Baylor audiology clinic reaches Waco community

The Baylor audiology clinic, located in Hankamer building, has state-of-the-art technology to conduct hearing tests and hearing aid fittings. Photo credit: Jessica Hubble

By Kelsea Willenbrock | Reporter

The ability to hear is something that many people take granted every day. Approximately 28 million children and adults worldwide suffer from hearing loss today, according to the Baylor University department of communication sciences and disorders. The department is taking action about this statistic.

The audiology clinic allows Baylor graduate students to work with state-of-the-art technology to assist clients with hearing loss. According to clinical coordinator Deborah Rainier, the audiology clinic serves an average of 25 to 30 clients with varying degrees of hearing loss each week.

“We do things like hearing testing, hearing screenings, hearing evaluations, hearing aid fittings, [and] we work with cochlear implants,” said Rainier. “So any kind of hearing testing or fittings, we can do that.”

At the beginning of the school year in August, the communication sciences and disorders department moved into the newly renovated Hankamer Building. This new space allowed the department to expand its clinic and audiology lab for graduate students to reach the Baylor and Waco community.

“It is a service offered to the community,” Rainier said. “We have a lot of Baylor folks who come through and get their hearing tested.”

Rainier says that the audiology clinic works with the Sertoma club, an organization that works with under privileged children, the Waco Lions Club and Waco Independent School District. Clients range in age from newborn babies to the elderly.

In addition to conducting hearing tests, Lecturer and Audiologist Dr. Carrie Drew and her team of graduate students fit clients for hearing aids and work to fix problems clients may have with their hearing aids. The majority of the time, clients can bring them to the clinic instead of shipping them back to the manufacturer.

“Your audiologist can take the guesswork out of choosing hearing aids,” said the audiology clinic website.

The wide range of services offered by the Baylor audiology clinic allows graduate students to learn how to assist a variety of clients while simultaneously providing a service to their community.

Although undergraduate students are not the ones working directly with the clients in the clinics, they say it is beneficial to watch graduate students work.

“As an undergraduate, we are not allowed to work directly with the clients, but you can observe, which is helpful to see if that is something you want to do,” Gig Harbor, Wash., sophomore speech pathology major Lauren Sanford said.

Baylor students can visit the audiology clinic, located on campus on the first floor of the Hankamer Building and schedule a free hearing test .