Hear We Glow: The Race for Hearing is On

Sep 13, 2012

Poking your head inside the lily white building on the campus of Utah State University, you might hear something like this:

[beeps and tones]

--"Say the word fail"
--"Say the word south"
--"Say the word white"

No, you haven't stumbled upon an alien invasion or experimental mind control. What you just heard are two types of hearing tests conducted through USU's student academy of audiology.

Heather Jensen, Clinical Professor and Doctor of Audiology, says the tests are administered by doctorate students and intended as a service for the public.

"We are a clinic that is open to the public. We help pediatrics and adults, we do balance testing, tinitus, which is ringing in the ears. We have a full clinic to do that. So we can help pretty much everybody in need."

Shelley Higginbotham is one local who has relied on the audiology department since her son was about 3 months old:

"Over the years I've seen a such a different transition. The audiology department there is just extremely good at working with children and knowing the needs of the children and how the needs of each kid is different."

Shalece Butters, a 2nd year audiology student says addressing those needs and treating hearing loss as soon as possible is crucial in a child's development:

"When children need hearing aids it's especially important for them because they are in the process of learning language and going to school and learning all that, so if they don't have proper amplification when they're young it really affects their life in the future. We're actually trying to raise money to supply somebody in the community - a child - who needs hearing aids."

This isn't the only humanitarian effort they are currently trying to fund. Each year the students spend time serving an impoverished community outside of the U.S., outfitting those in need with hearing aids and training local medical staff to treat hearing loss.

Butters has gone on one mission already. She says their efforts were rewarded when they saw the happiness people felt to hear again:

"It's really neat to see. Especially at the retirement home, some of them were so grateful and kissing our cheeks and giving us great hugs because they hadn't been able to hear for a long time."

Now to raise money necessary the audiology department has teamed up with the Osmonds and the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund and sponsor a glow-in-the-dark 5K run. Justin Osmond, the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund organizer, says the event will not only give you a chance to help out your community, but you can run a 5K with the Osmonds:

"They're gonna take those proceeds and identify children who have no money, who can't afford hearing aids, who deserve to hear. Everybody's invited. The Osmond family will be there to help run it. We'll probably come in last place!"

The "Hear We Glow" race will be held September 21 at 9:00 p.m. on the USU campus. Registration is at Run4Hearing.com/Logan.

Brianna’s passion for journalism comes from a love of learning and a desire to know everything.  She studies Broadcast Journalism and Political Science at Utah State University and hopes one day to travel the world reporting hard news. She also works as the Aggie Radio news director and a reporter for USU TV.