An intimate cluster of high school students huddle around an audiometer at the Child Amplification Lab, National Centre for Audiology. The students are using the equipment to simulate an adult hearing test in an interactive workshop led by Brittany Schuett, who is completing her Masters degree in audiology. Inside the sound booth, a student is alert, anticipating a sound. Outside the booth, her peers present the test signals and await her reaction. She hears the sound, the audiometer registers her response, and everyone laughs.
Learning how hearing is tested is just one of many workshops and events during TD’s Discovery Days at the National Centre for Audiology, Western University. Interactive workshops provided by Drs. MacPherson and Purcell offered students the opportunity to engage in spatial hearing and auditory virtual reality and human speech production.
At CAL, the students were interested in pursuing medical careers, including disciplines that relate to the area of sensation and perception. This workshop introduces the idea of becoming an audiologist to students who may not have otherwise considered this career.
“Audiology is a fusion of science, technology and counselling,” says Schuett, who facilitated the session. “It draws diverse people from many backgrounds.”
Even if the students pursue other health related professions, Schuett says that for secondary students especially, workshops like this one can teach young adults about protecting their hearing. “Awareness is very important. Students can damage their hearing listening to music too loudly over headphones and ear buds. ” Noise induced hearing loss can also happen at concerts, exercise classes and clubs.
“When I go out and salsa dance, I wear protective ear plugs. There can be a stigma attached to wearing something in your ears and differentiating yourself from your friends. But, my hearing is worth it,” says Schuett. The information resonates and the students readily agree.
For secondary teachers and students interested in attending TD’s Discovery Days at Western next year, check your local university for workshop in the health sciences.