Audiology clinical faculty and graduate students from the Doctor of Audiology Program offer out of hospital (OOH) audiology clinics for members of the Wisconsin Plain communities. Children in these communities are born at home with the assistance of a midwife, and approximately 40% do not receive newborn hearing screenings and very few receive any follow up care. Many members of these communities have limited access to hearing healthcare. These clinics are hosted at various locations in rural Wisconsin, including the Center for Special Children in La Farge and the Augusta Senior Center.
These clinics were established with the assistance of the Wisconsin Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program and in conjunction with the UW LEND program. Hearing screening and diagnostic services are offered to children and adults of all ages. Services offered include: pure tone audiometry, otoacoustic emissions, screening and diagnostic auditory brainstem testing, counseling, education about hearing loss and hearing loss prevention and cerumen removal.
Over 300 people have been seen in these clinics since they were established in 2011. Numerous children and adults have been newly identified with hearing loss at these clinics. Many have been referred for medical treatment of conductive hearing loss, several have received hearing aids, and one has received a cochlear implant.
In addition to the OOH clinics for the Plain communities, the audiology clinical faculty and Au.D. students participate in the St. Croix Tribal Health Clinic Physicals Event. This is an interdisciplinary event with a primary goal of screening children entering the Head Start program. The event is mutually beneficial; UWSHC clinicians perform hearing screenings for children that do not have consistent access to audiology services, and Au.D. students learn aspects of Native American culture and gain experience working with populations facing a variety of challenges.