and make a difference globally. It is in this context that today, together with Samsung and the Jujuy Ministry of Health, we are implementing technology with a purpose. uSound for Samsung is a free mobile tool to detect potential hearing loss that will have an immense scope. Starting in Jujuy with 30,000 tests over the next 90 days, we hope to reach 500,000 users by the end of the year in Argentina and millions worldwide.” **

 

For more information about uSound for Samsung, visit: http://usoundporsamsung.com.ar

 

* Not a medical diagnosis

** Translated from Spanish and edited for clarity

Helping People Detect and Prepare for Hearing Loss

Summary
 

  • Last week in Purmamarca, Jujuy Province, Argentina, the Government of Jujuy, uSound and Samsung Electronics Argentina signed an agreement to help residents of Jujuy detect potential hearing loss and provide steps to minimize its impact
  • The project, dubbed uSound for Samsung, will help give Jujueños access to a simple three-step preliminary diagnosis* that can be done on a smartphone

 

 

The Problem

According to WHO, over 5% of the world’s population – or 466 million people – have disabling hearing loss. In Argentina, hearing impairment constitutes 18% of the existing disabilities – 86.6% of which experience hearing difficulties; 13.4% are deaf.

 

While those diagnosed with hearing loss can take necessary actions for their individual cases – taking preventive measures to avoid total deafness, getting hearing aids, learning sign language, etc. – those who do not know what’s happening to them are subject to a more frustrating experience. This is especially true for children who may lose the chance to develop their cognitive skills and pursue higher education.

 

 

Using Technology to Bridge the Gap

uSound for Samsung is an initiative designed to bring technology to people with hearing loss – to help detect the risk of hearing loss and thus improve their quality of life in such essential aspects as communication and education.

 

uSound for Samsung enables users to detect risk of hearing loss free of charge

 

uSound Test is an application that allows users to detect their risk of hearing loss for free. In about 10 minutes, the app reproduces pre-calibrated sounds that users give feedback to. Comparing the results with its database, the app detects specific frequencies the user has difficulty hearing. uSound Test then analyzes the auditory curve that results from the whole test to determine the degree of risk of hearing loss in the person.

 

Once finalized, uSound for Samsung issues a report with the result, which is a risk indicator that allows users to take corresponding actions. This test is not a medical diagnosis so the app will recommend support from hearing health specialists when needed.

 

Through uSound for Samsung, the company hopes to use its technology and resources to:

 

  • Raise awareness about hearing loss and improve public policies
  • Avoid irreversible damage to hearing organs
  • Encourage learning and cognitive development for children
  • Develop speech and facilitate social inclusion
  • Contribute to a more egalitarian society

Working with the Community

The Government of Jujuy will provide support in resources and workspaces for the hearing loss-detection campaign. uSound will continue to help improve hearing experiences with its products, including the aforementioned test and an app that turns the cell phone into an auditory assistant**. Samsung Electronics will provide the necessary technology to carry out a first pilot test of uSound Test in health centers across Jujuy as well as financially supporting the project.

 

As a team, the Government of Jujuy, uSound and Samsung Electronics Argentina will help give a larger part of the Argentine community access to tools to potentially change lives through the use of technology.

 

Eduardo Ezequiel Escobar, CEO, uSound (fifth from left), Sang Jik Lee, President, Samsung Electronics Argentina (seventh from left), Governor Gerardo Rubén Morales, Jujuy Province (eighth from left) and Dr. Gustavo Alfredo Bouhid, Minister of Health, Jujuy Province (ninth from left) pose with other related parties for a group picture commemorating the signing event

 

 

Quotes***

  • Governor Gerardo Rubén Morales, Jujuy Province: “It is a pleasure to accompany uSound, a company from Jujuy, take on its challenges. With the support of Samsung, this project will impact thousands of people with hearing problems. It is great that this project started in Jujuy. We hope it can be replicated throughout Argentina and in other countries – technological innovation knows no boundaries.”
  • Ezequiel Escobar, CEO and co-founder, uSound: “We witnessed a truly historic opportunity for our company and for Jujuy. This plan, using our technologies, will benefit many people from Jujuy and has the potential to expand to help many more people around the world. We are talking about a huge impact that grows even more with the support from Samsung and the Ministry of Health of Jujuy.”
  • Cynthia Giolito, Senior Manager, Corporate Citizenship, Samsung Electronics Argentina: “uSound for Samsung reinforces our mission to offer technology with a purpose that improves quality of life. We are very proud to embark on this path and we hope to have solid results that will promote hearing accessibility in more places.”

 

 

Additional Image

Left to right: Eduardo Ezequiel Escobar, CEO, uSound, Sang Jik Lee, President, Samsung Electronics Argentina, Governor Gerardo Rubén Morales, Jujuy Province and Dr. Gustavo Alfredo Bouhid, Minister of Health, Jujuy Province sign an agreement to distribute uSound for Samsung in the Jujuy province to help residents detect risk of hearing loss

 

* Not a medical diagnosis

** Not a hearing aid

*** Translated from Spanish and edited for clarity

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