Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Recognizing the Benefits of Research

This year ASHA’s annual convention in Denver held over 14,000 SLPs and audiologists, as well as many JMU CSD faculty and a few graduate students. One graduate student who had the honor of attending the conference this year, Lauren Maher, is a first year speech-language pathology Masters student and Double Duke. Lauren flew to Denver to hear presentations, meet other professionals in the field, and present her research, Quality of Life Indices in Brain Injury: A Pilot Investigation. She first got involved in research during her time in the JMU Honors Program, which requires all students to complete a thesis project. For her thesis, she worked with Dr. O’Donoghue on creating an analog scale for people who have sustained a brain injury so that they could self-report their quality of life. Her research has brought her to two conferences, got her a paid ticket and hotel room in Denver for ASHA, and most importantly provided her with knowledge and experiences that will aid her in her future career as an SLP. When asked what advice she’d give to undergrads she exclaimed, “Always be involved with research!! Research puts you in a position to apply knowledge and make a difference in your field.”
The clinical aspects of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology are possible through the work done in research studies. Being familiar with evidence-based practices and being able to implement them when seeing clients are foundational professional skills. Our field is continually working to expand the knowledge professionals have of communication, and there is a constant need for more research to be done. The faculty of the JMU CSD department is involved in many research studies that have impacted the field as a whole. Being involved in research as a student can allow you to develop a depth of knowledge into a specific aspect of the field, as well as give you the opportunity to work closely with a professor who is knowledgeable in the area. If you are interested in being involved in research, contact a professor who does research that interests you to see if they need any extra help in their lab. You could also consider joining the Honor’s Program if your schedule allows.

For more information on the research that is done through the JMU CSD department, please visit:http://www.csd.jmu.edu/researchlabs.html

Monday, October 12, 2015

Johnny Depp: Actor, Musician, and....Hearing aid fitter?

At a music festival in Rio de Janeiro, Johnny Depp and his Hollywood Vampire band mates, Alice Cooper and Joe Perry, delivered more than just the gift of music; they also gave the gift of sound. The artists along with the Starkey Hearing Foundation helped fit customized hearing devices for over two hundred people while on tour. The people who received the devices varied in age, and their hearing losses varied from developmental to acquired. The musicians described the experience as moving, and the clients they served were delighted with their new devices. The Starkey Hearing Foundation holds events all over the world in order to give hearing aids to those in need. They've donated 1.6 million hearing aids to people in over 100 countries.
There are many humanitarian foundations that deliver hearing devices to individuals in third world countries. One of our very own professors, Dr. Ryals, worked towards a cause similar to this in Kenya with HEARt of the Village, a non-profit group dedicated to improving the lives and hearing health of children affected by diseases of poverty. According to her, the real  challenge  and purpose of this type of work should be on sustainability. Dr. Ryals put it best in saying, “It’s not glamorous.” She explained that fitting a hearing aid is only the first step. Once receiving the devices, people need access to audiologists, batteries, and other materials to maintain their hearing aids. According to Hearing for Humanity, the population in Kenya is over 40 million people, but in 2010, there were only 5 audiologists in the country. Dr. Ryals stated that celebrities are great at bringing awareness to a company or a cause, but it’s up to professionals to sustain the health and aid of the individuals that are served.
As CSD students, it is hard to think about our futures beyond our upcoming midterms, graduation, or graduate school. However, when you are stressed or wondering where you are going to end up when school is over, remember that there are people all over the world with speech, language, and hearing problems that need services. Our school work and future career work may not always be glamorous, but it is our job to follow up raising awareness with action using our knowledge as Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. People with communication impairments don't necessarily need celebrities to help them; they need someone like you.

Below are just a couple of links to non-profit organizations that do humanitarian work focused on improving hearing health:

Monday, August 31, 2015

Do You Have Questions?

Check out the updated FAQs tab above! If you are still not sure about something or feel that something is missing, please feel free to email the Undergraduate CSD Graduate Advisor or talk with your faculty advisor.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Football Season is here, so make sure you protect those ears!
For many the arrival of the crisp and beautiful autumn season brings the changing color of the leaves, pumpkin flavored everything, and of course the start of an exciting football season! For many football fans supporting their favorite team may involve screaming their lungs out, along with thousands of other fans. In addition some fans may have seats close to a loudspeaker or a pep band. As you can imagine or may have experienced yourself football games can get quite loud, even dangerously loud. The average crowd noise at an NFL football game is 80-90 decibels and reached a world record breaking level of 137 decibels last December at the Seattle Seahawks game. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health more than 15 minutes of exposure to 100 decibels can be damaging to adults and even more so to children. Children have smaller ears and the sound pressure level entering the ear is greater. There are many options available to protect the ears of young children and adults from exposure to dangerous noise levels.

As CSD students it is very important to be aware of the potential for noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) when exposed to dangerous levels of noise at football games and other loud events. While JMU football games or some NFL football games may not be quite as loud as the world record breaking game last year, it is still important to protect those ears. It’s also important to spread awareness to friends and family members who are not familiar with how loud these events can be and the detrimental effects it can have on hearing.

Some tips to consider before your next football game:
·       Bring ear plugs with you and have them ready just in case the game gets too loud.
·       Download a Sound Level Meter app on your phone before the game. While these are not 100% accurate they may be a useful guide when trying to determine if the game is dangerously loud.
·       Try to avoid sitting too close to loud speakers or pep bands.

Below are some links related to this post.
New York Times article on protecting the ears of young children at football games:

NPR’s article on the risk of NIHL that NFL football fans may face:

CDC chart of recommended noise exposure limits guided by OSHA standards:

Are you excited for football season?  Feel free to leave comment and let me know your thoughts on this topic!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Madison Advising Peers 

If you have questions or concerns about anything academic the Madison Advising Peers (MAPs) are there to help.

Get more information at: https://www.jmu.edu/advising/acadplan/peers.shtml