Center for Wellness in the Arts tailors hearing screenings to music students

Marshall University’s Center for Wellness in the Arts now offers hearing screenings for its demographic, and music students are all ears.

Dr. Rebecca Brashears, an audiologist with Marshall’s Department of Communication Disorders, said the aim of the screenings is to educate students on the importance of hearing and on products available to protect their ears from loud noises.

"Most students don’t realize that just going to a noisy restaurant or playing their instruments for a few hours per day can be damaging to their ears," Brashears said. "Exposure to sounds over 80 decibels, comparable to a dog’s loud bark, for even an hour or two can cause problems."

According to Jen Billups, a second-year graduate student with the department, the screening involves the amped-up use of an audiometer, a standard machine to evaluate hearing loss.

CWA_Screening_JenBillups"For music students, we do an extended screening, more than what we typically do in our scope of practice, including more frequencies," Billups said. "If there are any problems, we can point students in the right direction to get full evaluations."

Yuhao Zhou, a junior music performance major, said he was taking part in the service out of concern for his ears.

"Because I play the violin, oftentimes we play very high frequency notes," Zhou said. "I want a long career, so I think it’s important to be aware of my hearing health."

Marshall’s Center for Wellness in the Arts is a joint effort by the College of Health Professions and College of Arts and Media. The CWA contributes to the academic and professional development of the students and faculty of both colleges through its three pillars of education, clinical services and research.

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Photos: (Above) Violinist Yuhao Zhou (left) has his eardrum examined by Communication Disorders student Carly Atkins. (Below) Jen Billups, a second-year graduate student in Communication Disorders, works at the audiometer.