The Daily Illini

Campus clinic offers free hearing exams

By Luis Velaquez, Staff writer

It’s not an uncommon experience to walk on campus and hear loud music blasting from someone’s headphones. However, loud and excessive noises can end up causing hearing loss.

The University’s Audiology Clinic is offering free hearing tests for students to encourage them to be more cautious when it comes to their hearing.

The Audiology Clinic is located within the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences. The audiology program has consistently been highly ranked by the U.S. News and World Report as one of the outstanding programs in the nation, according to its website. The clinic also educates and trains students who are part of the department.

If students are interested in making an appointment for a hearing test, they don’t need a referral. This resource is not only for students, but it is being offered to the public also. Students are eligible to get an updated hearing test every year.

Brittney Reidy, clinical assistant professor for the Audiology Clinic, said the clinic is self-funded. It has patients who pay privately for visiting the facility.

However, because it is a facility that trains students, many doctoral students in the field perform the hearing evaluation for those who schedule an appointment.

The test usually takes around 45 minutes to an hour and includes otoscope, pure tone air and bone conduction testing, according to Reidy.

Reidy said she believes students should take care of their hearing since we are all exposed to a lot of noise throughout our lives. 

“Every time that students listen to music, either earbuds and concerts, it can be damaging to your hearing, so it is nice to have hearing evaluations done periodically to make sure to have early detection,” Reidy said. “Living with hearing loss for years and not knowing can have negative long-term effects on our lives.”

According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders, approximately 15 percent of American adults, which is around 37.5 million people, report having some trouble hearing.

Reidy has been a pediatric audiologist for almost 16 years. Throughout her career at the University, she has experienced patients reacting differently when finding out they have problems with their hearing after their test is done.

“Sometimes, students are shocked, and sometimes, they have an idea,” Reidy said. “They are not that surprised but relieved to know that their suspicion was right. Occasionally some students are in denial.”

The Audiology Clinic has seen 37 students this academic year so far, with another 30 scheduled to be seen before the end of the semester, according to Reidy.

Solange Leon, sophomore in ACES, was not aware the audiology clinic was offering free hearing tests. She has gone through a hearing test before; however, that happened a long time ago.

“I remember in my middle school, we had a hearing clinic for, like, a day,” Leon said. “All the students were required to do it if they signed some contract where their parents let them. I think that was the last time I did it.”

Beatriz Janet Perez, senior in AHS, believes students should protect their hearing, but it is something not a lot of people focus on or can’t control.

“Students might not take certain action to protect their hearing,” Perez said. “They don’t in a way because it’s stuff they can’t control, such as house parties; a person can’t control the volume. One can’t control the maintenance of an ear.”

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