Saturday, November 28, 2015

Audiologists: Protecting & Restoring Our Hearing

This time, we're celebrating a special week that gets far too little recognition, along with a related profession that is largely overlooked. We are honoring two pioneers in American education of the deaf: Laurent Clerc & Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet; along with their modern equivalents, audiologists.

Clerc & Gallaudet were both born in December, 1789 & 1787 respectively, which is why we honor them during the first week of this month. Laurent Clerc, who was deaf himself, was born in France & eventually attended a renowned school for the deaf in Paris, where he later became a teacher. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet was born in Philadelphia, attended Yale University, & became interested in teaching the deaf. He traveled first to England, where he was met with great resistance in learning the then-popular oral communication method, before heading to Paris & the school where Clerc was teaching. Clerc helped teach Gallaudet the relatively new method used at the Paris school, manual communication or sign language, which Gallaudet quickly picked up. Gallaudet convinced Clerc to return with him to America to help teach deaf students there this new sign language, and a partnership for the ages was born. They founded what became known as the American School for the Deaf in 1817, which is the oldest continually operating school for the deaf in North America (and it is still open!). This pair helped advance education for the hearing-impaired in the US by light-years, and they deserve to be honored for their achievements & legacy.

For many audiologists, this story may strike a chord; these diligent professionals also dedicate their lives to helping the deaf, hearing-impaired, and those at risk of hearing loss restore or protect their hearing. They use technology to test the hearing of patients & determine their level of hearing loss, as well as any balance or other ear-related issues. Audiologists also can provide many different types of amplification devices, such as hearing aids or cochlear implants, which are tiny devices placed under the skin near the ear during an operation. The implants send electrical impulses directly to the auditory nerve in the brain & can help people with certain types of deafness hear again, or for the very first time. We here at Enky think Mr. Clerc & Mr. Gallaudet would very much appreciate the sincere efforts of audiologists everywhere in aiding those with hearing loss, and that is why we have combined these celebrations into one amazing week. Scroll on down & look through our handy infographic for more detailed information about audiologists & audiology, including salaries, a history of the profession, & how you can join this rapidly growing field! Enjoy, and be sure to check out our Facebook & Twitter pages for more audiology content all week long!



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