The OTC Hearing Instrument Science classroom took its mobile lab unit on the road recently to gain experience in screening hearing patients, specifically Greene County employees.
Students and the mobile lab recently spent several days at the Office of Emergency Management screening Greene County deputies, phone operators and highway department employees.
“The partnership with the county benefits approximately 900 employees. Our services with a baseline hearing screening,” said Tyler Reuthebuck, a member of the Hearing Instrument Science program faculty.
Bob Cirtin, presiding commissioner of Greene County said the screenings were “a fantastic benefit for the health and well-being of our employees.”
“We are very pleased and grateful that OTC played an integral part of the program by providing hearing exams. This is another example of the many contributions OTC makes to our community,” he said.
Camille J. Knowles, the county’s human resources director, said the focus is to enhance the county’s wellness program.
“By becoming more proactive than reactive we help our bottom line for our insurance premiums. Having OTC partner up with Greene County and offering our employees free hearing screenings helps promote that philosophy,” she said.
“It’s a win-win relationship since OTC needs their students to have some clinical hours preforming hearing screening and our employees can take advantage of the opportunity and receive the free service.”
The general public can receive a free hearing test at the OTC Springfield Campus by calling 447-6644 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students gain practical benefits and experience by taking part in the screening program as well as serving those from the public.
“It gives us that hands-on experience we need,” said first-year student Leanne Keil.
Reuthebuck said working with the county guarantees that students would have patients to develop and practice their skills.
“It gives them a full pipeline of real patients that know that they will be tested by students. Historically, it has been impossible to fill the students’ schedules full of real patients,” Reuthebuck said.
“The relationship with patients also sharpens the students’ skills in counseling patients on the importance of hearing protection as well as the consequences of a hearing loss.”
Steve Koehler is coordinator of media relations at Ozarks Technical Community College.