Audiology clinic providing free services, opportunities to work for graduate credit

Photo by Maryam Tunio

The clinic provides hearing tests and custom earpiece adapters for the Marquette community. Photo by Maryam Tunio/[email protected]

Maredithe Meyer, Health Reporter

The Audiology Clinic has recently re-opened to continue offering speech and hearing services to the Marquette community and the public.

The clinic re-opened after the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology temporarily discontinued its operations when Edward Korabic, the previous director, retired in 2014.

All services require an appointment and are free of charge to Marquette students.

“For the community, it’s just nice to have something on campus,” said Emily Patterson, clinic coordinator and clinical assistant professor of speech pathology and audiology. “You can have a very thorough, comprehensive (hearing) evaluation and it’s very patient-centered.”

Speech pathology and audiology undergraduate students work at the clinic for graduate school credit hours. These students are required to take the Introduction to Audiology course before working at the clinic.

An audiologic examination at the clinic starts with a case history and otoscopy, or a check of the ear canal. Then the clinicians perform a series of inner ear tests to make conclusions about the patient’s hearing abilities and to help them seek treatment.

“Being able to work as a student clinician as an undergraduate student is one of the main reasons why I chose to come to Marquette,”said Elyssa Camerino, a senior in the College of Health Sciences,  in an email. “It is such a unique, rare opportunity for an undergraduate student to get direct contact with a patient.”

Camerino, who also works in Marquette’s Speech and Language Clinic, is in the graduate school decision process, deciding between a career in audiology or speech pathology. She said her recent work in the audiology clinic has sparked her interest in the field.

“When a patient comes in, they are under one hundred percent direct supervision, but there is a student who is either doing the procedures themselves or observing, depending on what their level is,” Patterson said.

Patterson said giving students the opportunity to work in the clinic helps them decide what career path to take for graduate school. She also said a high percentage of the speech pathology and audiology students will choose to pursue speech pathology over audiology upon graduating.

Another service that the clinic offers is custom earpiece adapters for headphones. The clinicians take an impression of the ear so that the earpiece fits correctly.

The earpiece will block out other sound and prevent listeners from making the volume too high on their devices.

According to the American Speech Language Hearing Association, regularly listening to noise levels over 85 decibels can cause hearing loss over time. This is approximately the loudness of a blender with ice.

Patterson said she has seen an increase in hearing loss in younger generations because of headphone usage.

“This is probably the only time that you can get a hearing test truly for free and one that is as comprehensive as this,” Patterson said. “Since we are training students, we are doing every test on every patient to give them more experience.”