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RAM, ETSU help patients with hearing aids

Rex Barber • May 26, 2012 at 9:37 PM

More than 60 patients requiring hearing aids were fitted with the devices the past few weeks at East Tennessee State University.

These patients were evaluated at the Remote Area Medical clinic held at Bristol Motor Speedway in April. Those who needed hearing aids had molds taken of their ears so hearing aids could be made specifically for them. Patients paid half price for these ear molds and received the $1,000 hearing aids for free.

Krisztina Johnson, a doctoral student in audiology at ETSU, helped with the fittings last week.

“We had hearing evaluations in Bristol,” Johnson said. “We did hearing tests and we know if the patient needs one hearing aid or two hearing aids.”

This week, patients came to the ETSU audiology department’s clinic to get fitted with their hearing aids, have them adjusted, find out how to clean them and install fresh batteries.

“And for some of the patients, this is the first experience of having hearing aids, so they’re really, really happy,” Johnson said.

RAM clinics are organized around the nation to provide basic medical, vision and dental services to patients who may not otherwise have access to health care. The audiology component of the Bristol RAM is unique.

Marc Fagelson, professor and director of audiology at ETSU, said around 65 patients would get hearing aids through the RAM/ETSU partnership for a total of 115 hearing aids.

According to ETSU, Emtech Laboratories cut the fee for ear molds in half. Hear The World Foundation donated the hearing aids.

Johnson said the hearing aids make a big difference in not only the patient’s life but the lives of others.

“The family and friends, they don’t have to talk to them loud anymore, so it’s just amazing to see the patient, the satisfaction, the appreciation,” Johnson said. “I love to work here. I love to work with them.”

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