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Thursday, December 1, 2011

An Interesting Project… “Raise your hand when you hear the beeps!”

As a student in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, I am taking an introduction to audiology course this semester, SLHS 460. I chose to take it as an honors option, so I am required to complete an honors project. For the project, I tested the hearing thresholds of five of my friends, and recorded their results on an audiogram. Just like we were taught in lab, I used the headphones and the bone vibrator to test the sensitivity of the cochlea in the ear. Then, by putting ear plugs in their ears, I retested their hearing to see how it would affect my results. And just as I suspected, the ear plugs created a significant dip in my “patients’” hearing sensitivity. Just like many patients with a hearing disorder in their outer ear, I saw the change on the audiogram. What was interesting is that the ear plugs blocked out more sound in the high frequency range, not evenly for all sounds. As a musician, this helped me understand why music doesn’t sound the same with normal ear plugs – special musician’s ear plugs are much better because they lower the volume of all sounds, not just the high ones. It was so much fun to use the technology in a real situation – I had a blast running the tests on my friends! I present my results next week, and I feel confident in my work!

So far at Purdue, I’ve had many great experiences in the SLHS department. I’ve been able to complete a number of honors projects just like this, form great relationships with my fellow students, and participate in a research lab for 5 semesters. I’ve been given so many great opportunities, and I’m happy to report that I’ve been taking full advantage of them all!

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--- Laurel Donaldson

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