Audiology graduate students serve patients in new, on-campus clinic

 Doctor of audiology student Ashley Taylor performs a hearing assessment for a patient at a new clinic in Finkelstein Hall.
Doctor of audiology student Ashley Taylor performs a hearing assessment for a patient at a new clinic in Finkelstein Hall.
Image Credit: Valerie Hendrickson

Graduate students earning a Doctor of Audiology degree at Grand Valley are now able to serve patients in a newly opened clinic on the Health Campus in downtown Grand Rapids.

The Community Hearing Clinic, located in Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall, is a collaboration between Grand Valley and an outside company, where students are able to run the clinic and assess patients each week.

Dan Halling, professor and chair of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department in the College of Health Professions, said audiology students offer patients a broad range of services, all while under the supervision of audiology faculty members.

“The doctoral students have an opportunity to gain clinical experiences and interact with the community” said Halling. “Students are assisting underserved populations in West Michigan, helping those who cannot receive hearing services due to financial reasons or because the services are just not available.”

  Doctor of audiology student Cameron Katkic is administering immittance audiometry, which measures the mobility of the eardrum and middle ear system.
Doctor of audiology student Cameron Katkic is administering immittance audiometry, which measures the mobility of the eardrum and middle ear system.
Image Credit: Valerie Hendrickson

Students offer everything from a basic hearing diagnostic to hearing aid selection fitting to special testing and assessments.

Cameron Katkic started the Doctor of Audiology program right after earning a bachelor’s degree in allied health sciences from Grand Valley in 2020. She said working with patients at the new clinic has given her more confidence.

“This experience is helping us learn how to interact with patients. It’s a skill you can only learn by doing,” said Katkic. “It’s been extremely beneficial working with the equipment and technology, instead of just reading about it.”

Katkic said getting real-world, professional hands-on experience, especially during the pandemic, has made her feel more self-assured.

“Before the clinic opened, I was nervous anticipating seeing patients. Now, when I go to my first placement, it won’t be my first time seeing patients,” she said. “Gaining these skills before placements is vital.”

 Ashley Taylor gets information from a mom who brought in her baby for a hearing assessment.
Ashley Taylor gets information from a mom who brought her baby to the clinic for a hearing assessment.
Valerie Hendrickson
Ashley Taylor checks the hearing of a newborn baby.
Ashley Taylor performs a hearing assessment on a newborn baby.
Valerie Hendrickson
  Cameron Katkic, seated, with Kara Hotaling, affiliate faculty and clinical education coordinator.
Cameron Katkic, seated, with Kara Hotaling, affiliate faculty and clinical education coordinator.
Valerie Hendrickson

Halling said students are performing tinnitus (ringing in the ears) assessments, which aren’t done in very many places in West Michigan.

“Our basic diagnostic is an hour-and-a-half evaluation, very different from what patients would receive if they went to a doctor’s office or to a private practice,” said Halling. “Students are conducting special testing, like for auditory processing disorder, which no one else in the community is able to do.”

The appointment-only clinic is open weekdays. Most patients come by way of physician and community referrals.

For more information about the clinic, call 616-706-4745 or visit  www.communityhearingclinic.com

For more information about GVSU’s audiology program, visit https://www.gvsu.edu/acad/audiology-aud.htm