Audiology Alumni Improve Lives Across the Country

The first alumni of the School of Audiology graduated in 2015. Today more than 200 Boxer audiologists are practicing across the US and around the globe.

Like many Pacific University alumni, audiologists are in the business of improving overall health, quality of life, and interpersonal connections by supporting patients on their hearing healthcare journey. 

The School of Audiology offers an innovative and accelerated three-year professional block-model curriculum for students to graduate with their doctorate in audiology, fulfilling the requirements to be licensed wherever they choose to practice.

In addition to classroom work, the doctoral students undergo rigorous clinical training in the Pacific EarClinic in Hillsboro, prior to venturing out into their communities during their internships and final externship rotation.

The mission of the School of Audiology is to prepare doctors of audiology in an innovative, educational environment who are clinically outstanding, committed to life-long learning, and leaders in their community and profession. 

Pacific alumni such as Dr. Phillip King ‘23, Dr. Jocelyn Tubbs ‘19, and Dr. Josh Sevier ‘16 are just three audiologists fulfilling that mission.

Dr. King recently highlighted the importance of supporting your family members with hearing loss in The Oregonian.

Dr. Tubbs published a children’s book titled “A Sound Adventure” in 2020, that follows two children through the anatomy of their dad’s ear.

In an effort to educate the public regarding hearing health, Dr. Sevier has been a strong advocate for continuing education within the audiology field by presenting at various state conferences and organizations, both in person and online.

We are so very proud of the leadership of our alumni and the exemplary healthcare professionals they have become within the ever-advancing field of audiology.

The statistics on hearing loss are an astounding demonstration of the importance of the work of audiologists. Approximately 15% of adults in the US report some level of hearing difficulty. More than 48 million people in the U.S. currently struggle with hearing loss; a number The National Council on Aging expects that it could more than double in the next 40 years.

But hearing loss is not just something to worry about when you’re older. While statistics are fewer, recent CDC data shows that 1-3 out of 1,000 children have some degree of hearing loss.

As the use of personal audio equipment, like AirPods or headphones, grew in popularity, 12.5% of children aged 6-19 were diagnosed with noise-induced hearing loss. Thanks to programs like EHDI (Early Hearing Detection and Intervention) and newborn hearing screening programs, most hearing loss is detected early and intervention can be obtained before language acquisition is affected. 

Hearing loss is more complex than just noise exposure or ear infections. Studies have shown that individuals with heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure have an increased risk of developing hearing loss. Experts believe this is because the inner ear is extremely sensitive to changes in blood flow, affecting not only your hearing sensitivity but also your balance.  

In total, 28.8 million individuals in the U.S. could find relief with hearing aids, yet a significant number delay seeking assistance for years. The consequences of delaying treatment are greater than simply having to ask people to repeat themselves and frustrating your family members when you cannot hear them.

In 2023, Johns Hopkins published a longitudinal study that compared untreated hearing loss and normal hearing with the likelihood of developing cognitive decline. The study revealed that the prevalence of dementia was 61% higher in those individuals who have mild to moderate, untreated hearing loss compared to those who had normal hearing. 

How does this affect our students? When compared to peers without hearing loss, students with hearing loss have a greater risk of dropping out of school or avoiding the pursuit of higher education, according to the World Report on Hearing. According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health), the prevalence of hearing loss among college students is 19%, and that number skyrockets to 85% in student musicians. 

Hearing health is important for everyone. Whether you have an identified hearing loss, or you’re just looking for a baseline evaluation of your hearing, audiologists are here to support you.

Just like you see the eye doctor or dentist every year, make your hearing healthcare (or that of a loved one) a priority – don’t delay! Make an appointment with an audiologist today!

Thursday, March 7, 2024